Q. Can you give me more information on planned giving?

Planning for future donationsA. Bequests, Endowment Gifts, Charitable Lead Trusts, Charitable Gift Annuities, deferred charitable gift annuities, charitable gift of securities, real estate, life insurance, retirement plans, charitable remainder trusts, living/revocable trusts, Totten Trust, or donor advised funds (more information on these funds can be found in the venture philanthropy to the left).  The options for planned giving are quite extensive. So much so, in fact, that many larger organizations have staff dedicated to introducing, educating, explaining and assisting in planned giving.

How can mid-sized and smaller organizations introduce planned giving into their organizations?

  1. Understand.
  2. Explain.
  3. Implement.
  4. Advise.

Four steps that should be easy to implement, if you know how.

Understand: Take a few minutes and see what other organizations offer planned giving opportunities.  Attend a seminar about planned giving.  Invite David A. Mersky or Michael Jaffe to give you a private session about planned giving.  Buy a book.  You are going to have to explain the concepts and benefits to a lot of people over the next year – make sure you know what the details of the ways in which you are asking your donors.

Explain: If you understand it, you can write the copy for your website.  If you can write the copy, you can talk it through with individuals considering the option.  The tax implications may change from year to year, but you should always be able to answer the majority of questions that you are asked.    You should be able to simply state the abundant benefits that include long-term legacies for loved ones, retirement income, as well as increased income and/or estate taxes savings.

Implement: Understand what it means for your organization to accept stock gifts or property as part of a remainder trust.  You must be able to talk the talk and walk the walk.  In other words, don’t wait until someone gives you a gift before you understand what it means for you and your staff.

Advise: Without being able to dedicate staff to the task, you are going to need to convince constituents that you are the organization they should support and that this is just one more way in which they can help you succeed.  Talk it up at every opportunity. If no one knows that it is an option, all of your hard work in steps 1 & 2 will be for naught.