Summer 2019 Webinar Training Announcement

This is our 6th year of offering convenient and cost effective webinar training programs!  Check out our full line-up of training for this summer (click each title to learn more and/or register!).  Thank you as always for considering our programs!


Planned Giving Boot Camp June July 2019

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 12:00 PM


Get Planned Giving Results Now…with a Survey Campaign!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 12:00 PM


Advanced CRTs

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 12:00 PM


Advanced CGAs

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at 12:00 PM


Advanced Charitable Lead Trusts

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 12:00 PM

To Ask or Not? (for documentation)…

donr-is-kingOne of the most basic questions for any fledgling planned giving program is whether you should ask legacy donors for documentation of their commitments.  Not so simple.

Most of these commitments are revocable bequests in wills or account beneficiary designations.  Why do we (the nonprofits) want the documentation especially if they doesn’t bind our supporters to follow through with their commitments?  Easy – we want to make sure the commitment is more than just a promise to act, that our donor has acted already!  That’s part of our job in planned giving – to do as much as we can to see gifts to fruition, which includes documentation and stewardship.

Sounds easy enough. But, I just sat today with a “model” planned giving donor – someone who has shared his legacy plans with several nonprofits – and he gave me more reservations on this question.  In a moment of total honesty, he said it “irked” him that some of the charities he was leaving significant gifts to aggressively asked for copies of the relevant portions of the instrument he used for the gift. From his perspective, the charities should take his word for it.

And, you know what, I agree with him!  My approach on this issue has always been to get the commitment to the idea upfront verbally or in a non-binding letter of intent and see if you can get documentation in later years (not demand but see if the donor is ok with the request).  People’s estate plans are private matters and the fact that someone is willing to share that a bequest is coming to your charity is plenty. Don’t push your luck.

If  you ask for documentation, make it optional – “just for our files” – and leave it at that if your supporter demurs.

And guess what – those charities are still waiting for documentation from this donor. The offending charities are lucky they weren’t dropped!



Do you have a legacy opener?

When going into a meeting with someone who you want to introduce legacy giving to, do you have a “legacy opener”?

By that, I mean a question that challenges your prospect to discuss their feelings about their legacy with your organization.

In a mere few words, you can set in motion all of the thoughts and feelings that lead to a planned gift.

Sounds easy?

Hey readers – if you have an approach to getting your prospects to open up about how they envision their legacy gifts with your organization, please share!

What ever happened to the Boston College/Havens-Schervish Wealth Transfer predictions?

I probably owe some part of my career in planned giving to the so-called “Wealth Transfer” predictions by John Havens and Paul Schervish in the late 90’s.  They created an incredible amount of publicity with bold predictions of “Trillions” of dollars heading to nonprofits via planned giving/bequests.  Every few years, I like to revisit their predictions and see how close we are 🙂

Here is my updated slide looking at Schervish and Havens’ minimum (I mean minimum!) wealth transfer to nonprofits:

Wealth Transfer Prophecy

Oops.  So they were off target by more than a $Trillion on their first prediction.

All kidding aside, and putting aside their ridiculous predictions (you make big predictions like theirs, you better at least be close), something is still coming.  But, the impact on planned giving (as a result of the aging of the baby boomers) won’t be felt for another 5 years – according to Dr. Russell James in his recent webinar (click here for a free viewing).

Dr. James’ reason for the 5-year period is simple:  that is when the oldest boomers will start reaching age 72 and  up.  In other words, planned giving won’t feel any Wealth Transfer uptic until boomers start passing away in noticeable numbers.

Maybe I need to  come up with realistic predictions for 2018 and beyond! It won’t be the tidal wave that my slide is showing but it will surely be a big jump from these relatively flat bequests years that we are currently in.

What is our takeaway from this dose of reality?  Nonprofits need to put aside the fantasy predictions (and their failure to materialize) and focus on the facts that we need to invest over the next five years in our planned giving programs to be ready for the real wave that is coming.  Not based on faulty predictions  but a reality that people get old and eventually pass away.  There are just more people in the baby boomer generation – so much more that it’s inevitable that the impact will reach nonprofits via planned giving.

Here are two other visuals from Dr. Russell James on the same issue – sorry Professors Schervish and Havens, your predictions look like duds 🙂

The prediction

The reality