Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the number of people dying in the United States will double in the next forty years. WOW!
Hard to read, but surely reality. And, sometimes reality is stark.
The Baby Boomers will soon be facing retirement, old age, and eventually death. And, Baby Boomers will have more wealth to leave behind – significantly more than previous generations.
Researchers have been hard at work calculating the details behind this transfer of wealth. Their findings? They estimate that approximately $41 trillion will transfer between 1998 and 2052 from a predicted eighty-eight million estates. Of that $41 trillion, it is estimated that $6 trillion will transfer to charity.
However, as large as these statistics are, only around 18% of the nation’s wealthiest individuals presently leave a gift to charity in their will. While data is insufficient, it is estimated that a small percentage leave a gift in their will.
So, are nonprofits so focused on their annual operating support that they are failing to include planned giving as part of their fundraising strategy? Are we just not asking enough? I would garner to say this is very accurate. Most of the organizations that I work with are so focused on meeting the day-to-day operational needs of the organization that they cannot even think beyond into the future. Or if they can think about the future, they just don’t want to talk about death. Or they fear that they will take away from their annual support. Or they are just impatient, and can’t wait for planned gifts to mature because the income won’t be forthcoming for many years. Or perhaps they have such high expectations within their departments to produce that their focus is more on immediate returns and not for the long haul.
We keep talking about this enormous transfer of wealth, but what are we doing as fundraisers to begin the conversations. Conversations in our organizations that confront current expectations by our superiors to raise money for today. Or how we as fundraisers don’t want to grapple with sensitive topics as death with our donors. Or because we as organizations need the money today to keep the doors open for tomorrow. Or maybe because we don’t have enough knowledge about planned giving and what it is, so we just don’t want to bring up the subject.
All organizations both large and small absolutely must begin thinking about legacy giving.
I know one thing for certain, these statistics point to us as fundraisers to do a better job. And, so the question is, what are you doing to do that better job?