Fundraising Tip of the Day: Payments from Lead Trusts

As a follow-up to my prior Lead Trust posts, here is a more practical fundraising tip that happened to me today.

In looking through the most recent gifts spreadsheet, a relatively small (less than $10,000) gift showed up with the name of a lead trust as the donor.

Watch for these!  Without paying attention, a receipt will get sent to the donor – in the name of the lead trust.  And, maybe a standard thank you letter to the donor himself.

Wait a moment!  There is no way this lead trust payment is the full amount that this lead trust is granting to nonprofits ever year.  Maybe this lead trust gives the power to the donor to choose which charity gets every year and for how much?

And, people don’t do lead trusts unless they are looking to move millions of dollars out of their names and towards their children.  And, they don’t do them unless they are very philanthropic.

The point is this: you see a check that indicates it’s from a lead trust, your development staff needs to make sure there is proper follow-up with the donor.

This point is why fundraisers and planned giving staff should be educated on lead trusts, at least to understand the basic concepts.


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