Time to get your planned giving act together!

Related imageBaby boomers getting older….

The wealth transfer is coming….

Blah, blah, blah.  The same old, same old and no real difference in the numbers for planned giving.  Right?

I know what I am about to say is self-serving (this is a blog and I’m constantly promoting myself and my services) but if you have a minute, read what I am about to write carefully.

The estate tax exemption just doubled (i.e. people can leave more to family estate tax free).  Bad for planned giving?

Wrong. Amazing for planned giving!!!


People with means are going to their estate planning attorneys.  Considering options. Redoing their estate plans.

How often does this happen with your typical planned giving prospect?  You usually have no idea unless someone tells you.

So, I am telling you this (from my estate planning practice – more than half of my business):  your wealthier donors are meeting with their estate planning attorneys NOW.

That means NOW is the time to make sure they are considering YOUR institution for some sort of planned gift!

In other words, you need to wake up your sleeping planning giving program. You need to train your staff (click here to see more on my upcoming training!). You need to put some budget towards planned giving.

Meaning: it’s time to get your planned giving act in order! The boomers will start moving on. There are a lot more of them than their predecessors and they actually have a lot of money.  Planned Giving will grow dramatically in the next few years.  You and your organization need to get ready!


We’ve had over 300 people joining our two webinars on the new tax law! Thank you to everyone who joined us, and particularly those who provided feedback!

If you missed either of these sessions and/or are interested in our materials (donor friendly text for a response pamphlet and an opinion article on the new law), CLICK HERE to purchase the package.

Tax Law Briefing Package includes:

  • Two webinar recordings (one for nonprofit leaders and one geared for  your supporters)
  • The actual PowerPoints for each webinar, to use as you wish
  • Full pamphlet language to create your own response piece)
  • Opinion article – written specifically for your newsletters


IRA Rollover Giving – IS Your Org Eligible?

Image result for what type of organization tax exempt

Should be an easy question.  Except that it isn’t always so clear.

With IRA giving (donors age 70.5+) becoming particularly important in light of the new tax law, your nonprofit may want to read this post carefully.

  1. Private Foundations and Supporting Organizations are NOT eligible to receive qualified IRA rollover gifts.
  2. A Supporting Organization (SO) is one which was founded and received its exemption under IRS Code Section 509(a)(3) (there are 3 types of SOs – all are not eligible – not relevant to this post).

Last week, a question came via a client.  It was a religious entity upset that they are a SO – what can they do about accepting IRA rollover gifts?

Answer:  find out if your organization is definitely an SO or not!  Someone may have thought you are one and checked off that box on the 990 or some other form (when, in fact, the org is something else).

First, look at your 990 return – your accountant may have checked off the box saying that you are an SO!  DON’T ASSUME THAT IS ACTUALLY THE CASE.

Next, call the IRA tax exempt hotline (pretty short waits) – and ask them what they have you as.  AGAIN, DON’T ASSUME THEY ARE CORRECT EITHER.

Next, look at your incorporation documents and preferably a copy of your original IRS form 1023 application for exemption – what do they say?

Incorporation docs and your 1023 rule over anything else (call me if you have a discrepancy between the incorporation docs and your 1023!).

Many times accountants who file the 990s make mistakes and the IRS doesn’t question them.  Your organization can go on for years filing under as the wrong type of organization.  All the IRS cares about for 990s is that they are filed – not whether they are particularly accurate – as long as the numbers are generally sound.

I am sure there are thousands of nonprofit public charities which are in fact SOs!!  If  your organization is some sort of subsidiary, controlled by a parent charity (as long as the parent controls the board membership), you might be an SO.  SOs were an easy route to gain exemption status by “pigging-backing” on the parent’s exemption (and maintaining control of the subsidiary).

It doesn’t matter if your organization no longer resembles an SO.  Until you amend your articles of incorporation and refile your 1023, your org is what it started out as.

Of course, there may be many orgs which think they are SOs – because of an error on the 990s or other mistaken approaches – but are really NOT.

Go back to the beginning.  You might be surprised. I had the IRS telling me definitively that a client was an SO.  But, I kept digging (no one had the 1023 or articles of incorporation) and eventually figured out that the so-called parent church’s attorney thought they were an SO and told the IRS on one of their forms.  They lost their exemption retroactively for not filing 990s (they were actually a religious org that wasn’t required to file 990s).  In the IRS’s system – they were switched to an SO and that was it.

Eventually, they got it reversed but some damage was done.