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Posted September 14th, 2015

On Donors and Dementia

Losing Brain Function

Gift planning fundraising presents a unique set of challenges in that the targeted donors for these gifts of a lifetime are elderly. As we age, we encounter more challenging health issues. One of these issues that many face is diminished mental capacity.

As fundraisers, dementia can pose serious concerns when communicating with donors. Development professionals generally do not hold medical degrees, so determining a donor’s mental capacity is tricky, and the consequences of ignoring possible dementia can be catastrophic.

It’s an issue we must face with sensitivity, and we must not do it alone. I was recently quoted in this excellent article, “How a Rise in Dementia Poses Tests for Charities” in a special “The Aging of America” edition of The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Click here for the entire article and here for more on this special issue on aging.

by Barlow Mann

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