Gary And The Black Hole In Charity Land

Gary and the Black Hole in Charity Land

For the past few weeks, we’ve been reviewing the nine potential ways that you can give to charitable organizations. So far, we’ve reviewed stocksregistered retirement investments, and small business shares. This week, we’re diving into real estate with a unique donor named Gary.

Gary’s Story: Donating Real Estate to Charity 

Gary wasn’t your average donor. He said two things that reveal who he is and how he thinks. “Land — they’re not making more of it!” and “I don’t want to pay taxes when I die.”

These two sentiments aren’t often heard together in a donor discussion, but as a retired contractor who had invested in land development over the years, Gary focused on people, places and things. He was a widower with one adult child, and he was a hard-working individual who could always be counted on to financially support his favourite organizations. 

For instance, one of Gary’s charities once received a $1 million challenge grant. Without hesitation, he pledged $100,000. His philanthropic giving was always done quietly and without recognition.  When he saw the community’s donations were at $850,000, Gary called to kick in that last $150,000. Of course, everyone wanted to know, “Who was the final donor?” The response was “Anonymous.” 

But Gary wasn’t done with his giving. As he described, he had large tax obligations due to his large amount of taxable capital gains. His accountant alerted him to update his will and told him to plan to allocate his assets and look at which organizations might help him reduce his taxes. 

At FUNDING matters, we’re familiar with how this can be done thanks to the Power Donor Experience and the GIFTABULATOR. If you’re in a similar situation to Gary, make sure you check out our resources to minimize your taxes. 

See the impact of your donation with GIFTABULATOR

The Black Hole of Charitable Giving

Gary would often say that he felt that he was putting his money into a “black hole” when donating to charities. He never knew where the money went or how it was spent. No one in his family shared his spirit of community support or charitable giving either. 

However, thanks to his accountant’s advice, Gary knew that charitable giving could help him out of his dilemma of paying taxes when he died. To get this process started, Gary approached a charitable organization about establishing a foundation. When Gary passed, the organization would receive a donation from Gary. 

The process ended up working out well for him. The foundation was established, the board was nominated and elected, the Investment Policy Statement (IPS) was created, and information about the new foundation was slowly shared. The IPS was based primarily on stocks, mutual funds, and cash donations from estates. 

While Gary was alive, he had a $3 million property that he acquired many years ago. With real estate values at an all-time high, this would have been an ideal time to sell; however, it also would have meant immense capital gains tax. Fortunately, he also had the option to donate the property. 

The property was donated, and the charity’s foundation received the largest donation in its history. Gary requested that the organization retained the property until he passed since it could be used as a wonderful retreat for community members. It could even generate new revenue for the charity! 

Final thoughts

Gary has since passed, but he gave direction in his estate for another major asset to be given to the foundation he created. In the next blog, we’ll cover Gary’s estate bequest. 

Main Street: The Backbone Of The Economy And Charitable Organizations

Main Street: The Backbone of the Economy and
Charitable Organizations

In the last blog, Sophie’s Legacy, we discussed how Registered Retirement Investments can transform estate planning. As soon as potential donors have access to the FUNDING matters Power Donor Experience (PDX) and the GIFTABUALTOR, their calculus can change.

Simply put, most people don’t know how to make tax-efficient donations. When they have the proper tools to understand how to do this, they’re much more willing to donate to the charitable organizations that need their help. Today, we’ll talk about small business shares, and how a man named Joe made a $1million donation to his favourite charity and still found a way to benefit his family.

How Donating Capital Assets Can Benefit Everyone

As of December 2017, the Canadian economy totaled 1.2 million employer businesses. Of these, 97.9 percent were small businesses, 1.9 percent were medium-sized businesses, and 0.2 percent were large businesses. More than half of Canada’s small businesses are concentrated in Ontario and Quebec (440,306 and 249,685 respectively).

According to Trevor R. Parry M.A. LL. B LL.M (Tax) CLU TEP, an Ontario lawyer focusing on tax, most of the taxes are paid by small business owners, and they should be able to direct their taxable capital gains to benefit their communities — not only in taxes but also in charitable giving. Trevor suggests, the gift of shares could be both a living tax plan and a testamentary one. In the first case, the business owner would gift shares of the company to a charity.

As the entrepreneur owns those shares personally, the gift will result in creating a Charitable Donation Tax Credit which is particularly useful as they are likely exposed to some top-rate taxation (53.53% in Ontario).

