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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Get Smart Fast: 10 Things You Need to Know About Planned Giving


New to planned giving? We can’t make you an expert in the next four minutes, but these facts will get you halfway there in no time at all.


  1. In the next two decades, Baby Boomers will leave behind $30 trillion in assets. This is the largest wealth transfer in human history and may be the biggest opportunity for philanthropy in the history of the world.
  2. Planned giving generated $37 billion for nonprofits last year -- an amount expected to double in the next decade based on changing demographics.
  3. Nonprofits with a planned giving strategy can generate up to one-third of their revenue through planned giving.
  4. The most common type of planned gifts are “bequests”, which are gifts made through a will or trust. More than 85% of planned gifts are bequests. Other types of planned gifts include IRA designations, life insurance gifts, charitable lead trusts, and more.
  5. One of the biggest barriers to more planned giving for nonprofits is that many people don’t have any estate planning at all. Fewer than 50% of baby boomers have a will, and less than 40% of parents have one. (This isn't good for a whole host of reasons. One of the most important is being clear how children should be cared for if they suffer a parental bereavement.)
  6. The top reason people haven’t made a will is simply, “I haven’t gotten around to it.” This is a huge opportunity to help your supporters understand why creating a will is important and how they can use it to generously support the causes they care about, like yours.
  7. Making it easy to make a will and asking for a gift in the right way can increase your planned giving by 600%!
  8. People who plan to leave bequests increase their annual giving by an average of 75% in subsequent years.
  9. All of your supporters have the potential to make planned gifts, but research shows that a few attributes make someone more likely to support your organization in their estate: not having children, and having a long history of giving to you. But, organizations also frequently get gifts from people who have never donated before so it’s important to cast a broad net.
  10. Bequests are up to 1,000 times larger than a donor’s typical donation. The average bequest on FreeWill is $78,000, often from middle-class donors.
Ready for what’s next?

To get even smarter about planned giving, check out FreeWill’s 2019 Planned Giving Report to see the latest changes and data. FreeWill analyzed the first 50,000 wills made through their platform to determine trends and behaviors among donors. Share this information with your organization’s board and leadership to begin creating a planned giving strategy that works for you and your supporters.You can also look at making a will and bequest yourself. FreeWill takes only 25 minutes or so and it’s free.

That’s it -- welcome to the amazing world of planned giving! We hope you feel smarter already, and we’re so excited to help you make the most of it. If you’re interested in learning more about the power of planned giving and how FreeWill has raised more than $750 million in new planned gifts for thousands of nonprofits, go to FreeWill.com/nonprofits.

Patrick Schmitt is a leading innovator in the field of fundraising and social impact. From 2009-2010, Patrick ran email fundraising for President Obama, where his team invented many of the existing best practices in digital fundraising. He served as Head of Innovation at Change.org, helping to grow that organization to 200 million members in just four years.

Patrick is the co-founder of FreeWill, a social venture which has helped organizations raise more than $750 million in new planned gifts and qualified charitable distributions. Patrick and his co-founder Jenny were recently named two of the Top 50 Philanthropists in the World by Town & Country Magazine.

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