Tag Archives: charitable estate planning

THE SECOND QUESTION: Talking to Donors About Their Kids’ Inheritance

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The first question about how much parents will need for the rest of their lives is not that difficult. The second question about children’s inheritance is often more complex because it’s not just a matter of how much we can give, but how much we should give and when. Below are a few thoughts on what to say and what not to say in a planned giving conversation about transferring wealth to the next generation. Continue reading

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FUNDRAISERS AS MATCHMAKERS: Getting Donors to Fall in Love with Your Organization

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Fundraisers are a lot like professional matchmakers. They regularly introduce eligible people to their organizations, point out all the most admirable qualities, and hope those potential donors will fall in love and begin lifelong relationships. If they can win hearts and minds to their causes, the money will follow. So, how do fundraisers get donors to fall in love with the organizations they represent? Continue reading

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SOLICITING MEMORIALS: Understanding the Need to Give in the Wake of Tragedy

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Sheryl and I lost our only grandchild ten years ago this month. In the aftermath, our family made an unprecedented memorial gift. The great fundraising lesson from our greatest loss is that unprecedented gifts often come from donors who have a felt need to give back in response to their own personal tragedy or their own personal triumph. In the last thirty-five years I have been involved with structuring thousands of memorial gifts for families. Here are a few general principles I follow.

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ACCOUNTABILITY ATTITUDES: Why You Can’t Fool Experienced Donors

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Creating a positive culture of accountability is not something accomplished by decree, i.e., the values we “decided” to adopt at a recent strategic planning meeting. Cultural values develop through time, particularly over difficult times. Leaders who stick to their standards when it’s costly demonstrate what they really believe. That’s why leaders who create distinct cultures of accountability (whether empowering or toxic) do so because they have so thoroughly internalized those ideas. Below are three attitudes about accountability that can eventually turn into positive or negative donor relations issues. Continue reading

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ACCOUNTABILITY CULTURES: Toxic vs. Empowering Systems and the Effect on Fundraising Staff

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I used to keep a file in my desk drawer on the positive and negative lessons I learned from leaders—some great, others less than great. Eventually, the file was misplaced but many of the ideas were sticky enough to remain with me through the years. Below are a few of those leadership lessons on the importance of creating a culture of accountability that is both empowering and productive. Continue reading

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THE CASE FOR ACCOUNTABILITY: Why I Love It and Would Feel Lost Without It

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As unusual as it sounds to say, I love personal accountability. Consequently, I’m committed to a process of carefully tracking and analyzing where I’ve invested my time, talent, and resources. Without that process, I’d feel a bit lost. In fact, the more accountable I am, the more secure I feel in relationships with God, family, and friends; with clients and donors; with Thompson & Associates’ staff and associates. Realize it or not—believe it or not, your private and professional relationships are defined and sustained in the context of accountability. Continue reading

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PARADIGM SHIFTS: Inspiring Philanthropic Awakenings Among the Already-Generous

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In 2006 Warren Buffet made his Philanthropic Pledge, the decision to leave 99% of his wealth to charity during his lifetime or at his death. Bill and Melinda Gates have made a similar commitment (95% to charity). Together with Buffet, the Gateses are challenging their billionaire friends to make “The Giving Pledge,” a commitment to give at least half of their total assets to charity. Instead of asking, “How much do we really need to give,” the question becomes, “How much do we really need to keep?” That subtle change in wording represents the most radical change in perceptions about wealth, inheritance, and legacy.
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