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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