planned giving consultants

Amazing Planned Giving Statistic: IRS Data Shows Charitable Bequest Donors Triple Their Giving At Death

Thank you to David Joulfaian, an economist/researcher at the U.S. Dept. of Treasury, for unearthing the following statistic:

On average (based on IRS data from 1986 through 1997), charitable bequests during those years exceeded donors’ total lifetime charitable giving by 2.74 times. In other words, IRA data showed that the charitable bequests of estate tax paying donors/decedents on average were triple their during-life giving to charities.

A few caveats on the data – the analysis looked at estates that were required to file estate tax returns and their giving histories (as recorded by the IRS – all presumably itemizers).  This means that not included in the numbers would be smaller estates.  My guess is that the lower value gross estates might have higher rates of estate giving exceeding their lifetime giving.

This is not news to planned giving folks.  I have always found it amazing how a simple bequest donor (someone who gave small amounts over life) might easily leave a bequest of hundreds of thousands of dollars and could exceed the total lifetime giving of the most VIP major gift donors – and by a lot!  One person is on the radar, gets lots of attention and the other is off the radar, gets virtually no attention.  Pretty ironic, if you ask me.  In the end, the few dollars spent on promoting planned giving to the masses can sometimes go a lot further than all of the staff time and angst spent on the “high end” donors.

Take a look at this U.S. Treasury research paper if you want to see the details:  U.S. Treasury Bequest and Giving Analysis

Launch of Planned Giving Advisors, LLC

Dear blog readership,

After more than 15 years of advising fundraisers in the area of planned giving, I am very pleased to announce the launch of my firm, Planned Giving Advisors, LLC.

I decided to launch this firm to address what I have seen as an increasing need in our nonprofit community for cost effective gift planning guidance and expertise. As many of you know, the economic downturn has put more and more general fundraisers at the helm of their organizations’ planned giving programs without in-house resources or expertise to get the job done effectively and manageably.  Our services are designed to help fundraisers by providing the supplementary tools, training and guidance to promote and close planned gifts of any type – in a way that is comprehensive, yet affordable.

In addition, we offer audit programs for endowments and planned giving assets to ensure that your organization is in full compliance with regulatory and legal requirements.  We feel this is especially important for nonprofits in light of numerous changes made recently to endowment laws and the significant investment losses to planned giving assets that may cause them to become exhausted prematurely.

I encourage you to check our website ( and to please contact us with any questions about our services.

As always, I will continue to post to this blog and appreciate your loyal readership!

Wishing you all the best in 2012,


Jonathan Gudema, Esq.