Joe’s Story

In Joe’s case, he and his advisor decided that it was the right time to make a significant donation to his favourite university. How much was that donation? $1,000,000.

Here’s a screenshot of the GIFTABULATOR with the information about his $1,000,000 donation plugged in. 

As you can see, his asset is not only worth 4 times as much today, but he also generated a significant tax credit and reduced his tax to only $137,719. In the end, he made a $1,000,000 donation while only paying $558,448.

Final thoughts

Overall, the success of the economy and charitable organizations is based on the backbone of small businesses. With the guidance of financial advisors, prospective donors can wisely create tax-efficient lasting legacies for the communities that they serve.

Giftabulator: Estate

Transformative Estate Planning

In last week’s blog, From Spare Change to Real Change, we talked about major and planned giving through stocks. At FUNDING matters, our goal is to help your organization allow donors to visualize the various types of assets that can be used to make a donation. In this week’s blog, we’ll be discussing charitable giving through Registered Retirement Investments. To start, let me take you back to a conversation I once had with a woman named Sophie.

Sophie’s Legacy

Back in 2008, I was advising for a non-profit home for the aged on their capital campaign. The project was an expansion and modernization of a long-term care home, and we hosted a series of donor discussions and presentations (PDX Step 4: Communication) on the topic. I specifically enjoyed teaming up with advisors that had an association with the organization (PDX Step 5: Leverage and Alliances). The presentations were initially titled “Leaving Your Legacy.” The early presentations drew a small number of attendees. It was only after following up with those who made time to attend and seeking their feedback that they greatly appreciated the tax, legal, and estate planning information acquired from the session. They knew they were getting valuable information.

As a group, we thought that the insight was helpful and wanted to continue to offer this type of advice, but instead of focusing on legacy, we pivoted and renamed the sessions “Estate Planning for You and Your Family.” Immediately, we noticed a significant increase in the turnout. By altering the focus, the session now allowed us to address the options for giving as part of both financial and estate planning. Tax-efficient major gifts and planned gifts were both woven seamlessly into the presentations.

Sophie, an elderly lady diagnosed with terminal cancer, attended all of the estate planning sessions. She would bring piles of estate planning literature from various financial institutions that she collected. She was on a mission to get educated and have meaningful discussions with her advisors.

When I ran through different scenarios using the GIFTABULATOR in the presentations, she was able to visualize various potential scenarios. Did she want to make a donation, a bequest, or both? Sophie pulled me aside, and I met with both her and her advisors over the next few months. We walked through different scenarios that may make sense for her. Sophie wanted to know how much she might pay in tax on Registered Retirement Investments.

So, I plugged in some examples both in the GIFTABULATOR Give Now (Major Gift) and Give Later (Bequest), and I showed her the outcome from the hypothetical numbers.

Then she asked, “How much tax will I owe on a $12 million Registered Retirement Investment?”

I was initially taken aback. Was she serious? She said, “Put in the numbers. I don’t want to pay taxes. I would rather see my money put to use for those organizations that are doing important work. I want to make a difference. I am a widow, and my children and grandchildren are taken care of. There will be enough for them if I donate.”

Today, Sophie’s legacy lives on at universities, libraries, and homes for the aged. All of these spaces were important throughout different stages of her life, and she had the opportunity to demonstrate her commitment to them even after she passed.

How Visualization Made the Difference for Sophie

Before our presentations, Sophie hadn’t considered a Registered Retirement Investment. She couldn’t conceive of what it would be or visualize herself doing it. She didn’t know the various types of assets that could be used to make a donation. Once she did, she was ready to do it.

Having the ability to plug in the numbers and see what it looked like helped make it real for her. The GIFTABULATOR is the tool that every organization needs for major and planned gifts. Easy to understand, use, and explain, it’s a tool that forecasts the potential for giving (and for a zero-tax bill!)

See the below screenshots and how Sophie’s estate and legacy were structured.

Sophie’s Scenario: Give Now

From Spare Change To Real Change: Enlightened Philanthropy And How To Achieve It For All

From Spare Change to Real Change:
Enlightened Philanthropy and How to Achieve It For All

In the previous blog, Why Visualization is the Key to Success, we talked about the importance of visualization to help donors, their families, and their advisors construct major and or planned gifts. This blog will continue the conversation, specifically focusing on how this visualization method pertains to stocks.

