Planned Giving

The Hallmark of a Great Gift Planner

Gift Planner

A great gift planner will:

  1. Honor Donor Confidences.  Making a gift out of estate assets may touch sensitive concerns regarding personal wealth and family expectations for some donors.  A great gift planner recognizes this and is sensitive to a donor’s concerns.
  2. Provide Information.  The gift planner should be knowledgeable about various gift vehicles and opportunities that best match a donor’s goals and desires.
  3. Meet With Advisors.  Sometimes a gift plan can be confusing and difficult to explain.  A great gift planner is able to discuss the plan in detail with a donor’s advisors so they have a good grasp of what the donor desires.
  4. Coordinate the Gift Plan.  A great gift planner is good at fitting all the puzzle pieces together.  She will help orchestrate the gift process with a checklist of steps and will move the process along so that the donor’s gift giving experience is stress free and enjoyable.
  5. Provide Ongoing Contact.  Once a donor has made a gift, a great gift planner will maintain contact with the donor to ensure that the donor remains connected with the organization throughout the donor’s gift giving cycle.

To request a brochure on our planned giving services call 1-888-206-0066.



There are various perceived motives that form the basis of charitable intent. Three prominent economic models that explore altruism include 1) the public goods model, 2) the warm-glow model and 3) impact philanthropy. Many of our strategies focus on theories discussed in Brian Duncan’s “A theory of impact philanthropy”. The impact philanthropy model states that donors who give primarily to make a difference receive utility when their gift causes a direct change or impact on a social condition. These donors enjoy knowing how their gift directly benefited the cause of their concern. A nonprofit organization can increase its level of contributions by focusing its attention to impact donors. Although there are varying motives for giving, impact donors greatly enjoy the opportunity to target their donation because they appreciate seeing the impact of their giving. Conversely, these same donors do not like funding general operations because the use of their donation does not achieve a “direct” impact. For similar reasons, direct impact donors also prefer donating to smaller nonprofit organizations versus larger organizations because they perceive their donation can make a stronger impact. Nonprofit organizations who wish to target impact donors can create sponsoring agreements that showcase specific areas of need, but at the same time reinforce the general needs of the organization. The time and resources spent on attracting impact donors can be extremely beneficial for a nonprofit. Satisfied impact donors are more likely to remain involved with the organization. With the right approach, a nonprofit can also optimize the relationship, generating a charitable lifecycle of giving. For more information on our donor cultivation strategies, contact

Fundraising Prospect Research Using Analytics

Prospect Research

Nonprofit managers and fundraising professionals acknowledge that effective fundraising has become more complex requiring more time and resources to cultivate sustainable donor relationships. We see the use of analytical technology as a priority for nonprofits interested in developing or strengthening philanthropic relationships. By using analytical technology, a nonprofit organization can collect, analyze and more efficiently use research data to develop better donor cultivation strategies. Research analytical tools, when used properly and ethically, can become fundamental in developing the right donor connections. Through creation of various rating profiles, an organization will have the ability to convert organized data into essential information on a range of variables such as a donor’s interest level, capacity, philanthropic priorities and anecdotal history. This information can be passed on to the organization’s development officer who can in turn better prepare for donor meetings and major gift discussions. The same collection of data can also be used to maintain interaction with key donors while at the same time become more responsive to donor interests. For instance, the organization can host meet and greet events that are especially tailored to specific donor interests discovered through internal donor research. In today’s information driven society, nonprofits who most successfully utilize data analysis techniques within their fundraising strategy will likely be the organizations that continue to thrive and expand. For more information on prospect research, contact us at

Planned Giving – Retirement Assets

Flower Garden

Retirement savings accounted for 34 percent of household assets in the United States in the first quarter of 2014 according to Investment Company Institute. The total value of such retirement assets is estimated to be $23 trillion. With such a large amount of wealth concentrated in retirement assets, charities working with potential donors may face issues pertaining to retirement assets. This is an area fraught with complexity and traps for the unsuspecting. Thus, it is important to seek out the guidance of an experienced professional. One challenge in this area may arise when a donor want to know how to best allocate testamentary assets to both family and charity. If the donor’s assets consists of a combination of non-retirement and retirement assets various issue must be addressed to achieve desirable results.

For instance, it may be advantageous for the donor to contribute appreciated long-term capital gains property to family members and retirement accounts to charity. Retirement assets generally generate income in respect of a decedent or (“IRD”). IRC Section 691(a)(I) of the Internal Revenue Code requires that IRD be included in the gross income for either the decedent’s estate or the beneficiary who receives the IRD asset by reason of death in the taxable year received. What this means is that when a donor leaves his or her retirement assets to a family member, that family member must report the retirement proceeds as gross income in the year such proceeds are received. However, if a donor makes a bequest of appreciated assets to a family member, that family member generally will receive a step-up in basis, a favorable tax result.

Consider on the other hand, if the donor left his or her retirement assets to charity. A tax-exempt charity is exempt from income taxation, thus receiving IRD assets is of no tax consequence for the charity.   A bequest of IRD to a charity can also result in an estate tax charitable deduction and an income tax deduction under Internal Revenue Code Section 642(c)(1) if the charitable bequest is structured properly. For donor estates that will be subject to both estate and income taxation, allocating IRD assets to charity may be the best tax option.

There are disadvantages and challenges involved when naming a charity as a beneficiary of a retirement account. For instance, spousal consent is required for certain retirement accounts such as a 401(k). If the donor’s estate is taxable, then family members may lose the opportunity to receive an income tax deduction under IRC Section 691(c )(1(A) which allows a person to deduct against taxable income the federal estate tax attributable to IRD items paid by the decedent’s estate. Also, if the donor is approaching or is over the age of 70 ½, naming a charity as a beneficiary will cause the donor to lose the option of stretching the IRA unless separate IRA accounts are set-up – one for charity and one for family members. For certain donors, the ability to stretch an IRA may be critical for several reasons, including the desire to reduce adjusted gross income. To stretch an IRA, the donor must name a “designated beneficiary.” If the donor is taking his or her minimum required distributions, and has named a designated beneficiary, then MRD is calculated based on the combined life expectancy of the donor and designated beneficiary resulting in a lower MRD. However, when a charity is name as beneficiary, only the sole life of the donor can be used in the MRD calculation. Segregating the IRA accounts between charity and family enables the donor to continue to receive the ability to stretch the IRA. It is important to consult with an estate planning professional regarding gifting retirement accounts because of the legal and tax complexities.