PG Calc Featured Articles

Planned Giving Marketing and the Novel Coronavirus

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is spreading like wildfire around the globe, unsettling the stock market and causing operational disruptions to industries of every description. High schools and colleges are sending students home for the remainder of the term. Social distancing and self-quarantine are being applied by health officials. Millions of Americans are living in uncertainty and fear of what will come next.

So… Is now a good time to send that next direct mail postcard on CGAs or QCDs? Yes!

Gifts of Appreciated Securities in Today's Economy

We noted 2019’s phenomenal stock market performance in the February 2020 edition of PG Calc’s eRate newsletter. The S&P 500 Price index returned 33.07% in 2019 if you include dividend reinvestment. Stock in Axsome Therapeutics, the maker of the common anti-depressant Wellbutrin, gained an astounding 3,578%!

Bequest Commitments - Don't Make It a "Hail Mary" Ask

A question for gift officers – “how much preparation goes into asking a donor for a bequest commitment?” Do you engage in the same strategic planning process you would before asking for a major gift? In many cases, a realized bequest is at a major gift level and often exceeds the total lifetime giving of the deceased donor. Asking for a bequest commitment deserves the same strategic planning as a major gift ask.

Beware of "Quid Pro Quo"

Charitable gift planners take note: BEWARE OF QUID PRO QUO! Events in Washington these last few weeks have brought the term “quid pro quo” into the national conversation. However, the IRS has long recognized that there can be a quid pro quo in exchange for a charitable gift. There are strict regulations that govern situations where the donor receives a benefit (quid pro quo) in exchange for their charitable gift. The IRS can impose penalties against charities for violations of quid pro quo regulations and donors can find their charitable deduction in jeopardy- or worse in some instances. Donors should be made aware of these regulations to avoid donor relations issues when their gift substantiation receipt is not what they anticipated.

Identifying Gift Traps

The nature of planned gift fundraising (and sometimes outright giving as well) is that there are times when donors, gift plans, and assets present situations where there is little gift component. Even worse, some “gifts” create a net liability in terms of the asset or reputational damage. Nonetheless, there are danger signals that a gift may be problematic and procedures to prevent accepting gifts with traps.

Yes, Virginia, It’s True: There Can Be Life Income Gifts From IRAs (And Other Qualified Retirement Plans)

People to continue to ask, “can’t we establish a Gift Annuity with funds from an IRA?” The short answer is that you absolutely can, and can also establish a charitable remainder trust using money withdrawn from a qualified retirement plan.

Year-End Marketing Ideas

What are you planning for your year-end planned giving marketing campaign? It’s not too early to be solving this problem. While mailing to your donors is important year-round, the fall, before Thanksgiving, can be a particularly opportune time to communicate with donors. This is especially true for planned gifts, as many of these gifts are completed late in the year.

Donor Decisions Affected by Itemizing

Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was signed into law, much has been written about its effect on the number of U.S. taxpayers who will itemize their deductions. The new law, which became effective on January 1, 2018, made several changes that have greatly reduced the number of taxpayers who itemize. Among the most significant of these changes are a near doubling of the standard deduction, which is $24,400 for a married couple in 2019 (add another $2,600 if both spouses are over 65), and the limitation of the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) to $10,000. Estimates are that the number of itemizers for 2018 declined from 30% of taxpayers to just 12% of taxpayers.

Is Direct Mail Marketing Dead?

In today’s age of digital marketing, many so-called experts will tell you direct mail is dead. They call it “old school” and rant about ROI and low responses. They opine…

“Why spend money on copy, layout, printing, postage and mailing when most people are spending their time online.”

“It makes more sense to just advertise online.”

“Not only is it cheaper, but does anybody actually pay attention to ads in the mailbox these days?”

Don’t believe a word!