Here’s what you should know.

Option 1: Stocks and Mutual Funds

As briefly discussed in our last blog, the GIFTABULATOR is the best tool to use when helping illustrate estate, financial and philanthropic planning. It helps you minimize taxes while making the world a better place through planned or major gifts.

And — believe it or not — cash is not always king in the world of philanthropy. While many donors choose to donate using cash, it isn’t always the right move. What often happens is that donors will sell stocks in order to give a tax donation. Unfortunately, selling appreciated assets leaves the donor with the responsibility of paying capital gains tax.

Instead, they could select to gift their stocks to their charity of choice. This gives the donor a tax reduction and helps them avoid paying a capital gains tax in the process. Additionally, depending on the size and type of their gift, it could also lead to a reduction in their taxable estate.

Calculating a Tax-Efficient donation is really easy when it can be visualized. First select the Province you live in. Let’s select British Columbia for our example.

Then you’ll be prompted to select an asset. For this blog select Stock. You will see that the current value of the asset is $100,000. Feel free to change the asset to any amount.

Giftabulator will then have the amount that you paid for your asset that is now worth $100,000. Populated into the app is amount suggesting you paid $25,000. You have a taxable capital gain of $75,000. $100,000 – $25,000. That math was simple. Now with the information you have input Giftabulator will calculate how much tax you owe on your capital gain if sold.

By inputting a donation amount of $10,000 you will see on the coloured charts your $10,000 donation which is illustrated in green. As well, you will see your tax credit from your $10,000 donation of $4,529 in blue. The red chart represents the tax you will owe from your $75,000 taxable capital gain. With your $10,000 donation your taxable capital gain has been reduced from $14,749 to $10,220. Finally, the actual cost of your $10,000 donation is illustrated in gold as $5,471. 

Including Every Donor in the Conversation

Recently, we came across the article Making the Most of Mid-Level Donors. The authors, Sarah DiJulio and Yoonhyung Lee, state, “Mid-level donors are often overlooked at non-profits, even though they are among the most generous and loyal supporters and may have the potential to give much more if they are treated well. How can your organization attract, keep, and inspire mid-level donors to give more?” 

The reality is that these mid-level donors are the backbone of your organization’s annual funding. The issue is how to convert many of these donors into major gift and planned giving donors. The key is to provide the tools that can illustrate the benefits associated with a larger donation and indicate where the funding can be sourced. Since most donors give from the “wallet” in the form of a credit card, cheque or cash, the ideal major gift should be sourced from appreciated assets with a taxable capital gain. 

Why is this important for your donors to know? Illustrating a donation from an appreciated asset with a taxable gain will help the donor understand the benefit associated with a donation on which they will be paying tax if not used partially or wholly as a charitable gift. After all, no one wants to pay tax, and you’re providing them a fulfilling alternative through a donation to your organization!

Final thoughts

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be discussing all of the ways that potential donors can give to your organization. In fact, so many may not know that the money that they have in stocks can become a charitable gift. That “spare change” they have lying around can create real change — especially if you include every donor in the conversation!

Blog Visualization

Why Visualization is Key to Major and Planned Giving Success

In the past several blogs, we’ve covered five of the seven steps of FUNDING matters, Power Donor Experience (PDX). The goal of the PDX is to help individuals and organizations visualize how they need to manage the relationships and develop a prospect pipeline. Underlying all of the steps is the ability to visualize that donation at the end of the tunnel.

In this Harvard Business Review article, Scott Berinato argues that there are four different types of visualization, but all are just a means to an end. “Visualization is merely a process. What we actually do when we make a good chart is get at some truth and move people to feel it—to see what couldn’t be seen before. To change minds. To cause action.”

This blog will focus on why visualization is the key to success as you continue to engage donors and how you can help them visualize their future contributions.

How Visualization Can Help You 
The PDX lays out several visualization steps for you – perhaps you just didn’t know that’s what they were until right now. The most prominent are Step 1 and Step 4.

Step 1 (Brainstorming and Strategy) is perhaps the greatest opportunity for visualization. Berniato references brainstorming directly as a key tool in idea generation. Whiteboards, butcher paper, the back of a napkin, or a Google Doc – however you brainstorm best is up to you, but this type of visualization is seen as a way that business can work and answer complex challenges. For you, it’s how you will ensure planned giving success. You’re laying the foundation and beginning the process of identifying, cultivating, and soliciting high-net-worth donors.

