Posts tagged ‘appreciated stock’

December 8, 2017

5 Mistakes that Could Cost You Year-End Donations

As year-end approaches, you are probably working feverishly to raise as much money as possible for your nonprofit organization. Unfortunately, you might be making some mistakes that could cost your charity enormous sums of potential donations.

Here are just five common ways you might unknowingly short-change your organization at this special time of year:

1.  Appeals by the Numbers.

Many of the year-end appeals that I receive focus on numbers. Often, the number is “31,” as in December 31. Other numbers tout the volume of people served or the amount of a challenge grant. As I wrote last week, numbers can tell part of an organization’s story; however, numbers can’t tell the full story.

For the most effective appeals, you will want to engage hearts and minds. While some numbers can be meaningful, telling an individual story makes your nonprofit’s work more relatable and easier to understand. Individual stories are also far more likely to engender an emotional response.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a great example of what I mean. The organization could tell us how many veterans suffer from PTSD and medical issues. The charity could simply tell us how many veterans they serve each year. Instead, the Wounded Warrior Project tells the story of a single veteran. The organization’s television appeals are mini-movies that tell us of a veteran’s war experience, the problem he or she came home with, and how the Wounded Warrior Project is improving the veteran’s life. You can watch one of the organization’s television spots by clicking here.

2.  Not Asking for Gifts of Stock and Other Planned Gifts.

If you want to maximize year-end giving, you must seek planned gifts. Planned giving allows donors to make more gifts and larger gifts than they might otherwise be able to do simply from their checkbook. This is great news for your charity. Even better news is that not all planned gifts are deferred gifts. Here are some types of planned gifts that will result in immediate cash for your organization:

Gifts of Stock. With the stock market in record territory, many Americans own appreciated securities. By contributing stock shares to your organization, a donor can make a generous gift, realize a charitable gift deduction, and avoid capital gains tax.

Gifts of Appreciated Property. As with stock, many individuals own appreciated real December 31st by TransGriot via Flickrestate, art, and collectibles that they can donate. Your organization can either use the item for mission fulfillment (i.e., a museum can accept a work of art for its collection), or the organization can sell the item and put the cash to good use. You’ll just need to be clear with your donor about which option you intend to exercise.

Gifts from Donor Advised Funds. An increasing number of Americans have established a DAF. Be sure to remind your donors that they can advise that a gift be made to your charity from their DAF account.

IRA Charitable Rollover. Since the U.S. Congress has made the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent, individuals who are age 70.5 or older can donate up to $100,000 from their IRA each year without having to recognize it as income.

Year-end is also a good time to ask for deferred planned gifts such as Gifts in a Will, Beneficiary Designations, and Trusts.

You can read more about planned giving options by clicking here.

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May 17, 2013

A Donor Offers You $5,000. Now What?

Congratulations! You’ve done everything right, so far. As a result, a prospect has offered to write a $5,000 check to your nonprofit organization. She only has one question: “Who should I make the check out to?”

So, what should you do next?:

A. Let loose with an enthusiastic, sincere, “Whoohoo!”

B. Thank the donor and tell her the proper name of the organization for the check.

C. Tell the donor the information is on your organization’s website.

D. Thank the donor, tell her the proper name of the organization for the check, and then say, “And, let me just ask, if I may, do you have any appreciated stock?”

Check SigningIf you’re like most development professionals, you probably answered “B.”

While that’s not exactly a wrong answer, there is a better one that will be more helpful for the donor and for your charity: “D.”

Sadly, many development professionals wrongfully assume that all donors of means know, at least, the basics of financial planning and tax avoidance. However, that’s simply not the case.

Sometime ago, I served on the board of a nonprofit organization. At one of the charity’s events that I attended, a modest donor came over to me and expressed an interest in donating $5,000. She simply needed to know the organization’s official name so she could put it on the check.

As in the above scenario, after thanking her and providing the information, I asked if she had any appreciated stock.

Puzzled by my question, she replied, “Yes, I do. Why do you ask?”

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