The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

No gender differences in legacy giving.

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At the recent PPP Conference, Patrick Rooney, Director of the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, reported the findings of an AFP/Legacy Leaders study to determine if there are gender differences in giving motivations for bequest donors and non-donors.  The short answer: an unequivocal “no.”  But that result obscures some very interesting findings.

The study was consistent with other recent surveys in finding that single individuals (which may equate to the absence of children or grandchildren) were more likely to have a charitable provision in their will.  What was new and interesting is that household income correlates favorably with having a charitable provision in the will.  In the past, most of us in gift planning thought that long-time, small gift donors were equally good bequest prospects. But the study indicates that the more likely prospects are higher annual givers and those with high household income.  I wouldn’t throw out the small, frequent, long-time givers, though.  A low income could simply mean that donors with incomes less than $50,000 are living frugally but are sitting on significant assets that are not income-producing or at least not high income-producing but that can form the basis of a legacy gift.

Perhaps the most interesting finding is that educational attainment is the single biggest predictor of likelihood of having a charitable provision.  This is true even when income is controlled, that is, even at lower income levels if the donor has a college education, he or she is significantly more likely to be a legacy giver.  The exciting thing about this is that both income and educational level are data elements that are available for appending to your file.  In other words, you can do a pretty good job of identifying your donors with these characteristics, whereas, frequent religious attendance, another high predictor, is not a commercially available piece of information.



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