Step 4 (Communication) is also a highly-valuable step in the visualization process. This is when you have the opportunity to prepare communication materials to build your prospects’ enthusiasm and commitment. This is what Berniato calls “idea illustration.” He says the focus should be on “clear communication, structure, and the logic of the ideas.” By creating these materials, you’re able to visualize the optimal outcome (a donation), and your donors are able to visualize donating themselves.

How To Help Donors Visualize
 Helping donors visualize is also essential to achieving major and planned giving. As noted above, you directly help this process along in Step 4 of the PDX by providing written materials, but what if there was an even better way? Say you have a donor who lives in Ontario and their household income is in the range of $95,000 and $115,000. This range indicates their tax bracket on income. They have been contributing $1,000 to your organization each year in December as part of their year-end tax planning. They support your mission as both a donor and a volunteer, and you feel secure in their commitment to your organization.

Now, you want to show them a simple illustration of another method of tax-efficient giving that they may do at any point in the year. Ideally, this would be triggered by growth in an asset like a publicly-traded stock or a mutual fund. If they purchased Shopify shares at $100 per share and today their shares are worth $1,500, their capital gain on their Shopify shares is $1,400. If sold, they would be required to pay the tax on the capital gains.

In helping your donor visualize how the part of all of the tax on their capital gain can be used to make their donation, it demystifies the donation process and allows them to visualize actually make that donation. In the end, this makes both you, your donor, and your organization happy.

Fortunately, you don’t have to sit with each and every prospect donor and lay out all of the different options. The GIFTABULATOR does this for you. Here what it will show donors:

  • How they can support your charity without impacting their lifestyle
  • How a donation to your charity can help them minimize their taxes and those of their beneficiaries
  • How they can ensure that their values and beliefs are reflected in their estate planning choices
  • How their potential to give back is based on their assets as opposed to their income

Final Thoughts 

Visualization is key to major and planned giving success because it allows both you and your prospective donor to better understand how you can make it happen.

As Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

For more information on the GIFTABULATOR, visit here. It’s easy to understand, use, and explain. It’s a tool individualized for each prospective donor that will demonstrate their potential giving capacity and help them visualize donating to you.

Step Five: Physics In Fundraising: How To Use Leverage And Friends To Lift Heavy Objects

Physics in Fundraising: How to Use Leverage and Friends to Lift Heavy Objects

Physics is a science that deals with matter and energy and their interactions. Matter and energy are both required to successfully raise funds. 

Fundraising is a never-ending race, and in order to maintain your speed, your organization must use leverage through your or your stakeholder’s efforts to engage prospects. Leverage builds on the interests, values, priorities, and intent of your donors.

Leverage can also mean taking something you’ve done previously and using it to its maximum potential or advantage to increase your results in the future, especially where your donor has demonstrated interest.

Just as we have addressed in the previous blogs (Step 4: Communications and Step 3: Connectors), having a series of conversations with your donors will uncover some of their “hot spots” for giving and their personal feelings toward your organization. Building a discussion around their values provides tremendous insights and can make a tremendous difference for both your donor and your organization.

To obtain major and planned gifts for your organization, FUNDING matters recommends using leverage and alliances in engaging prospects. In this blog, we’ll discuss how leverage helps prospects understand the benefits and impacts of major or planned gifts. Let’s get started.

What are the three steps to using leverage and alliances to cultivate prospects?

1. Understand the donor and their family’s interests, values, views, and priorities. The insights can be sought through brainstorming, research, and support provided by volunteers and/or stakeholders; or just having a conversation with the prospect.

2. Engage your network and connections in prospect engagement. This will help open doors that seemed impenetrable. Your stakeholders or friends can act as links to individuals that you weren’t sure how to connect with.

3. Introduce relevant estate, financial, and taxation planning. This type of planning with their families and advisors can make a tremendous difference and increase donations by generating a larger tax credit to reduce taxable capital gains.

Success in any fundraising initiative depends on your ability to connect your charity’s mission, goals, and objectives with the donor’s values, views, interests, and priorities. Research makes this connection. Your charity can find where the money is through prospect research (Step 2: Prospect ID and Research) either directly or indirectly. Let me explain further.

