The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Top giving strategies and techniques in today’s economy.

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Here are a couple of the key take-aways from a recent webinar sponsored by Trusts & Estates Magazine and Food for the Poor featuring Robert Sharpe and Marc Hoffman of the Planned Giving Design Center.  The webinar was billed as an opportunity to discuss the tools and techniques donors are using in today’s political and economic environment to accomplish their personal and philanthropic financial and estate planning goals.

1.  Cash is no longer king.  Cash gifts come from discretionary income.  Seven of the 10 largest gifts reported in 2008 were bequests.

2.  Tax-efficient gifts are assuming more prominence, especially gifts of appreciated securities. When a donor gives stock they are thinking about their philanthropy in terms of making strategic gifts from their assets – a much larger and more tax-efficient pool.

So, why aren’t more donors giving stock?  Perhaps because it’s not as familiar to them as writing a check.  Also, we may be assuming donors know about the advantages of stock gifts but, in reality, we need to be educating them.  Transferring stock ownership is definitely a more complicated and time-consuming process than simply writing a check.

How do we solve the complexity factor?  The speakers suggested several approaches:

1.  Community foundations have helpful resources.

2. There are online tools that can be helpful for web-savvy donors.

3.  Non-profits need staff who are capable of assisting donors.

I would add a fourth to that list.  We need to make sure that our marketing materials don’t frighten donors off by illustrating a dauntingly complex set of steps that need to be followed.  In printed materials we should leave it simply as “Contact Us.”  Then you can hold your donor’s hand while you walk him or her through the process.



Written by Phyllis Freedman

September 28, 2009 at 11:21 pm

One Response

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  1. Another consideration: the cyclical nature of the economy. Downturns have, and will continue to occur, regardless of the man-made tweaking. Those downturns sap cash, whether for annual funds, special events (which must secure corp sponsorships), and major gifts. What’s left? Planned giving. Non-cash giving will explode if enough donors are aware of it. Call it advertising, marketing, promoting, whatever; we need to do a better job of speading the message.

    steffan cress

    September 30, 2009 at 8:28 am

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