Astounding Facts About Estate Giving

Because August is “Make A Will” month, I’ve been writing each week about how you can encourage your donors to designate your nonprofit in their will.

Last week I focused on the importance of using phrases that work better than our industry estate-giving language.

Now, I’d like to convey certain facts that can guide you to raising more planned-giving revenue.

Astounding Facts

  1. The most common type of planned gifts are “bequests,” which are gifts made through a will or trust.

    More than 85% of planned gifts are bequests. Other types of planned gifts include IRA designations, life insurance gifts, charitable lead trusts, and more, but none of them are as easy or impactful as gifts made through a will or trust.

    Therefore, focus your efforts on asking donors to designate your agency in their will.

  2. One of the biggest barriers to securing planned gifts is that many people don’t have a will or any estate planning at all.

    Fewer than 50% of baby boomers have a will, and less than 40% of parents have one.

    The top reason people haven’t made a will is simply: “I haven’t gotten around to it.” This is a huge opportunity to help your supporters understand why creating a will is important and how they can use it to generously support the causes they care about, like yours.

  3. People who plan to leave bequests increase their annual giving by an average of 75% in subsequent years.

    The takeaway is that planned-giving donors are loyal to your nonprofit, and in an age when donor retention is in free-fall, that alone is an astounding fact!

    Further, in the next two decades baby boomers will leave behind $30 trillion in assets. This is the largest wealth transfer in human history and may be the biggest opportunity for philanthropy in the history of the world.

    Planned giving generates about $40 billion for nonprofits each year — an amount expected to double in the next decade based on changing demographics.

  4. People who don’t have children and have given steadily to your agency are more likely to respond to a planned-giving appeal.

    All of your supporters have the potential to make planned gifts, but research shows that a few attributes make someone more likely to support your organization in their estate: not having children and having a long history of giving to you. Yet organizations also frequently receive planned gifts from people who have never donated before, so it’s wise to cast a broad net.

  5. Planned gifts are significant.

    Bequests are up to 1,000 times larger than a donor’s typical donation. The average bequest on FreeWill.com is $78,000, often from middle-class donors.

Use This Sentence

Here’s a simple sentence that you can use with your donors:

I hereby give, devise, and bequeath $_____ or_____% of the net proceeds after my estate is settled, to [Insert your nonprofit’s name], Federal Tax ID number [insert your nonprofit’s FTID], located at [insert your nonprofit’s mailing address], for its general use and purpose.

For more information, contact Executive Director [insert name and contact info] or Advancement Officer [insert name and contact info].

Don’t Believe Me?

By now you know that I’m a huge fan of FreeWill.com. In fact, you can read FreeWill’s second annual Planned Giving Report, which analyzes data from more than 80,000 wills created with their free online tool during the past year. In this in-depth report, the site highlights trends across age, gender, marital status, geography, and other key metrics like pet ownership. Also included is a brand-new section detailing the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on planned gifts.

Please share this post with a colleague who may appreciate it. 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Posts

Paying for Fundraising

Paying for Fundraising—Fast, Cheap, and Good?

Many nonprofit executives still struggle with how to pay for fundraising. That’s a shame because fundraising done well pays for itself. Yet the dilemma is real and persistent. Below I suggest a few ways to break out of this impasse.

Read More »
Direction

What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There

A $5 million award letter arrived from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an historic moment in the 15-year-old nonprofit’s existence. They had arrived. Their mission is to build bathrooms in rural schools in the poorest areas to meet children’s basic hygiene needs. It’s a transformative service.

Read More »

5 Common (Easily Preventable!) Mistakes Nonprofits Make with Data

Years ago I was introduced to an adage that has been largely attributed as being an old Chinese Proverb, indifferent to its origin the meaning is still sound. It says, “The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, the next best time is today.”

During Q&A sessions in speeches or panels I often get asked by #nonprofits when should we start collecting #data? I share that adage with them. We just went through Giving Tuesday and aside from end-of-year fundraising, this is where we see a lot of nonprofits make mistakes with their data.

This article highlights five of the biggest issues we see nonprofits encounter with their data.

Read More »