I can’t tell you how often I have been approached by a volunteer in an organization who offers a name of an individual that I should approach. The prospective donor was never on anyone’s list to approach for a donation, but there we are finding a way to reach out. The volunteer not only offered the name but also  a willingness to facilitate the introduction. These hidden gems are only unearthed through alliances that are in many cases not obvious.

The second step in this process is utilizing the Leadership Committee’s relationships and connections in prospect engagement. Typically, FUNDING matters will invite prospects to use the Giftabulator Best Ways to Give web app at this stage. This allows prospects to explore the idea of giving a gift.

Developed by FUNDING matters Inc., the Giftabulator ”Best Ways to Give” illustrates how to structure major and planned gifts. Giftabulator Best Ways to Give allows individuals to privately run through multiple major and planned giving donation scenarios.

The Giftabulator optimizes the donations section of your client’s website to guide individuals through the process of formulating a gift that is tailored to their unique financial situation. They’ll ultimately come away with the knowledge that making a gift to your campaign is achievable.

Throughout this process, the Leadership Committee and prospects develop an alliance. While major and planned gifts from total strangers occur, they are exceedingly rare. Coordinating deeper relationships with prospects through genuine engagement helps to solicit major and planned gifts in the future. FUNDING matters can help facilitate the cultivation and solicitation process.

We understand the need to engage in discussions with family, financial and legal advisors, and accountants. We know that taking these steps can ensure a successful legacy, and we take great care in developing customized, compelling, and well-thought-out proposals that specifically address donors’ needs and expectations. These proposals also help to maximize our revenue.

Throughout the fundraising process, FUNDING matters provides its clients with the experience, judgment, and wisdom of our counsel. This third step pertains to the ability to discuss relevant estate, financial, and taxation planning with your prospect. It is highly important for the family of the prospect to feel comfortable with their donation when it comes to discussing philanthropy with prospective donors and their families.

Why does this approach work?

Relationships between organizations and prospects begin with knowledge and evolve through the stages of interest, investment, and finally, ownership. Cultivation helps accelerate the process and increase the likelihood of securing the maximum gift possible.

Unless there is a corresponding readiness to give, the capacity to give will not necessarily result in a proportionate gift. Establishing a relationship (alliance) between the organization and the prospect before asking for the gift provides additional leverage.

Finally, in addition to the on-going personal cultivation by the campaign leaders, it will be necessary to hold a series of meetings where prospective donors and leaders can learn more about the project. In most cases, these meetings will be one-on-one (Step 1: Virtual Brainstorming).

Final thoughts

In this blog, we talked about Step 5: Leverage, which helps to engage with prospects in a way that allows them to understand the impact of major or planned gifts. The never-ending race of fundraising is always more successful if you’re coordinated in your approach and prepared to demonstrate impact. 

You can learn more about the GIFTABULATOR here and read more about the 7 Step Power Donor Solution here.

Happy fundraising.

Step Four: Fostering Effective Communication With Donors

Step Four: Fostering Effective Communication with Donors

In steps 2 and 3, we talked about cultivating relationships and building connections with prospective donors. Unfortunately, all of this can quickly fall apart if effective communication isn’t established. Step 4 is focused on donor communication and how implementing strong communication in your process can improve commitment and motivate individuals to consider making a major or planned gift by showing them both the immediate and long-term impacts.

What’s the best way to communicate with donors?

When deciding whether to donate, people primarily make their decision to support a campaign based on the person who is soliciting their support. Others will judge the campaign’s worthiness based on the contents of campaign communications materials and activities. As such, you should draw up various campaign materials that help you properly communicate with donors. Below, we list a variety of documents that keep your target audiences updated about any new developments.

  •  The Case for Support

If you’ve never heard of a Case for Support, you’re not alone. While brochures and websites are fairly common, fewer people have heard of a Case for Support unless they’ve worked in this space previously. Let’s jump into an explanation, so you can truly understand why it’s so essential that your organization has one. The Case for Support is a living document that tells the reader the story about your organization, why it exists, and who it serves. It is built around the framework of your vision, mission, and need.

  • Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan addresses the direction for the organization based on the feedback from stakeholders. It is a critical document and allows stakeholders the opportunity to share and discuss the strengths, opportunities, threats, and weaknesses. This keeps everyone on the same page.

  • Fundraising program website

A fundraising website is a starting point for communication. Today, it’s arguably the first place that anyone would go to learn about your organization and provides countless avenues for you to connect with prospective donors. If you want to create an email

  • Letters

Donation letters are a common tool that charities use to entice prospective supports to donate. These don’t often have the depth that a typical brochure would. Instead, they’re short and address a specific need that your organization is trying to meet. They also typically include a written ask for a donation.

