Archive for November 19th, 2012

November 19, 2012

“Isn’t it Better to Give and Receive?”

While reading a local newspaper, I came across an advertisement from a national nonprofit organization. The headline in the ad read:

Isn’t it Better to Give and Receive? — [Name of organization deleted] Life Income Plans”

I liked the mildly clever twist on a common phrase. So, I took a moment to read the text that followed:

My dad and I have that special father/daughter relationship you read about. So while I know he needs some extra cash to make life more comfortable, I don’t want to insult him by giving him checks all the time.

I’ve decided to give this dear, generous, wonderful man a gift annuity from [name of organization deleted]. It accomplishes everything I want in one simple gift. He will receive a partially tax-free stream of income for the rest of his life, and I won’t have to embarrass either of us, because [name of organization deleted] will send the checks directly to him. I will receive an income tax deduction on a portion of the gift in the year in which I make the gift.

I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve done the right thing for my Dad, and for [name of organization deleted].

What could be better? We give and we receive, it’s the perfect partnership.”

The ad included a sample gift annuity illustration for a $50,000 gift for an 80 year old annuitant. The ad also included a photograph of a middle-age woman. In addition, it included a generic development-office email address, development-office mailing address, and 800 telephone number.

While I want to focus on the story told in the ad, I do want to also mention that the ad would have been stronger if the organization had included the name of a specific contact person. Prospective donors are more likely to email, mail, or call a named individual rather than a faceless institution.

Ok, let’s look at the story.

The ad told a terrific, seemingly heartfelt story. However, I was immediately suspicious that the story was a fiction. The photo of the woman, presumably the “daughter” from the story, had that stock-photo look to it. No names, not even simply first names, were used in the story. The story also did not mention anything related to the organization’s mission making it seem like a product pitch.

So, I called the organization’s head of planned giving to learn more about the ad. She was kind enough to take the time to speak with me which I greatly appreciate.

read more »

%d bloggers like this: