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by Peter Szostak, CPA, MBA - Audit Manager

  Print Version

With the economic recovery in full swing, overall charitable giving in the United States increased by 4.9% from 2012 to 2013, according to the 2013 Charitable Giving Report. This was the largest year-over-year increase in overall charitable giving since the recession. With stock markets at all-time highs and uncertainty of future estate tax exemptions and rates, now is a great time for not-for-profits to add an estate or planned giving element to their overall fundraising program.

According to The Fundraising Authority, here are several facts to consider when developing a planned giving program:

  1. The average age of someone who makes their first charitable bequest commitment is 40-50.
  2. Bequests are the major gift of the middle class.
  3. Those without children are far more likely to make a planned gift.
  4. High-income women are more likely than men to use complex gift planning tools.
  5. Only 5.3% of those over 50 have made a charitable bequest commitment.
  6. 33% of Americans are willing to consider a charitable bequest.
  7. Once donors name a charity in their will, they almost never remove it.
  8. Among those over 30, only 22% say they have been asked for a planned gift.
  9. Using a challenge grant for a planned gift appeal can create urgency leading to action.

Planned giving programs can offer an excellent return for relatively little cost or upfront investment, as planned gifts tend to be of much larger size than regular donations. For organizations that do not want to implement a program in-house, independent contractors can be utilized to spearhead a new program. Many times these contractors will work on a commission basis, so there are little or no upfront costs to an organization.

Once a non-profit has established a planned giving program, they should be sure to advertise the existence of the program. Planned giving information should be on the organization’s website, included in newsletters, and mentioned on reply devices (i.e. “Check here to receive information on how to support our organization through a planned gift”). The more potential donors are reminded that an organization is seeking a planned gift, the more likely they will be to make them.


If you have any questions regarding the article above or any other issue affecting your not-for-profit organization please contact your Blue & Co. advisor or e-mail us at or call us at 800-717-BLUE


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CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: To ensure compliance with recently-enacted U.S. Treasury Department Regulations, we are now required to advise you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including any attachments, is not intended or written by us to be used, and cannot be used, by anyone for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed by the federal government or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.


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