What You Should Know About Planned Giving

The questions in this post are answered by by Jessica Chapman, the National Director of Planned Giving with The ALS Association. She oversees the planned giving department and focuses on donor relations and marketing. Having worked in gift planning since 2009, Jessica enjoys connecting donors and their advisors with gift options that best meet their needs.

What is planned giving?

Planned Giving is a way to make a gift to your favorite charity through your financial and/or estate plan.

What are the most common methods of planned giving?

Majority of planned gifts are made through a will or living trust. Beneficiaries, both charitable and individuals, can be remembered through a fixed amount or percentage, to a specific property or as a contingent beneficiary.

Another method that is becoming more popular is a beneficiary designation to an account, policy or appreciated asset. Examples include: Individual Retirement Account (IRA), life insurance policy or stock. This is an attractive way to make a planned gift because it usually doesn’t involve visiting an attorney.

Lastly, there are planned gift options that provide significant tax advantages and income for either a term of years or for life. The most common options in this category is a Charitable Gift Annuity, which can easily be established with The ALS Association, or a Charitable Remainder Trust, which is more complex and requires an attorney but can provide many benefits, depending on your situation.

Who can be a part of planned giving? What qualifications do donors need in order to participate?

Anyone with a desire to leave their mark on the future can make a planned gift. Some folks may feel they are too young, too old, or simply don’t have enough to make a planned gift with but this is untrue. There are many planned giving options that can fit your needs and help you accomplish your goals.

What are the first steps someone should take if they’re interested in planned giving?

Contact your favorite charity to discuss your interest in a planned gift. A representative will develop gift options for you to consider, based on your conversation. Share these options with your family and your professional advisor or attorney, who can help you decide if they work for you.

Depending on your interest, you may need to create or update your financial and/or estate plans. The ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter can help you get organized and a professional advisor or attorney can help you establish your plans.

When is the best time to consider planned giving?

A planned gift can be considered at any time but usually occurs when someone creates or updates their financial and/or estate plans. Some of the reasons to create or update your plans include marriage, divorce, retirement, birth of a grandchild or a significant illness.

What are some of the reasons people participate in planned giving?

The motivation is different for everyone, but the one underlying reason is the desire to make a lasting impact on a cause you’re passionate about. Other reasons may include saving on taxes and/or receiving income.

How is planned giving different from other types of giving?

Planned giving involves more time, thought and planning than an outright or annual gift. An outright or annual gift is meant to meet a current need. A planned gift is meant to invest in the future of a charity’s mission.

How are gifts received through planned giving spent?

Every charity is different when it comes to spending planned giving dollars. At The ALS Association St. Louis Chapter, if a planned gift has been restricted to a specific use, and the Association can honor the restriction, the gift will go to that use. If a planned gift has been left unrestricted, it will be invested to further our mission to discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest. We encourage you to contact us if you have a specific interest in how you want your gift to be used.

Why is planned giving important?

Planned Giving can have a significant impact on the donor and the charity. For the donor, it provides an opportunity to leave a lasting impact on their favorite charity’s mission with a gift. It may also provide tax benefits and/or increase income to the donor, depending on the planned gift type.

For the charity, it strengthens and advances the mission, especially during economic hardships when donations tend to decrease. 

If you wish to learn more about what a planned gift could do for you and for The ALS Association St. Louis Chapter, we encourage you to contact us or visit our website. All information provided is for educational purposes only and there is no obligation to make a gift.

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