Planned Giving: Too Much Information?
2. If it is legal, does it pass the “stomach test”? We can all think of examples of behaviors that are legal but just don’t “feel right” for one reason or another.
3. If the behavior passes the legal and stomach tests, does it pass the “relative test”? Would this be something that would be OK to you if it was your mother or other close relative? Or you? How much information about your personal affairs would you want to be a part of an institution’s permanent records?
4. If it passes the legal, stomach and relative tests, take the “60 Minutes” test. Would you like what you are about to do to be the subject of a Page 1 article in your local newspaper tomorrow morning?
5. Finally, take the “witness stand” test. Keep in mind that donor records can be discovered in a will contest or other legal action.
When recording information in a donor’s file, imagine that you or someone else could be asked to read the report from a witness stand. Or simply imagine the donor herself reading your notations.
The best course of action is to anticipate certain situations that could arise and to formulate policies in advance so that you or your staff members don’t have to make important determinations on the fly. Once policies are in place, make sure they’re disseminated among staff and volunteers and periodically updated to reflect changes in the law, technology and other factors that could underlie them.
Robert Sharpe Jr. is president of The Sharpe Group.