Simple: Bequests

I ended my last blog post on a cliff-hanger, saying that I would reveal what the 99% of the nonprofits without a designated planned giving officer can do to bring in planned gifts.

My first answer is to focus on bequests. My second answer is to focus on bequests. And my third answer is – stay tuned for my next post about the more sophisticated mechanisms. Continue reading

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The Big Deal About Planned Giving

For a small place, my home state of New Hampshire puts up some pretty impressive numbers.

For example, we have 424 members in our state legislature, the fourth-largest English-speaking legislative body in the world, smaller only than the U.S. Congress and the Parliaments of Great Britain and India. Given that our population is only 1.2 million (for the record, that’s 1/1000 of India’s), that means that we more or less have a representative on every block. Sometimes, two.

Similarly, this small state has over 8,400 nonprofits, of which about 1,600 are viable entities with budgets of over $100,000 and at least one paid staff member. And of these 1,600 viable nonprofits, there are fewer than a dozen that have staff members whose title includes the term “planned giving.” Continue reading

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An Approach to Funding That Might Actually Work

As you may know, I’m a bit of a skeptic about the efficacy of traditional endowments. In an earlier blog post, “THIS is the Rainy Day,” I urged nonprofits with endowments to increase their spending rate in tough times and down markets, rather than following the common wisdom and lowering their annual draw (and fiscally starving themselves in the process). My point was: There are needs now. Let’s fix them. Let’s spend a bit more from the endowments today to prevent chronic problems from continuing tomorrow. And then we can then go out and raise new funds to build up our capital. Continue reading

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A Trail Goes Cold

So these two guys walk into a bar.

Actually, I was one of them. It was the end of a conference in Minneapolis last fall, and I had to kill time (and find food) while I was waiting for a colleague to finish a meeting. So I grabbed lunch at a bar and struck up a conversation with the guy next to me.

He and I really hit it off. We talked movies, politics, and books. Lunch passed quickly. At the end we shared what we did for work. When he said he was a criminal lawyer, he saw me do a bit of a double-take. (He seemed used to that reaction.) So he said, in an obviously practiced response: “Remember: criminal lawyers are civil. Civil lawyers are criminal.”

A good line, with all due apologies to you civil lawyers out there.

So here’s my parallel reminder when thinking about charitable foundations: Private foundations are public. Public foundations are private. Continue reading

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