The Ripple Effects of a Planned Giving Heart

The Ripple Effects of a Planned Giving Heart

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve just driven three hours through the frozen heartland of Illinois to pay my last respects to someone who has recently passed away.  It is sunny on what should be a dark day, but my drive has given me the opportunity to reflect on my 30 plus year relationship with the family that I am about to visit.  This day, unlike so many others I have shared with the family, will be a sad one.  I must say goodbye to someone who has shared his generosity and wisdom with me and has left an indelible mark on my life.  It has been a privilege to be present in the life of this family and, now, in the passing of their loved one. This privilege is not lost on me.  As a planned giving officer, I get to serve as a conduit and catalyst for the amazing philanthropic endeavors of those with whom I work.  In doing so, I get to connect with incredible people and benefit immeasurably from their giving, not only as I gain a deeper understanding of their giving goals but also the fabric of life that holds us all together.  Nonprofits do an excellent job of promoting how planned gifts, and their donors, achieve amazing results in saving and changing the lives of the recipients of  philanthropic gifting.  While planned gifts are often associated with tax planning, they still come with a story.  There is a nature behind planned givers better seen as givers who are thoughtful about how their lives can touch the lives of others through their acts.  Those who...
Support Your Favorite Nonprofit in a Particularly Meaningful Way!

Support Your Favorite Nonprofit in a Particularly Meaningful Way!

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower A little planning can go a long way.  Did you know that making a planned gift will not only help ensure the health of the organizations you support long into the future but can also provide benefits to you? What exactly is planned giving?  And, how can you benefit from it? In short, a planned gift is the type of gift that requires a little more thought than simply writing a check or processing a credit card.  It’s a gift, as the name implies, that you’ve planned for – you’ve given consideration about from where and how the gift will be received. The great thing about planned giving is that it allows you to give wisely and take advantage of tax strategies and giving vehicles that provide benefit to you while at the same time maximize the amount of charitable dollars that can benefit an organization. Planned giving can come in many forms and fall under three general categories. Outright gifts: One of the most basic and common is a gift of appreciated stock or securities that allow you to pass on the gains to your favorite organization.  Making a charitable gift of appreciated stock that you’ve held for a year or more saves you the tax burden as you avoid realizing the capital gains, yet still allows you to deduct the current value of the stock if you itemize.   Gifts that return income: Other types of planned gifts can be set up to provide a stream of income either to you or the organization you choose to support. ...
Strategic Planning and Development: Marital Bliss or Shotgun Wedding?

Strategic Planning and Development: Marital Bliss or Shotgun Wedding?

When your nonprofit organization’s CEO says “Do you take this strategic plan to have and to hold?,” can you say “I do!” with conviction? Being called upon to fund strategies that did not fully consider donors and development is justifiably every fundraiser’s nightmare. There should be a symbiosis between an organization’s strategic plans and its fundraising expectations, but that’s not always the case. Using real-world, cautionary tales of planning processes that succeeded or went awry and how fundraisers responded, this session equips organization executives, board members and development leaders with the perspective they need to ensure that strategic plans drive fundraising success – and vice versa. Join us for this free, 2-hour seminar, May 14, 9:00 am – 11:00 am presented by Doug Diefenbach, Principal, Diefenbach Communications Strategies Forefront, 208 South LaSalle Street, #1540  Chicago, IL Click here to reserve your spot today!  Doug Diefenbach is an accomplished consultant with special expertise in the area of nonprofit and philanthropic marketing. For more than 30 years, in both executive and consulting roles, he has helped a wide range of organizations to develop, meet and exceed their goals for strategic alignment, brand visibility, constituent engagement and philanthropic...
Tzedakah, Sadaka, Dāna, Charity: Traditions in Giving

Tzedakah, Sadaka, Dāna, Charity: Traditions in Giving

Over the past 10 days Jews around the world, myself included, observed the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. During these days, I along with countless others, turned our thoughts towards Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and Tzedakah (charity). Between the trio of powerful hurricanes that ripped through the Caribbean and the southeastern United States, powerful earthquakes devastating neighboring Mexico, and the ongoing struggles of poverty, poaching, and refugees in central Africa, there is no shortage of need around the world. As I reflected on my own faith traditions of helping those in need, I was prompted to think about what other faith traditions say about charitable giving, especially during their highest holy days. Uniting Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism (amongst other things) is charitable giving. Here are some thoughts on charitable giving from these traditions: For Christians, the role of charity is first built on teachings in the Hebrew Bible. However, in addition to Hebrew teachings of performing mitzvahs are lessons in the New Testament. Jesus’s parables and actions also speak to the morality of charitable sentiments. The Gospel of Luke, for example, notes “love thy neighbor as thyself” and asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” The lesson is that we are interconnected, everyone is my neighbor and thus all should be considered.    Buddhists also see the interdependence of all things and have an awareness of the helplessness of those less fortunate. Practicing selflessness in this way is thought to increase one’s own merit and is also seen as an antidote to greed. Giving is an expression of the natural qualities of kindness and compassion....
Engaging Your Donors for Life-Long Giving

Engaging Your Donors for Life-Long Giving

In our ongoing effort to help make planned giving more accessible, collaborative and beneficial for charities, we hosted a workshop led by fundraising expert Laura Kaufman. The fourth in our series of free seminars and workshops, Engaging Your Donors for Life-Long Giving, invited Chicago-area nonprofits to learn about strategies and tactics for engaging donors over a long time horizon. Laura covered three major areas with us: The Individual Donor (ID) Marketplace. What is Engagement and Why Does It Matter? Driving Donor Engagement. State of Giving: National and Chicago Area Trends Nonprofits are experiencing more giving than ever before. In each category, numbers are on the rise, year over year. According to Giving USA’s report, giving by bequest is up 2.1%, giving my individuals is up 3.8% and total giving has increased 4.4%. The next question is, where is the money going?  This chart from Giving USA breaks it down nicely. Drilling down to the specific Chicago area market, the Chicago Community Trust shared some interesting data. Compared to a national average of 59%, 73% of Chicagoans give to charity. 49% of Chicago households volunteer and 78% of dollars donated by Chicagoans stay in the region. What is Engagement: Often overlooked, donor engagement is absolutely critical for the long-term health of an organization. While nonprofit fundraisers are busy managing many initiatives for their organization, donor engagement must be the core of their day-to-day. Research shows doing so will make capital and annual giving campaigns go more smoothly, netting better results. The donor engagement cycle can be broken down into these simple components: Recruit/Inspire, Learn, Engage, Ask, Thank, Repeat, Upgrade and...