bequest dollars

Biggest Giver in 2011? A Planned Giving Donor, Of Course!

Let’s face it, planned giving is a stepchild in the fundraising world.  Between the struggles for immediate cash, to the complexities that planned giving programs can create, it seems that fundraisers quite often just leave the planned giving efforts for another to deal with.

But, year after year, I notice that bequests in particular are always among the largest gifts reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Here is a very interesting list of the Chronicle’s top 50 givers in the U.S. in 2011:

The number one giver – by far – a bequest donor.  The number two giver also a bequest.

In fact, 10 out the 50 largest philanthropists in 2011 were bequest donors.  I didn’t count the dollars but clearly bequests represented well over 50% of the mega gift dollars given in 2011 – not bad for the stepchild!

Charitable Bequests Survive Year of Estate Tax Repeal!

I know this isn’t new – Giving USA 2011 #’s came out in June – but it is definitely something that the planned giving world should take note of.

I’ve never been a fan of estate tax repeal.  Since a very high percentage of charitable bequests globally come from the potential U.S. estate tax payers (for example, in 2009, 75% of charitable bequest dollars came from those with estates of $3.5 million or greater), I thought we might see a huge dip in bequest revenue in 2010 with the one year repeal.

Turns out that my concerns were unfounded.  Giving USA reports that  charitable bequests in 2010 came in at $22.82 billion.  Not only a typical year, but an increase from the previous year of a few billion dollars (not that I put much faith in comparing years for bequest purposes since timing of bequests is based on hard to predict factors – i.e. death!).

Here is link to Giving USA’s website to get their reports:

I think the immediate take-away from this piece of news is that estate tax or not, charitable bequests will come in.