Who do you believe?

Take a quick look at this really cool info-graphic from Caring.com (clicking it will take you to their website).

I was just looking at GivingUSA’s special report “Leaving a Legacy: A New Look at Planned Giving Donors” – looking for something new to share with my blog readers – but all I found was data that seems to contradict what I have been saying for years (I typically quote Russell James based on his research and writing).

The GivingUSA report, based on interviews with some 8,000+ planned giving donors and prospects, was saying that over 90% of the respondents had wills and that people were writing their first wills at younger ages, etc…  Knowing that I couldn’t get back my $25 (I love GivingUSA and quote them extensively except I was not impressed with this new report), I did a quick google search and found this great info graphic – which totally contradicts the GivingUSA special report and confirms what Russell James has been saying for years (and, what I have seen in practice).

Baby Boomers are less likely to do standard wills and standard estate planning – if at all!

I see it all the time.  And, while the Boomers represent a huge planned giving opportunity (there are so many of them and they control so much $), this is a really practical issue for planned giving.

Wills are still the big $ source for planned gifts, but you need to get your PG educational apparatus focused on the importance of wills as well as beneficiary designations!

Do it yourself (DIY) will options are still not proven (GivingUSA confirms that and I agree with that assessment) – I will be writing more about that topic soon.  Boomers seem to believe less in dying and less in traditional estate plans – and this can be trouble for the Planned Giving world.

So, who do I believe?

Who should you believe?

I love showing data in my presentations – great launching points for presentations.  But, you always have to wonder if it is good data or skewed.  I think the GivingUSA special report on Planned Giving may have been skewed too heavy with actual planned giving donors and not the general public (where we need to find our new planned giving donors going forward).

I hope you are all having productive and safe covid 19 work days!



  1. It’s always healthy to question a report! The premise of the GIving USA report is that it was taken by people who are already in an organization’s legacy society, so they most likely already had a will. I think it’s more helpful regarding the long-term stewardship of the donors.

    And on another point: I’m wondering if the Caring.com’s findings are influenced by the prevalence of beneficiary designations, perhaps over the use of wills for assets.

  2. To quote Dolores Abernathy of Westworld, Season 1

    “Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world. The disarray. I choose to see the beauty. To believe there is an order to our days, a purpose.”

    Gift planners provide options and help people learn about strategic philanthropy. As long as people have assets, motivation and a desire to give to a greater good, we will have a purpose.

    Like Delores, I choose to see the beauty in our donors.

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