Recording of Tax Briefing on Sale!

We had 250 people on our live tax briefing today!

The session was very well received – here are a few of the comments we received:

“Thanks for the webinar today. Any chance you’d be interested in holding a seminar for donors about how the new tax bill might affect their charitable giving.”

“Nice job on the presentation today.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed and was educated by your webinar today.”

“Thank you so much for an informative session this morning!”

“Thanks so much for the webinar presentation today regarding the 2018 Tax Law changes — I found it to be very helpful.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed the presentation this morning and got a number of questions answered, plus good direction for the future with the 70 1/2s and their IRAs. Thanks!”

If you are still interested in the topic – you can now purchase the recording!


Pease is gone!! What was that anyway?

The new tax plan eliminates the Pease limitations!  Did you even know it existed? Was it important?

“This provision, named after the late Congressman Donald Pease, reduceD the value of itemized deductions for high income taxpayers. It worked by reducing the value of a taxpayer’s itemized deductions by 3 percent for every dollar of taxable income above a certain threshold ($254,200 single; $305,050 married). The phase-out of the value of itemized deductions is capped at 80 percent of the total value of itemized deductions.”  Click here if you want to see a good blog post on it. (I made the quote in past tense)

Basically, Pease was a surtax on charitable giving for those around $250,000 and up!  (it impacted all deductions but the charitable deduction is the most discretionary of the deductions – the one someone at that income level may think twice about a larger gift (if notified by their accountant of the surtax).

Yes, it is so complex that I can’t remember how it was calculated (why bother figuring it out again now that it is gone!) BUT this change, as well as a bunch of other “goodies” in the new tax bill, may be big opportunities!!!

Want to learn more about opportunities for nonprofits (and some challenges) due to the new law?  THIS MONDAY AT NOON est, I AM GIVING A BRIEFING ON THE NEW LAW!!! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER – WE WILL BE GOING OVER 20 IMPORTANT CHANGES TO THE LAW THAT MAY HELP YOUR ORG RAISE MORE MONEY.





Man’s Search for Meaning and Philanthropy

I’ve been thinking for several weeks about this book and what it has to do with philanthropy in general and planned giving in particular.  Something just struck me so please humor me and read on.

Firstly, if you’ve never read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, you need to.  It is an unbelievable, true story with a far reaching message – one for those who work in philanthropy in particular need to ponder.  The story is of Frankl’s first hand experiences as an inmate in a concentration camp but Frankl is no ordinary victim. He was an up and coming Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist when he was swept into the Holocaust.  His life’s work having to do with a theory that people  have an inherent need to seek meaning in life.  And, he observed first hand – under the most horrific conditions – the impact of one’s being able to maintain meaning as a source of drive to remain alive (and the loss of meaning and almost assured death).

Frankl eventually becomes his own prime case study when he himself loses his research papers – the papers that gave him meaning and drive to live, and how he somehow finds meaning to live.  Eventually, he does survive and his theory changed the face of psychiatry and the world.

So what does Frankl’s story and work have to do with philanthropy or planned giving?

Think about this field we are in – philanthropy, fundraising. We represent various non-profit institutions and/or programs that receive significant funding through gifts from individuals.  Someone sees a request (perhaps in a letter or email or personal meeting), considers the worthiness of the cause, weighs how much to give this particular cause at this time, and writes a check or gives cash or something else of value. And, when it comes to planned giving, that same person is deciding to leave something after they are gone for this cause.

Why should anyone do this? What is the core reason for philanthropy?

I would like to suggest that Frankl’s theory is at the heart of the matter. Deep down in a person’s head, perhaps in the subconscious, there is something that drives a person to seek meaning outside of themselves and it often finds expression through charitable giving.  Giving to help others and/or to a cause greater than oneself. It gives meaning to our own lives.

So what does this mean to us “professionals” in the business of raising money?

Let me suggest that our job is to offer – on behalf of our respective institutions – meaning to the lives of our supporters.  In other words, we need to communicate clearly what our institutions are doing for our community and the rest of mankind.  We need to show our supporters that their dollars play an important role – that they are partners with us (the institutions) in addressing whatever needs we are focusing on.  That the funds are well spent and that the institution is making a difference.  And, that our current, short-term and long-term goals are in line with what we have promised to accomplish – on your (our supporters’) behalf.

In other words, let’s find a way to treat every donor – not just the top ones – like shareholders in the enterprise of correcting the world or whatever corner of the world we happen to be focussing on.

And, if we do that job well, besides receiving larger and more consistent gifts, more supporters will make the ultimate gift in their estate plans – establishing their own life legacies by connecting to institutions and causes  after they will no longer be here.

The gifts during life are small down payments on various levels of meaning our donors seek through their generosity.  And, the gifts upon death are often the final balloon payments to the most important, impactful conduits of meaning during our lives.