  • Brochures

We’ve all been handed brochures at one time or another. These are short and sweet ways to walk us through any given topic. They take your cause and break it down into a condensed format that any prospective donor can easily understand.

  •  Proposals

These materials help to explain your fundraising program to your donor and encourage their investment in your charity’s cause through a major or planned gift. Don’t write a proposal unless your donor asks for one. Develop a proposal together!

Final thoughts
You may be thinking, “What about a simple phone call or email?” and yes, those do have a time and place in donor conversations as well. However, the communication methods we listed above are common effective ways that you can put your best foot forward with prospects and come out of the interaction successfully. For more on Step 4 (or any of the 7), check out the 7 Step Power Donor Solution.

Happy Fundraising.

Step 3: Connecting

Family Day… Remember, You Can’t do it Alone. It Helps to Have Connections.

Why every charity needs a Godfather or Fairy-Godmother 

Engaging stakeholders has long been a struggle for charitable organizations. This is a core element of charity marketing, and yet, it’s hard to even start the conversation. How do you discuss estate and philanthropic planning? How do you break the ice and make planned giving an easily understood and explained topic? This is where “connectors” come in. Connectors are individuals who build bridges to prospects. In this blog, we’ll learn why every charity needs these connectors, or ambassadors, to act as lifelines to funding. Let’s get started.

Who are connectors?

In some way, connectors have created an association or formed a charity and your prospects. These links produce the potential for prospects to be influenced into donating to your charitable organization. Connectors can identify individuals who may be promising prospects. They can make introductions to people who can help you network with prospects. Or perhaps they can be part of the cultivation or solicitation process itself. A good connector can wear many different hats as a donor, volunteer, employee, or other individuals that a board member knows personally.

How do we use connectors to our advantage?

When you initially think about connectors, you may consider people you already work with, namely those on your Leadership Committee. However, connectors can be anyone, and the more connectors you identify the better! Think of connectors as an army of individuals working on your behalf to expand your fundraising efforts. If you only have a connector or two working to raise funds, it will be difficult. If you have hundreds, the load lifts significantly.

Who can we consider connectors?

As noted above, a connector can be anyone. Here’s a shortlist of who may be a connector for your organization. This can help you as you begin to brainstorm.

  • Donors 
  • Volunteers
  • Employees
  • Professional advisors (financial or legal)
  • Outside individuals known personally by the board member
  • Leadership Committee members

Your leadership committee members are particularly important to this process. To help set up your charitable organization for success, identify and enlist individuals who canjoin the fundraising team for your Leadership Committee. Ideally, these individuals would fit at least one of the following criteria.

1. A passion for your cause
2. A willingness to donate a major gift
3. A meaningful connection to your charity’s prospects

Engage this team as you seek funding. They are a resource to you and utilizing them throughout your fundraising program. As they are passionate enough about your cause that they see the value in donating themselves, they will be more successful in discussing your mission with prospects and other connectors, which in turn, results in major and planned gifts.

Additionally, it’s essential to consider financial and legal advisors as key connectors. They also offer a unique business building opportunity. When they have discussions with clients regarding charitable giving, they can present a variety of choices. As a trusted individual in that scenario, they serve as a key networking resource. Without them, you may never connect with certain individuals. With their support, your ability to reach and engage an entire community is vastly expanded.

Final thoughts

Don’t wait for donations to fall from the sky! Use your charity’s connectors to help build the connections you need to be successful. For more information, read about the 7 Step Power Donor Solution. You can also visit FUNDING matters here.

Happy Fundraising.

Valentines Day

💝💝💝 … Better Than a Box of Chocolates!

Forrest Gump is known for the famous quote, “My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

And in general, this sentiment holds true…especially when it comes to charitable funding. Charitable organizations work long and hard to foster relationships with potential donors, set up conversations, work in their ice breakers, and maybe (MAYBE!) get a donation. 

But FUNDING matters wants to help. We’ve developed our GIFTABULATOR app with this particular dilemma in mind, and we’d argue that it’s better than a box of chocolates for your organization this Valentine’s Day (don’t tell your sweetheart!). Keep reading to learn more about this interactive and intuitive tool.


