10 Facts about Planned Giving

March 21, 2012

Posted in Fundraising.

One non-profit professional you need to follow on Twitter is @janekuechle. She finds some great links and shares a lot of knowledge about our industry. She also blogs about similar topics to this one, so go check her out.

Jane recently wrote about a simple planned giving approach and after seeing a number of other links, articles, and conversations about planned giving I figured I’d share some of the things I found. I’ve never done much with planned giving, but have a handful of donors I’m working with where this will be particularly relevant in our coming meetings.

Some interesting facts about planned giving:

  1. Almost everyone has the ability to make a bequest and there is potential, consider this:
    a. Among national survey respondents over age 30, 69% expect to leave an inheritance
    b. People over the age of 50 control 70% of all privately held financial assets
    c. Over 50% of US households owned equities in some form.
  2. In a national survey among those over age 30, only 22 percent say they have been asked for a planned gift. This explains, in part, why we believe there is so much untapped potential for planned gifts.
  3. 33% of Americans are willing to consider a charitable bequest, again, untapped potential.
  4. The average age someone makes their first charitable bequest commitment is 40 to 50 years old.
  5. Once a donor names a charity in their will, they almost never change it.
  6. Bequests (including gifts from retirement plans) are the most common form of planned gifts to charities.
  7. Bequests are widely considered the major gift of the middle class. Many individuals wish they could provide significantly more current support to nonprofits but don’t believe they are in a position to do so. A planned gift, including bequests, provide the opportunity to do so.
  8. Those without children are far more likely to make a planned gift, including a bequest.
  9. Donors usually give to things or causes that are important to them, not for the benefits. The same is true for donors of planned gifts, including bequests. We need to remember to focus on the donors’ motivations.
  10. Tax avoidance is not a the biggest motivation to make a bequest. For wealthy donors who will be subject to estate taxes, it is likely that tax will not be the primary motivator to support us through a bequest. Of survey respondents who have provided a bequest for charity, 97% listed “desire to support the charity” while only 35% listed “desire to reduce taxes”.


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