Planned Giving: Too Much Information?
No area of fundraising intertwines development staff and donors in more personal relationships than planned giving.
In many cases, all a prospective donor asks is that a development executive supply generic information about how a particular gift plan might function, what the payment rates or tax deduction might be, or whether an organization can serve as a trustee.
But in other cases, the process of planning a gift — the who, what, when, why and how of it — results in the development officer becoming privy to very private information.
For example, suppose a donor informs an organization of her intention to include a charitable gift as part of her estate plans. She says she would like the organization to serve as trustee of two trusts to be created under the terms of her will. She has a brother and a sister, both in their late 60s.
She would like to leave half of her estate in a charitable remainder annuity trust that will provide her sister with a fixed income for life, with the remainder going to the charity at her death. So far, so good.
Next, the donor shares that her brother has had a history of drug and alcohol abuse dating to the 1960s. Her mother left her brother’s inheritance to her and asked her to “take care of him.” What she would like to do is create a trust under which the nonprofit organization as trustee would provide for her brother as his needs require, but never give him access to the corpus.
There could be as much as $1 million in the trust. She says her brother is “functioning,” and that this family issue has never become public. One reason she wants the organization to serve as trustee is that she feels this will be more private. She doesn’t, for example, want the information to be known in the trust department of her local bank.