Why People Give

money hands raised.jpg

Two weeks ago, we mentioned that we'd soon share more items we found noteworthy from the 2014 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy. Here are three:

I. Why Donors Give

One of the survey questions in the study was: “On a scale of 1 to 5, do you usually give in order to _______.”  Not surprisingly, the 11th of the 14 reasons listed was “to receive tax benefits”.  

At Philanthropy Works, we realize there are a host of reasons people make gifts, and we address the lion's share of those reasons. If you've taken a look at our syllabus listed under the Courses heading, you may have noted that we will in fact have a course dedicated to taxes. However, it's the last course in the curriculum, which is easy to interpret as us believing it to be an afterthought.

It's not. When donors become better educated in how to make strategic gifts, they become increasingly interested in and appreciative of what good planning can do to make their giving more significant than they thought possible. 

We must know enough to help our donors become educated about their philanthropy -- we must enable them to make smart, tax-advantaged gifts that benefit both donor and charity. And having a working understanding of the tax benefits of various gift vehicles is critically important to this end.

II. A Hunger to Learn

The study also shows that 64% of those interviewed indicated they would like to be more knowledgeable about at least one aspect of charitable giving. While the survey did not give respondents the opportunity to identify individual aspects, the implication is clear: a large majority of donors are willing and eager to learn about how to maximize their philanthropy.

III. Gift Experts Add Value

Finally, the survey asked respondents a question about how confident they are about their level of charitable giving knowledge. For the 3rd straight survey, there has been virtually no change in percentage. The need for savvy gift officers is as great as ever. Clearly we can add value.

Also of interest: This "day-after-the-election" article, Republican’s Senate Wins Boost Prospects of Tax Changes for Nonprofits to get initial thoughts on what the new make-up of the House and Senate may mean for the work we do.