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William Clay Tucker, CAP, CMFC,CRPS
Myth: Planned giving isn’t important. Most of our wealth is in cash. (i.e., Cash is king.)
Fact: Only 5% of this nation’s wealth is in cash. That’s why it’s so hard to raise cash gifts.
Fact: The typical planned giving target is 200 times the donor's largest annual fund [cash] gift.
Fact: Donors find they can become more generous with non-cash gifts because of additional tax benefits.
Myth: We are not ready for planned giving.
Fact: If you are a non-profit, you are ready. Even organizations less than 8 years old and without a structured program are soliciting planned gifts.
Fact: If you are holding off because you don’t yet have a formal planned giving "program," you are missing donors who are making gift decisions today.
Fact: Your organization can accept gifts of appreciated assets, bequests and life insurance today , without any special arrangements with your business office.
Fact: Other gifts are more complex, but you can partner with professionals who can help, such as banks and community foundations.
Fact: Let your prospects know that you’re open for business – or watch the best gifts keep going elsewhere .
Myth: It takes too long. We need the cash now.
Fact: The average time from inception to maturity for a planned gift is 7-10 years — only a few years longer than most campaign pledge periods .
Fact: Although most planned gifts are deferred, some provide current cash.
Fact: One reason cash is in such short supply in many institutions is that they have little or no endowment. Planned gifts can build an endowment.
Fact: By limiting yourself to immediate gifts, you are excluding a vast constituency of prospects who may only be able to give a large gift in their will.
Fact: If you are scrambling to raise cash today, it's because, in part, your organization did not pursue planned gifts 5-10 years ago.
Fact: Planned Giving = Proactive Planning
Myth: Planned giving is complex, expensive and time consuming.
Fact: It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. You can start simple with a bequest program.
Fact: Even a simple, unattended program can raise significant funds.
Advice: Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish… one can easily give up $500,000 in bequests to save $3,000 in their budget. Balance cost with value and return on investment.
Advice: Within the next 15 years, over 6 trillion dollars will be passed from one generation to the next. Do not leave gifts on the table or forfeit them to another charity.
Myth: Planned gifts compete with major gifts.
Fact: Most planned giving donors are not prospects for large major gifts. Many fundraisers are nervous about pursuing planned gifts because they think they'll lose major gifts.
Fact: Planned giving donors are the "millionaires-next-door" in your constituency, flying under the radar of your prospect identification systems.
Fact: Planned giving often gives donors financial benefits, but it isn’t the number one reason they make gifts.
Fact: They have different motivations than those major gift donors who seek recognition by having their names on big projects or buildings at your organization.
Fact: A blended gift, i.e., a planned gift structured into an outright gift of a major donor can often increase that donor's total gift.
Myth: Planned gifts are a distraction in campaigns.
Fact: They provide up to 30% or more of comprehensive campaign totals. Reaches the “hidden constituency”… your most loyal donors.
Fact: Capital campaigns focus on 5% or less of the donor base (major donor prospects). The major gifts donor pool and deferred gifts donor pool are not the same.
A powerful start: Bequests, bequests, bequests.
Fact: 42% of Americans die without a will.* *PPP Survey
Fact: Only 1 in 3 donors told charity about their bequest in advance.* *PPP Survey
Fact: More than 2/3 who made a planned gift also made a cash gift.* *PPP Survey
Fact: Average age when a will is created is 44.* *PPP Survey
Fact: 34% of donors learned about bequests from their charities.* *PPP Survey
Fact: 21% of bequest donors had no prior affiliation with the charity.* *PPP Survey
Fact: Additional non-survey information: 75-80% of all planned gifts are bequests.
Fact: The average bequest is $20,000 - $70,000.
Fact: A small percentage of donors change the commitment.
Fact: Bequests are easy to market: they are the gift that costs “nothing during lifetime.” That is, a bequest does not affect one’s cash flow or lifestyle.
