2020 was a banner year for planned gifts. Annual giving held up well too. At least, that’s what I’ve heard from my clients—a mix of top-notch educational, healthcare, arts and social service organizations.
Good news, but no surprise to me. No surprise for three main reasons:
- Pandemic or not, charities are central to the wellbeing of our country, and charitably motivated individuals know that better than many in the press, in elected office and even in some charities.
- Pandemic has caused many potential donors to dust off their estate plans … meaning many charities have learned of estate provisions that will provide valuable future support.
- Pandemic and corresponding fiscal stimulus have been good for the stock market indices.
There’s no reason in January 2021 to believe 2021 giving will be less than 2020 giving. Put another way, there’s no reason to believe 2021 will see a departure from the long upward moving trend line of year-to-year charitable giving.
There are wild cards, of course. Whether a particular charity persists in or forsakes its core mission is the most important wild card for that charity. Whether the stock market stays afloat or sinks is another wild card.
Uncertainty has always been a wild card. So have rising interest rates and inflation. As Yogi Berra once observed, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” But one can learn from the past. The past, meaning 2020 in this pandemic era, teaches that while plague, unforeseen adversity and jarring turmoil are unsettling, they are not inimical to charitable giving.
Bottom line: Charities can continue to be magnets for donations by continuing to fulfill their core missions.
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