Thank you to the 30 or so people who took our informal poll on the counting of bequests!!
Now, you might say that 30 people is not much of a poll statistically. True. But, the results are useful in that they reflect the ranges of practices out there and options to consider. And, I believe the results are actually a nice representation of the whole picture.
Here are the results, with my comments to follow each slide:
I am actually surprised at this result. I just assumed everyone, or almost everyone, includes realized bequests in their annual fundraising totals. Maybe the question was confusing as I should have asked “whether your org includes realized bequests in your annual fundraising totals?”
I would like to see this at 100% YES but at least this tells us that not every organization will use the so-called “irrevocable bequest” to pad their campaign numbers. Bottom line: campaigns need the flexibility to include irrevocable bequest intents as long as reasonable age guidelines are used (i.e. over age 65 or 70 or older!) and this is not overly relied upon (will land your org into not welcomed litigation).
OK, nobody went over 50% of their campaign with irrevocable bequests – not surprising. But, most being less than 5% of their campaigns shows that irrevocable bequests are not overly popular.
Who counts “revocable” bequests intents in their campaigns?! Well, some do but it is certainly not the norm. I am surprised that so many of the voters said they did – 8 out of 25 voters on this particular question. That is 8 more than I expected but I am guessing that institutions are using their campaigns as springboards for their planned giving programs. In that case, I think it is a great idea to give some recognition in your campaigns for these revocable “gifts”.
I had assumed that most charitable bequests are overwhelmingly unrestricted. Either I am wrong or the respondents are not so representative of experiences I’ve seen.
Lastly, I like the answers to this question – meaning the policies run the gamut. And, that is fine because this is purely a policy question! Your organization’s choice and even when your board decides to put unrestricted bequests into endowment, the funds are not permanently restricted and can be realized by board at any time!
Thank you to all who participated in this informal poll! Please share this post with others – we are on a membership drive to push our subscribers over a 1,000 and reach 100,000 visitors to the blog.