Posted June 1st, 1998

For Year-End Success, Establish Goals Now

With summer quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to start thinking about year-end gift appeals. To gear up for year-end 1998, we present an article that appeared in the June 1988 issue of Give & Take. As with many of the articles that have appeared in Give & Take over the last 30 years, its message remains timely, even 10 years later.

Now’s the time to outline a strategy for year-end giving season . . . by deciding what you want to accomplish and drawing your plans accordingly. Possible goals:

  • To maximize gifts. When you help people who already give increase their giving, you improve fund-gathering efficiency. To help donors “upgrade” their giving, provide information about the most efficient ways to give. The gift they’ve been making each year is fine, but could they come out ahead by making a larger gift this year in order to become an “itemizer” and reap tax benefits?
  • To correct misinformation. With each year since 1985 bringing numerous tax law changes, many donors are now in a state of confusion regarding the impact of the law as the “dust settles” in 1988. Do they know that the charitable deduction is one of the few deductions still available? And have they considered how flexible it is, able to be raised at the discretion of the giver as late as New Year’s Eve?
    . . . It is up to the nonprofit community to keep donors informed. (Editor’s note: This still applies today as donors will still need accurate information about their giving in light of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.)
  • To say thanks. Year-end, traditionally a season of sharing, is an ideal time for expressing gratitude for gifts. Demonstrate your thanks by providing information that helps donors give more at lower cost. The list to whom you mail, the enclosures, and timing of the mailing can all be chosen once your goals are set. Starting to plan now gives you time to weigh alternatives and avoid mistakes.

Do You Know the Facts?

Fact: The number of itemizers reported in 1995 was up 2%.

Fact: The average deduction for those itemizers increased 4%.

Fact: Forty-one percent of baby boomers’ assets are held in the form of securities. Fact: The majority of gift income for many charitable organizations and institutions comes in the final months of the year.

Conclusion: Year-end appeals may be more important than ever for your donors. Consider this–more of your donors are itemizing their tax returns. And most likely many of them own securities that have increased in value during recent years. Why not tell your donors about the benefits of making gifts before the end of the year that can help reduce their tax bill in 1999? Why not inform them of the possible capital gains tax savings available through gifts of appreciated assets to your organization? With Sharpe year-end giving brochures, you can do all of this and more. This year you have five year-end brochures to choose from, each professionally written and designed to motivate and inform your donors of the benefits of giving at the end of the year.

The publisher of Give & Take is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory service. For advice and assistance in specific cases, the services of your own counsel should be obtained. Articles in Give & Take may generally be reprinted for distribution to board members and staff of nonprofit institutions and other non-donor groups. Proper credit must be given. Call for details.

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