Each year, roughly $21.8 billion (an average of $142/person) is spent on Valentine’s Day each year…imagine if that went to charitable giving. This phenomenon illustrates something crucial. Although consumers are willing to spend money, they’re not always clear on their financial goals. They spend money on Valentine’s Day and forego charitable giving that can aid their community for years to come. If your charitable organization is seeking donations, it’s up to you to help donors understand how they can make it work financially. This will be the tipping point that takes them from “donating to charity is nice” to “donating to charity is part of my budget.”

Fortunately, FUNDING matters has a solution for you. GIFTABULATOR is an app for charities, donors, advisors, etc. to illustrate the best ways for individuals to give to charity and to make a positive difference in their communities while decreasing their taxable capital gains either now or in their estates. In short, it’s an easy way to help your donors understand their financial goals while giving back to their community.

What can GIFTABULATOR demonstrate?

Individuals need to see the real impact of effective estate planning, charitable giving and tax minimization. Without a tool to do this, the idea of giving pre-tax dollars is just an abstract idea…spending money on Valentine’s Day chocolate seems more fulfilling. 

Now, you have the power to show donors:

  • How they can best support your charity without impacting their lifestyle
  • How a donation to your charity can minimize their taxes and those of their beneficiaries
  • How they can ensure that their values and beliefs are reflected in their estate planning choices
  • How their potential to give back is based on their assets as opposed to their income

While it’s easy for many to think that they don’t have the means to donate to philanthropic causes, it’s simply not true. Both your donors and clients can be in control of their financial future, pay less tax, and do some good along the way.

Interested in trying it out?

The GIFTABULATOR helps your donors show you love while maximizing their own financial situation. You can read more about this here: GIFTABULATOR – Maximize Your Donor Gifts Today.

If you want to try out GIFTABULATOR for yourself, see the impact of your donation here. There’s no software to download!

Happy fundraising.

How To Find Your Next Big Donor

How to find your next big donor

In How to Successfully Brainstorm While Social Distancing, we discussed how charitable organizations must start the process of identifying, cultivating, and soliciting high net-worth donors for major and planned giving. We talked about how you can put together a remote brainstorming session even in these difficult times. Yet, as you’re following these steps and putting together a group of individuals, you may still be scratching your head and asking, “What exactly am I brainstorming about?”

Your brainstorming efforts all come back to your donors. It’s up to you to connect your charity’s mission, vision, and goals with a prospective donor’s values, interests, and priorities. This is what ultimately results in major and planned giving. In this blog, we’ll discuss the process of prospect research and identification.

Let’s get started.

1. Do research on past and current donors

If you’re not sure where to begin, the first step is simple. Take a look at your charity’s current annual donors and find all those that have a consistent track record of giving over the last five years or more. Take these names and put them on your “prospect list.” Then, do additional research to determine which of these donors may have a high net worth and be a potential “big donor.” Once you’re narrowed down your prospects list, consider setting a meeting with a few of these candidates. This can help spark interest in becoming involved in your charity – either financially or through leadership. You never know the power a simple conversation can have!

2. Build relationships with advisors in your community

Only 60% of adults have current wills and only 4% of those with a current will have bequests. Use this knowledge to your advantage and start working with the advisors who facilitate these arrangements in your community (lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors). They can help create a fruitful situation for all. During estate planning, legal and financial advisors can recommend organizations like yours to help their clients leave a lasting legacy. By building relationships with these advisors in your community, you automatically connect with prospective donors who can contribute major gifts through planned giving. Thinking about your own charitable bequests? Read Family Discussions – Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late.

3. Screen all stakeholders for major gift potential

Stakeholders are individuals or groups that are affected by or can influence decisions or actions by your charitable organization. They include partners, governments, clients, members of the community, funders (corporations and foundations), suppliers, employees, employee families, volunteers, and volunteer families. If you’re looking for ways to bolster your prospect list, then evaluating your stakeholders, researching their net worth, and determining their gift-giving potential is a solid strategy. Just because someone hasn’t donated in the past doesn’t mean they won’t donate in the future. A stakeholder already has a relationship with your organization and sometimes all you need to do is facilitate the giving.

Final thoughts

Building up your list of prospective donors and knowing who to reach out to informs the next several steps of the 7 Step Power Donor Solution. This is a crucial step and getting it right will set you up for future success. For more information, visit FUNDING matters.

Happy Fundraising.