planned giving

Largest Single Gift – $6.24 Million – to Henry Street Settlement

This very nice woman was a legal secretary until age 96 – probably never someone who stood out for fundraisers to fawn over.  (CLICK HERE OR THE PICTURE TO SEE THE STORY IN THE NEW YORK TIMES)

Yet, she just left close to $9 million to fund scholarships, with the Henry Street Settlement receiving $6.24 million, their largest single gift (probably by far) via a charitable bequest (i.e. one of the many unknown planned giving donors who quietly make a huge impact after their lives).

Check your nonprofit org’s records.  Who’s made the 5 largest gifts to the institution?

I would be surprised if bequests or other planned giving options don’t comprise at least 4 out of your top 5.

Fundraisers and heads of nonprofits – take note! Sylvia Bloom – the woman in the picture – actually left most of her estate to be used for scholarships at the discretion of her niece (who happens to be on the board of the Henry Street Settlement)!

Sylvia and her niece are both incredible people.  But, just think about this. What if Sylvia had been one of your long term direct mail donors – I am guessing that she supported plenty of charities during her life.

Imagine if your org had any planned giving efforts – maybe planned giving newsletters or other marketing that encouraged Sylvia to consider your organization as a recipient of her legacy giving.  Then image if your organization didn’t do anything in planned giving.

Think about the missed opportunity.  Sylvia probably didn’t receive much direct planned giving content and opted to allow her niece full discretion over her legacy.

For nonprofits in America who been around awhile (15 or more years) to not engage in any meaningful planned giving efforts is just irresponsible.

The country is aging fast. Your data base is probably aging faster.  Planned giving is really the only sensible way to make sure your institution has a decent chance to share in estates like Sylvia’s.

So where do you start?  Check out our Planned Giving Boot Camp 6-part webinar crash course by CLICKING HERE.

Or, our Summer 2018 line up of training programs! CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE

Ok, so I have to plug more courses at any chance I have.  Seriously, these courses are all designed to put immediately useful tools and ideas into your hands. You’ll learn about creating your own Legacy Opener (patent pending;). I’ll tell you which planned giving marketing options work and which don’t!  Which vehicles are appropriate and which are not!  And, not too much on the technical end!

Thank you for making it to the end of this post!  I wonder how many readers actually get this far!

 

 

Tax Bill Imminent – Time to Take Action?

Image result for musical chairs winners losersThere still needs to be some negotiations between the House and Senate to come up with a final bill but they are pretty close. My accountant even told me to make sure I pay up my back state taxes owed since 2017 is probably the last year I can deduct them.

Ok – for Nonprofits – what is the bottom line?  Anything terrible? Any advice for our donors?  Good, bad or ugly for planned giving?

CLICK HERE TO SEE AN EXCELLENT FORBES ARTICLE GOING THROUGH THE VARIOUS PROVISION BY THE TAX GIRL BLOGGER (KELLY PHILLIPS ERB)

Here is my take on a few provisions that might be relevant to nonprofits:

  1. The “standard deduction” is definitely going up – probably doubling. As a head of household, I will get around a $24,000 standard deduction.  Seeing that I will still get the mortgage interest deduction as well as up to a $10,000 deduction on my real estate tax, I probably will still be an itemizer.  In other words, donors who have significant expenses like mine will likely not be impacted. My verdict: no impact on nonprofit fundraising.
  2. 529 plan expansion –  Under the House bill, parents may set up 529 plans for unborn children. Additionally, up to $10,000 per year of plan funds could be used for private elementary and secondary school expenses. Under the Senate bill, 529 savings plans could be used for public, private and religious elementary and secondary schools, as well as home school students. My verdict: might be very good for private schools – families with extra funds will be encouraged to park large sums in 529 plans to be used throughout private elementary and college years as a tax-free (on growth) fund.  No impact on fundraising that I can see unless people tell you that they are funding 529 plans instead of giving you charitable gifts.
  3. Estate tax repeal – Under the House plan, the federal estate tax would be phased out and completely disappear after 2024. Under the Senate plan, the federal estate tax would remain, but the exemption for federal estate and gift tax would double.  In other words, we will have an estate tax, just applying to even less people. My verdict: not great for planned gifts like Lead Trusts which are driven by estate tax avoidance but no impact on planned giving as a whole or other vehicles.
  4. Excise tax on big University Endowment Investment Income – Under House proposal, private universities with assets of more than $100,000 per student will pay a 1.4% excise tax on their net investment income. Small colleges will be exempt from the tax.  Not sure how the Senate addressed this issue but I suspect it won’t end up in the final bill.  For some reason it was not brought up in the Forbes article, it only impacts the biggest private schools (around 100 of them). My verdict: not sure.

