Lessons From My Dad | Sharpe Group
Posted February 5th, 2024

Lessons From My Dad

Growing up, I watched my father (who just celebrated his 93rd birthday) give blood to the Red Cross, deliver food to the local food bank and take leadership roles in our church. Through his actions, I learned the importance of philanthropy, which led me to my career in fundraising.

Another important lesson I learned from my father can apply directly to the role of a gift planner: Be patient and persevere.

After the Tax Act of 2017 passed, I was having lunch with my father, and I suggested he and my mother could make their charitable gifts through their IRAs—qualified charitable distributions—and avoid paying taxes on the withdrawals. He agreed to think about it.

During another visit, he shared, “I was talking with one of my golf buddies and one of my bridge buddies the other day. Did you know your mother and I can make all our charitable gifts from our IRAs and not pay any taxes on the distribution?”  I responded, “Dad, what a great idea, you should do this!” 

As a fundraiser and a consultant, time and time again, I’m reminded that change happens over time. For the donor, important financial decisions may require input from multiple people over months or years. Sometimes it’s a friend, a spouse or other family member. Often, it’s a financial or legal advisor.

There is still growth potential for donors in their 70s, 80s and 90s who are considering making QCDs from their IRAs. So, for gift planners, it’s important to remember that one more call or message can spark your donors to act on a gift today and may ultimately lead to a gift of a lifetime.

Learn more about the important of QCDs in “RMDs and QCDs—The Time Is Now” in our upcoming issue of Sharpe Insights.

Joe Chickey is a senior vice president and senior consultant with Sharpe Group.

Looking to educate your donors about making gifts through their retirement plans? Perfect for a targeted mailing, “Giving Through Retirement Plans” is a detailed booklet with tax information for advisors. For a larger audience, “Making Retirement Accounts Less Taxing” or “Q&A About Retirement Plan Giving” are ideal. All are available to personalize and order online.

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