What Happens at the Intersection of Major and Planned Gifts?

Uncategorized Sep 18, 2020

Organizations define the term “major gift” by an arbitrary dollar amount, set for their own convenience.  Planned gifts are defined by a gift vehicle.  But neither is correct from a donor’s point of view. In fact, from the donor’s perspective, both of those constructs are irrelevant to him or her.


From the donor’s point of view, the asset he or she gives philanthropically, whether cash or real estate or stock, is the important factor.  Why would s/he give this asset and what does it accomplish? Without understanding why he or she gives, and what he or she will give, the two functions of the development office cannot be blended successfully. 


When an organization creates a major gift level, such as $5,000 or $50,000, or any other dollar amount, it has failed to realize what is a major gift to that donor based on his or her level of wealth.


When the same organization sets up a planned giving program, it is assumed that the gifts produced are in the form of a gift structure, such as a charitable remainder trust or a gift annuity. 


But neither the strategy nor gift vehicle is the gift.  The gift will be the asset given.


That is the very essence of Asset-based Philanthropy. The wealth of donors is not their cash in a bank account, it is in their ownership of assets.  As a donor’s net worth increases, the share of that wealth held in cash decreases.


Note that all planned gifts, almost entirely of assets, are, in fact, major gifts.  Note also that all major gifts, whether of cash or assets are in fact planned.  So, why not change the paradigm?


That is what we teach at Plain English Planned Giving.  Seamless and frictionless Asset-based Philanthropy that works for both the donor and the donee.  Take a look at our curriculum and see for yourself.  Read what our students say about the program.

Read here