Archive for October 25th, 2013

October 25, 2013

Does Race Matter with Legacy Giving?

From time to time, someone will ask me if racial/ethnic differences exist when it comes to legacy giving. While phrased in various well-intentioned ways, the questions are usually asked in hushed tones. People fear being politically incorrect. They fear being perceived as bigoted.

Nevertheless, the question is a valid, important one when it comes to defining a priority prospect list.

Does race or ethnicity matter with legacy giving?

Fortunately, thanks to Texas Tech researcher Russell James, JD, Click for Free Russell James E-bookPhD, we have a clear, though somewhat complex, answer based on concrete data about Americans 55 years of age and older.

In his newest book, American Charitable Bequest Demographics (1992-2012), James reveals that significant racial differences do exist when it comes to planned giving, at least on the surface. He found that in 2010, 6.5 percent of non-Hispanic Whites included a charitable estate recipient in their plans while only 1.8 percent of non-Hispanic Blacks and 1.7 percent of Hispanics did so.

The good news for us is that James’ inquiry did not stop there.

Looking below the surface, James found a critical reason for the disparity in charitable estate planning. Non-Hispanic Whites are simply far more likely to do estate planning with 63.9 percent doing so compared with just 23.4 percent of non-Hispanic Blacks and 19.6 of Hispanics.

To give us a better understanding of the impact of racial differences on legacy giving, James also looks at charitable estate planning among those with estate planning documents, a will or trust. Among non-Hispanic Whites, he finds that 10.2 percent have included a charitable gift. Among non-Hispanic Blacks, it is 7.7 percent with the figure among Hispanics at 8.3 percent.

James asserts that the data “shows that minorities are as likely as non-Hispanic Whites to include a charitable component in their [estate] plans once completed. [The analysis] suggests that the primary barrier to charitable planning among minorities is simply the lack of planning documents.”

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