The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

The end of gift planning as we know it.

with 3 comments

If you haven’t yet read the article “Are Demographics Destiny?” in the 4th Quarter 2009 issue of the Journal of Gift Planning, you owe it to yourself to do so immediately.  In it, Mary Beth Martin and Susan Raymond of Changing Our World describe looming shifts in American demographics and their implications for gift planning.  The authors quote Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, who famously said “It has long been our observation that, for any institution whose external environment is changing faster than it is changing internally, the end is in sight.”

Gift planners should take heed of their observations:

● Because the elderly are living longer, philanthropic decisions will be made by families and not individuals.

● The gender gap is closing with life expectancy of men starting to match or even exceed that of women.

● This longevity will constrain funds remaining for charities.

● Our society will be more diverse, with planned giving prospects no longer older, white women.

And their recommendations:

●  Broaden your audience and your message.  Create the biggest tent you can afford.

●  More than half of American adults do not have a will.  Broadening your message to reach these prospects can produce dividends.

●  Encourage self-identification of bequest prospects but only if an effective stewardship plan goes along with it.

● Stewardship will be critically important.

The article is extensive with lots of other observations, recommendations and accompanying charts.  It’s an important read for all gift planners.


P.S.  The pdf  provided is from the Journal of Gift Planning, authored by Martin & Raymond, copyright 2009.  Used with permission of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, Indianapolis, IN (317)269-6274,  All rights reserved.  The Journal is a benefit of PPP membership and a valuable resource for gift planners.  If you are not already a member, I strongly encourage you to join!


3 Responses

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  1. I read the article about a month ago and couldn’t agree more with the conclusions presented.

    Coming from a background in trusts and estates, banking and the practice of law, my approach to fundraising has been adapted from the client-centered service I provided and is truly donor-centered. For me, the article reinforces the notion that we as fundraisers need to drop the distinctions among planned gifts, major gifts and annual gifts and focus on the concept of integrated gift planning in order to meet the needs of both donors and our institutions.

    Bob King

    February 18, 2010 at 11:28 am

    • Bob
      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I couldn’t agree with you more. The artificial silos that have plagued fundraising as long as I’ve been in the business need to finally disappear in favor of a donor-centered approach, as you suggest.


      Phyllis Freedman

      February 18, 2010 at 11:32 am

  2. The heyday of the charitable trust and planned giving has been over for a while. Canadian author William Gibson said “The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet.” This seems quite apt here. However, bequests still offer much promise — but not if they remain viewed as second class gifts. We will also have to adjust our major gift approach to accomodate much larger numbers of bequest prospects. Not only is the market shifting, our approaches will shift as well.

    Kevin Johnson

    February 18, 2010 at 11:56 pm

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