The end of one year and the beginning of another always marks a busy season for those engaged in charitable gift development activities. Recent tax law changes and economic factors give us more reasons to make our “to-do” lists.
“To do” at the end of 2019
- December 31 falls on a Tuesday this year. Have staff on call to help expedite gifts of stock or other noncash assets donors wish to make before the end of the year for credit on their 2019 returns. Donors may be inclined to bunch deductions or prepay pledges for this purpose.
- Keep a watchful eye on discussions of possible tax policy changes. Your donors and their advisors will be following the news, and you’ll want to know what is being talked about and what might be proposed in Washington.
- Remind donors age 70½ and older of the option to give directly from their IRA. This important incentive may offer an attractive way for some donors to make a new gift or fulfill a prior commitment before the year ends. IRA gifts must be received by December 31 to count as a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) for 2019.
- Watch stock market valuations and be prepared to remind those who have made gifts of securities in the past, as well as other donors who have made larger cash gifts, they may wish to take advantage of market conditions to complete gifts of appreciated securities prior to year-end. Some donors may wish to make a larger gift this year in order to itemize, instead of taking the standard deduction.
- Offer to be of help to last-minute donors. Many of your best donors may not stop to think about additional gifts this year until the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Let them know you’re there to help in this final, busy week of the year. Make sure your online giving portal is easy to find and use.
After the year-end giving season, be prepared to hit the ground running in January. You may find the things you do early in the new year will help ensure the results you need next December and beyond.
“To do” early in 2020
- Thank your donors for their 2019 year-end gifts as soon as possible. A phone call or visit to select donors can set the stage for discussions about their giving for 2020.
- The winter months are historically a good time to remind donors about the importance of estate planning. The recent holiday season may have brought loved ones to mind, making this a good time to communicate about ways to make gifts to provide for others.
- The early months of the year can also be a good time to remind donors about using their IRAs to make their gifts. Each donor is limited to $100,000 and the “early birds” may get more “worms.” Consider informing loyal older donors of the advantage of this type of gift before they take IRA withdrawals or direct gifts elsewhere.
- Consider sending a “Giving Guide” or tax guide to larger donors as the tax season starts.