I have been through too many “feared” tax law adjustments to be overly concerned about the impact on nonprofit fundraising. Since they are not tampering with the charitable income tax deduction, my hope is that those who benefit from the changes will be give more to nonprofits.

Still, there’s a lot of musical chairs scrambling going on here (fooling around with tax code under the current condition that is must be revenue neutral means there has to be winners and losers) so we won’t know the impact of the law for years to come.

 

It’s started…..

Tax reform – yikes! Always supposed to simplify but always ends up being more complicated!

If you are a nonprofit/fundraiser, you should be concerned. Presidential proposals in the past have been very frightening to nonprofits who rely mainly on tax deductible gifts. So, what are we facing?

  1. Firstly, we are a long way from anything actually happening but we do have some details on the Administration’s’ proposed plans.
  2. Good news – It’s official – the income tax deduction isn’t being tampered with.
  3. Not sure news – the standard deduction would jump a lot (ie… 2016 for married joint return is $12,600 – would jump to $24,000). In other words, many more people will no longer “itemize” on their tax returns – maybe this deincentivizes those from giving because their gifts no longer get them a cash rebate?  More on this below.
  4. Also not sure news – no more death tax.  Ha ha. Last time a president fulfilled his promise to eliminate the estate tax (2001), he actually increased it in many places and it almost swung back to huge rates in 2011. In any case, the roller coaster years of ending estate tax to the snap back year to a decent fix actually didn’t impact planned giving numbers! I don’t think there will be an impact on bequest dollars to charities but I do think I may be very busy dealing with whatever cockamanie scheme they come up with (ie…return of carry-over basis 🙂

Back to #3 – I already saw a Forbes article claiming that the increase in the standard deduction “could decimate charitable giving.” Click here for that article but please read my response!

I totally disagree with that article’s point.

Here is another quote from the article:

The House tax reform blueprint said that a $24,000 standard deduction for joint filers would reduce the percentage of American taxpayers who itemize and take the charitable deduction from 25% (one out of four taxpayers) to 5% (one out of 20).”

Sounds catastrophic except for the fact that most charities receive 80% or more of their fundraising dollars from the top 20% echelon of their donors – and those 20% will likely continue to itemize.  Trust me, your major gift donors have more than $24,000 in itemized deductions! I have way more than that!!! (and I’m not anywhere near being a major gift donor – nowhere near it in fact;(

Anyway, take a look at these charts from my training programs:

One Day Boot Camp - AM Session 1 Introduction and OverviewOne Day Boot Camp - AM Session 1 Introduction and Overview 2

Americans give consistently – regardless.  2% of disposable personal – 2% of the economy.  The dips happen when people are poorer – not upset about taxes.  SO, the administration argument that people doing better in general is better for nonprofit fundraising is TRUE!!!!  Put more money in their pockets and they will give more.  This next slide on total US giving – inflation adjusted since 1975 – makes that point especially in light of the above slides. Giving over those years just went up and up but the percentages of disposable wealth and GDP stayed flat!!

One Day Boot Camp - AM Session 1 Introduction and Overview 3

Ok, so how could charities get hurt by the increase of the standard deduction? Well, older people might be impacted who don’t have all of the deductions that younger folks have.  They may start getting less benefit from their charitable giving – that is true.

Ah, older meaning age 70.5 and up – just happens that at that age, you are eligible to make direct IRA rollover gifts – no taxes.  This is already a great deal for seniors who don’t itemize and if this change happens, you need to step up the IRA rollover marketing!

Maybe we can convince the government to allow direct rollover IRA giving from age 59.5!! That would be really cool.

We’ve just begun with the big tax changes. Stay tuned!

Watch Free Webinar on the Great Wealth Transfer

 

Check out this free webinar on the Great Wealth Transfer!  (NOTE: the first minute or two didn’t get recorded but it picks up on the first slide)

If you have any interest in receiving a copy of the actual powerpoint (with slide data accessible) please email me at jonathan@plannedgivingadvisors.com.

Also, don’t forget to check out our summer planned giving training programs!

The Planned Giving Boot Camp (starts July 12th)

Beyond the Planned Giving Boot Camp (part II of the Boot Camp) (starts July 20th)

Thank you as always for checking out our programs!