The past year has been unlike any other. During a global pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans, many in the U.S. have lost their jobs (some permanently), and the economy has been uncertain for most of 2020 and into 2021.
COVID-19 has also impacted charitable giving and estate planning but not in the way some would expect. While it’s true such factors as an increase in health care costs and longer life expectancy influence estate planning, the pandemic has caused many to feel more vulnerable, and it has reinforced their outlook that these uncertainties of life accelerate a need for estate planning. More people than ever are taking the time to make or update their plans.
According to a TD Wealth survey, a shift in priorities, including accelerated interest in estate planning, resulted in “the need for a long-term estate and financial plan in the event of uncertainty.” And in this time of more awareness of estate plans, this past year has been surprisingly favorable toward philanthropy, according to their survey.
In addition to highlighting the importance of reviewing estate plans on an ongoing basis, the pandemic has also brought about a renewed commitment to taking care of loved ones and giving to charity.
During the pandemic, we have heard stories of neighbors volunteering to help those in need and strangers performing random acts of kindness. Many are continuing their support of a broad array of causes, even making larger charitable gifts in light of the current environment. As 2021 progresses, with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines accelerating and new cases declining, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
As you begin to make your plans for end-of-year marketing, reminding your donors of the many ways to support your mission will be more important than ever. Traditional messaging of tax-wise ways to give before Dec. 31 (e.g. cash, noncash gifts, QCDs, etc.) should be reinforced with the many ways to include your organization in estate plans (e.g. bequests, beneficiary designations, life income plans).
If your organization is interested in starting or enhancing your planned giving efforts, consider having a Planned Giving Program Assessment performed to guide you toward the most efficient and successful strategy possible.
By John Ryan, Sharpe Group Senior Editor
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