Where can I find information on planned giving?
Briefly, planned giving is the solicitation of major gifts for a nonprofit, often contributed by an individual donor through a will, bequest, or trust.
For donors, planned giving might be a way to give their life new meaning, to keep doing good even after death.
For nonprofits, planned giving can be an important part of an overall fundraising plan, because it helps diversify where their money comes from. This strategy is especially important during difficult economic times.
Major gifts often make up the top 10-20% of gifts received by an organization and can account for as much as 70-80% of its overall fundraising revenue, according to Kent Dove, et al. That means planned giving can play an important part in ensuring a nonprofit's long-term financial health.
A "major gift" varies from one organization to another. A large nonprofit might consider a major gift to be a donation of $100,000 or more; a smaller new nonprofit might consider $1,000 a major gift.
Planned giving can be structured over a period of time or can be deferred, and it can involve a variety of assets, including stock, securities, and property as well as cash.
More articles about individual donors
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Explore resources curated by our staff for this topic:
American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
A national organization of lawyers with experience as trust and estate counselors. Provides information about planned giving and major gifts, and resources such as Pocket Tax Tables with a section on charitable deductions.
American Council on Gift Annuities
This national organization provides educational and other services to American charities regarding gift annuities and other forms of planned gifts, including information on ethics and best practices.
Charitable Gift Annuities
An educational guide to help nonprofits better understand what charitable gift annuities are and how they can be beneficial for both the donor and receiving organization.
Subscription required. DonorSearch is a prospect research tool providing information on donor giving history and assets.
American Red Cross
Gift Planning: Creating a Legacy of Compassion
The American Red Cross has a very detailed planned giving program. Reviewing the various sections of this well organized web site, such as Gift Plans, may provide useful ideas for creating your own planned giving program.
The Balance Small Business
How a Nonprofit Can Start and Market a Planned Giving Program
This article discusses different approaches to planned giving, what nonprofits need to think about before starting and marketing tips. The author stresses that planned giving programs take time to plan and build, so they are not for a nonprofit's immediate financial needs.
Marquis Biographies Online
Subscription database of biographical data for leading professionals worldwide in a variety of fields, including business, law, science, medicine, the arts, government, and entertainment. Your public library might have access to the database or have print versions of the Who's Who directories.
National Association of Charitable Gift Planners
Formerly the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, this association is a membership organization for professionals in the charitable gift planning field. The site offers a blog with insights about planned giving.
United Way Planned Giving
The United Way offers a great deal of information on its own planned giving program, which may give some ideas for starting a planned giving program for your own nonprofit.
Subscription required. WealthEngine is a web-based research tool that offers wealth screening, customer segmentation and modeling, and donor analysis.
What Is Planned Giving?
While some information on this site is fee-based, it provides free access to a number of helpful articles, including "What is Planned Giving?," a basic overview of the topic and the most common types of major gifts given to nonprofits. (Find the article link under "Resources" at the bottom of the page.)
Why the secret of legacy giving is hidden in the life story of your best donors
This article discusses what motivates donors to leave donations to charity in their wills and trusts. It also links to a study that brings together findings in fields such as marketing, psychology and behavioral economics.