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Planned Giving Marketing

  • Don’t Keep Them Bottled Up! Gifts of Appreciated Stuff Are Much Appreciated

    By Viken Mikaelian

    Some of you who never read Forbes Magazine might think it’s just a stuffy business periodical, but how stuffy can a magazine really be when it runs an article celebrating “investment-grade” Scotch whiskey, as Forbes recently did?

    Sounds whimsical, but it’s for real. And with dollar values per fifth reaching five and six figures, what nonprofit wouldn’t appreciate a gift of such a very special bottle of booze? Continue reading

  • It’s Not Over When It’s Over! Fundraisers Respond to “2013: What to Tell Your Prospects”

    By Viken Mikaelian

    We hoped to reach out to the fundraising community with helpful news and analysis about the recent tax law changes, and informed opinion about what might be coming in 2013. Webinar attendees said we were exceptional, and many stayed overtime with their questions.

    Though that’s not really a surprise, of course...

    Continue reading

  • Beneficiary Designations? Better Ask About the Donor-Advised Fund.

    By Brian M. Sagrestano, JD, CFRE

    Due to the recent  uncertainty about whether the government would limit income tax charitable deduction as part of its effort to raise tax revenues, many high-net worth donors have made very significant additions to their donor-advised funds.

    These donor-advised funds, particularly the ones at Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard are now some of the largest charities in the world by capitalization.
    Continue reading

  • The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 Its Impact on Charitable Giving

    By Brian M. Sagrestano, JD, CFRE

    On January 1, 2013, the Congress passed the bi-partisan, 157-page American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

    This new law makes permanent several expiring tax provisions passed in 2001 and 2003 and includes a wide variety of other provisions, including “tax-extenders” (tax code rules that are usually re-authorized on a regular basis but not made permanent).

    The Act does not renew a temporary payroll tax “holiday” for earners. This means that most working Americans will see a 2% decrease in take-home pay starting with their first paycheck in 2013.

    You should be aware The Affordable Care Act of 2010 also imposes new taxes to help offset healthcare cost increases. Its significant provisions are also noted below.

    Continue reading

  • Here's What To Tell Your Prospects in January...

    • The Mayan Calendar predicts that the world will come to an end before December 25, 2012.
    • The U.S. Congressional Calendar predicts that philanthropic incentives may be legislated out of existence sometime soon.

    Sure -- somebody somewhere always thinks the world is coming to an end. But when the government starts playing around with the philanthropic benefits that donors can take to the bank, fundraisers tend to take it personally. Should we be concerned that there may be some unwelcome taxes or other legislation in our future?

    Our take is: Fundraisers with their hair on fire don't close gifts. We have better alternatives. Continue reading

  • Learn to Love Work -- or Else

    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

    Thomas Edison

    Have you got a problem with work? If so, you can cancel your career right now. Because without commitment and activity and shoe leather, you’ll miss every opportunity.

    Continue reading

  • Year-End Giving 2012

    With the presidential election behind us and the status quo retained, what does this mean for charitable giving as we approach year-end?

    Over the last three months, this was the number one question on people’s minds – “What happens if after the election, we have the same parties in control of the House, Senate and Presidency? After all, there were lots of tax reform proposals out there during the campaign and we are about to go over the ‘Fiscal Cliff.’”

    While we don’t have a crystal ball, we are certain about three things which should shape how you approach year-end 2012 and the start of 2013. Continue reading

  • Upcoming Tax Law Changes -- What to Do?

    QUESTION: What message should I send to my donors regarding the upcoming tax law changes?
    I think that the issue is whether clients want to offer a broader base of information to their donors rather than just telling them all of the ways they can support the client’s mission (which, presumably, they do on a regular basis anyway). It comes down to the role the charity wants to take in the donors’ lives. No, we can’t predict what’s going to happen, but the headlines are now ALL about the fiscal cliff, AMT, Boehner and Reid in possible compromise mode, etc. I would think donors would be pleased to see that their charities are offering some information that tries to clarify why this discussion is happening in the first place, but that will depend on the donors and the charity’s philosophy about how it can serve its donors. I think you know my view – that it is a nice thing to be as helpful to donors as possible, and if that means that I give them the information that helps them decide whether to consult their attorney this year (to make a large gift while there’s still a huge exemption), then that engenders good feelings by the donor, and that donor will be more likely to remember that later when she’s doing her charitable planning.
    So, it seems to me that the choices are:
    1. Say nothing and just wait until Congress acts, if ever. The problem with this is that donors may have already gone to other charitable sites and read a bit as they try to figure out what they should do before December 31. When a new law hits later this year, that donor is probably most likely to go back to the same websites with the thought that if the charity was on top of it in November, it will be first out of the gate to explain new law.
    2. Say “we don’t know, but here’s what will happen if Congress doesn’t act,” and then promise to offer something when a new law is passed (if ever). I think it shows that the charity cares about its donors – not just about the charitable gifts coming in the door. And I think that can help donors trust the charity and feel really good about it. In my view, it can never hurt to offer helpful information. In this case, any married couple earning over $70,700 will see an increase in their income tax rate on January 1 if nothing happens. My guess is that that income level is a very, very large part of the population that has capacity to engage in philanthropy.
    I vote for #2, but that’s my (and my charity’s) philosophy.
    So, my view is that the uncertainty actually gives the clients an opportunity to (1) show that they care about the “whole” donor, not just the donor’s philanthropy, and (2) speak to their donors two times before the end of the year, hopefully with a happy announcement before December 31 (but who knows?!).


    What message should I send to my donors regarding the upcoming tax law changes?

    Continue reading

  • Can Your Prospects Find You?

    by Viken Mikaelian

    Let’s say one of your constituents wants to know more about planned giving. Where do they start?

    Continue reading

  • Postal Mail or Email?

    By Viken Mikaelian

    email versus mail in planned givingIf my postal mailbox in front of my house resembled my inbox in Microsoft Outlook, it would be the size of a tractor trailer.  And don’t even ask about the number of items in my trash folder.

    I hear it all the time from nonprofits: electronic mail delivery is it… it is cheaper and faster and the wave of the future.  Flood prospects with enough messaging and they will get your point, right?  Wrong. Continue reading

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