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Is Your Nonprofit Missing Out On Planned Gifts?

Is Your Nonprofit Missing Out on Planned Gifts?

For many nonprofit organizations, their planned giving program basically consists of a tiny “Remember us in your will” tagline on marketing materials. I hate to tell you, but that little message probably isn’t going to result in too many million-dollar gifts to your nonprofit. So if you’re a board member or staffer for a charitable organization, it’s time to consider establishing a coordinated, active planned giving program. This area of development could result in big bucks for your organization. Better yet, it’s not as complicated as you think for donors to set up trust and bequest agreements—particularly when you partner with professionals who can coordinate them on your behalf.

Why planned giving is so easily ignored

Nonprofit organizations understandably like to see charitable gifts flow into their agencies today. Or at least this year. They usually have an unending list of expenses to cover and rarely enough funds to address them all. Planned gifts, while wonderful to have, often don’t pay out until the donor is deceased. That could be years or even decades from now.

On the other hand, fundraisers like a nonprofit’s Annual Fund or yearly gala and golf outing are, well, annual. Their financial results are available fairly quickly. Board members like seeing those incoming dollar figures reported at every board meeting.

In addition, many organizations’ development goals are measured on an annual basis. Staff members are typically judged during their yearly performance evaluations on how much money they brought into the organization that year. So it’s not a surprise that nonprofits are often focused raising funds today.

Why “tomorrow’s” money matters

Donations raised by this year’s Annual Fund or other fundraisers are important, but have limitations. Very few donors increase the size of their gifts significantly from year to year, and it takes a real effort to add new donors to your nonprofit’s roster.

Major gifts from foundations and corporations are terrific when they occur, though also have drawbacks. Some foundations purposely like to spread their money around in the communities. They may only fund your nonprofit for a limited amount of time before they move on to another worthy cause, leaving your organization scrambling to replace those dollars. Corporate gifts may also be quite generous, but as companies consolidate or even close, you may lose your gift potential. The merger of several major pharmaceutical companies in New York and New Jersey is a good example: The consolidation of this industry has hit some of their longtime nonprofit causes quite hard.

Because “today’s” charitable gifts can be fleeting, it’s important for nonprofits to have a more diversified stream of funding. Planned gifts are an important part of that strategy.

You don’t have to wait for donors to die

Legacy gifts–the kind a donor leaves your nonprofit in his/her will–are certainly one kind of planned gift. However, today’s donors are much more interested in seeing the impact of their charitable gifts now, while they’re still alive to enjoy them. The good news is that your nonprofit can help your donor meet their personal philanthropic goals—and at the same time used planned gifts to create an income stream your nonprofit may be able to rely on for decades or more.

Your staffers don’t need to become planned giving experts. However, they do need to learn a bit about the charitable options available to your donors, and be able to converse about them. From there, a firm like RegentAtlantic can step in to help structure the planned gift that meets the donor’s goals.

A few types of planned gifts your staff should learn more about include charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities, and life insurance/retirement plan beneficiary arrangements. We’ll talk a bit more about these options in a future blog.

Making planned giving a priority

Since you can’t count on most of your nonprofit’s planned gifts right away, it’s important to set proper expectations with your board of trustees. You may also need to redefine staff members’ development goals.

Coach your board members that talking to donors about planned giving is like sowing seeds, knowing that the harvest might not come for many years. It takes real effort focused on having deeper conversations with donors and nurturing those relationships over time. Also, you may need to base your development’s staff fundraising goals on effort, in addition to actual dollars raised. For instance, you could give staffers performance goal that include the number of donor meetings each month in which they should raise the option of planned giving.

In subsequent blogs, we’ll talk more about how to improve your nonprofit’s planned giving program. In the meantime, feel free to contact RegentAtlantic for advice or guidance. Our Neighborhood Nonprofit Group is a team specifically dedicated to helping charitable organizations with their financial strategies.

Important Disclosure Information

Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, including the loss of money invested. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Therefore, it should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy, including the investments or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by RegentAtlantic Capital, LLC (“RegentAtlantic”) will be profitable. Please remember to contact RegentAtlantic if there are any changes in your personal or financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing our previous recommendations and services, or if you wish to impose, add, or modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment management services. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for your review upon request. This article is not a substitute for personalized advice from RegentAtlantic. This information is current only as of the date on which it was sent. The statements and opinions expressed are, however, subject to change without notice based on market and other conditions and may differ from opinions expressed in other businesses and activities of RegentAtlantic. Descriptions of RegentAtlantic’s process and strategies are based on general practice and we may make exceptions in specific cases.

Important disclosure information

Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, including the loss of money invested. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Therefore, it should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy, including the investments or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by RegentAtlantic Capital, LLC (“RegentAtlantic”) will be profitable.

Please remember to contact RegentAtlantic if there are any changes in your personal or financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing our previous recommendations and services, or if you wish to impose, add, or modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment management services. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for your review upon request.

This article is not a substitute for personalized advice from RegentAtlantic. This article is current only as of the date on which it was sent. The statements and opinions expressed are, however, subject to change without notice based on market and other conditions and may differ from opinions expressed in other businesses and activities of RegentAtlantic. Descriptions of RegentAtlantic’s process and strategies are based on general practice and we may make exceptions in specific cases.

RegentAtlantic does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult with a legal and or tax professional of your choosing prior to implementing any of the strategies discussed in this article.

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