By Jackie Jacobs
Planned giving is the process of making a charitable gift in a way that provides maximum benefit to the charity and the donor. Such gifts involve major assets and thus require thoughtful consideration. Making a well-planned gift can be challenging and somewhat time-consuming. It can also be one of life’s most satisfying experiences. Here are four steps to guide you in making a fulfilling planned gift.
Ponder. Consider what you would like to accomplish with your gift. What is your purpose? Why do you want to make the gift? Explore your motivations and expectations. Review your assets, especially those that have appreciated in value. What can you afford to give without jeopardizing retirement and emergency needs? Consider your family and other obligations.
Do you need lifetime income from your gift? Do you need tax relief? Do you want to create a legacy through an endowment fund?
Mull all of this over and jot down key thoughts. Good planning begins with unhurried reflection, creative thinking, and goal setting.
Learn. The second step is to gather information and advice. Contact the charities you care about and request literature. Better yet, invite a planned giving officer to come and visit you. Share your ponderings and let the representative outline a gift arrangement that helps you meet your objectives.
Once you have acquired an understanding of the gift vehicles and have satisfied yourself that it fits in your plans, seek the counsel of a trusted advisor. This is especially important with sizable gifts and complicated arrangements.
When you have obtained the information you need and feel comfortable with a decision to proceed, move to the next step and ….
Act. Following through to actually make a planned gift can be the hardest part of the process, especially when the gift is irrevocable. The thought of giving up a cherished asset can also cause hesitation.
Whatever your situation, the action step will come easier if you have taken the time to ponder carefully your objectives and have acquired sufficient knowledge to know that the gift arrangement is good. The act of giving a well-planned gift can be exhilarating.
Notify. Once you complete your planned gift, consider notifying the charity. Of course, the charity will already know of your largesse if you included it in the “Ponder” and “Learn” phases. But if your beneficiaries are not yet aware of your planned gift, let them know.
The reason gift notification is important – and brings closure to your gift plan – is that it permits the charity to respond to you with appropriate recognition. Also, knowing that a planned gift has been made helps them look ahead in their planning and projections. A further reason is the positive effect this news has on others who may be considering a planned gift to the charity.
Would you like to make a planned gift? I encourage you to ponder the possibilities. Learn all you can from a planned giving specialist and your trusted advisors.
Armed with sufficient information and a sense of rightness, make your gift confidently and joyfully. And then, if the beneficiaries don’t already know, tell them the good news. Let them honor you for your generosity, foresight, and encouragement.
Article appears as originally published in the Ohio Jewish Chronicle, Thursday September 8, 2016.
Jackie Jacobs is the Chief Executive Officer of the Columbus Jewish Foundation, the Central Ohio Jewish community’s planned giving and endowment headquarters.