Fact: Other charities are educating your donors and closing planned gifts – shouldn’t you?
Who are these planned giving prospects?
Myth: Planned giving donors are wealthy.
Fact: Donors at all financial levels take advantage of planned gifts.
Fact: Your best prospects are your most loyal donors, not necessarily your wealthiest .
Fact: Wealth screening and demographic criteria alone are poor predictors of propensity to make a planned gift. The highest predictor is institutional loyalty.
Fact: Most deferred gifts are made by those who do not benefit from estate tax deductions.
Fact: Most planned gift donors give small gifts year after year rather than larger donations. (69% of planned giving donors give less than $500 per year and are unrated prospects.)
Fact: The highest predictor of a donor's propensity to make a planned gift is institutional loyalty , not how much money they have.
Fact: Households engaged in planned giving have a higher rate of participation in charitable giving, as well as higher average contributions than households not engaged in planned giving.
Myth: Planned giving donors are old.
Fact: 43% of bequests and 34% of charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) are created by individuals younger than 55. 15% of planned gifts are by those younger than 45.
Fact: The age at which people begin financial planning for themselves and their families is becoming lower every year – let the option of planned giving be known to your constituencies early.
Fact: While 69% of donors change their wills, only 25% change a gift in their wills.
Fact: Ages Bequests CRTs 18-34 3% 6% 35-44 14% 10% 45-54 26% 18% 55-64 22% 20% 65-74 20% 23% 75+ 15% 24% Mean 58% 62%
Myth: People give to get a tax break.
Fact: A tax break makes it easier to give and easier to give larger gifts, but people give for other reasons.
Fact: No. 1 Reason? They are asked or presented the opportunity to give. Yes, someone asked them.
Fact: The other four reasons... Compassion for those in need They personally believe in the cause They are affected by the cause To give back to their community
Planned giving marketing.
Myth: Planned giving prospects are not online.
Fact: Your website is the first place your prospects will go to find out about you.
Fact: Adults 55+ are the fastest growing sector of the PC purchasing public. Seniors are getting "younger" – the first baby boomer turned 60 in 2006.
Fact: 40% of all U.S. adults over the age of 50 – including 24% of those over 65 – use a computer at home.
Fact: 70% of seniors who own a computer and 14 million North Americans age 50+ use the Internet on a regular basis.
Fact: 65% of Americans age 55+ who are online use the Internet for research and investing.
Fact: Seniors are 27% more inclined to invest online than their younger counterparts. A majority have invested online at least once over the last year.
Fact: Internet users age 50+ are highly educated, affluent when compared to the general population, and purchase more in dollar amount online than younger surfers…
Fact: 75% have a college-level education. 45% earn over $75,000 a year. 50% have investment portfolios worth over $100,000. These figures could be higher for your constituency.
Myth: People read planned giving newsletters.
Fact: Newsletters worked in the 60’s. Today, they rarely get read . Personalized letters, postcards, display ads and websites have a greater impact. Personal visits are a must .
Myth: Email blasts are a cheap way to promote planned gifts.
Fact: In 1999, this was a great idea. Times have changed. Most of your emails won’t get read.
Fact: E-cards or e-mailing is a great idea for birthday greetings, but not planned giving... Americans read their email with their fingers on the delete key.
Fact: Your e-newsletters and planned giving e-cards will not get read for the same reasons your newsletters won't. Many e-marketing pieces get spammed out.
Fact: Even if your prospects have opted-in to hear from you, they will soon ignore your emails. You can easily alienate your prospects with mass emails and e-marketing.
Myth: Planned giving websites close planned gifts.
Fact: Handshakes close planned gifts. People give to people, not organizations. It’s important to have a planned giving website… but do not rely on it to work on its own.
In Closing... Annual giving is important, and urgent. Planned giving is also important, and proactive. Our endowment is like a retirement account. If we do not plan today for tomorrow, we may be in crisis tomorrow, which could jeopardize our programs and services.