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Valuing gifts – Consistency the goal

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By Todd Cohen

Creating a uniform method for valuing planned gifts is the focus of a study underway by the National Committee on Planned Giving.

The goal of the study, which should be completed next year, is to create valuation standards that are widely known, accepted and consistently used by people involved in gift planning.

“It’s confusing for donors, donor advisers, volunteers leaders and administrations of charitable institutions to have planned gifts valued differently by charities,” says Jeff Comfort, director of planned giving at Georgetown University, who is chairman of a task force overseeing the study.

While no uniform standards currently exist, the standard used by many people involving in planned giving is the IRS charitable deduction value.

Developing uniform standards is important, says Comfort, because huge discrepancies in the way charities currently value planned gifts can create confusion for donors, charities and advisers.

“The task force aims to create a standard that would provide consistency,” he says.

Standards developed by the task force will involve the way planned gifts are valued, not the way in which charities count planned gifts as part of their campaigns, which typically are internal policy matters related to public recognition.

The study is being conducted in three phases. First, a survey developed last year was distributed early this year to randomly selected members of NCPG’s 110 regional councils, which have about 12,000 members.

That survey aims to collect demographic information about the members and their organizations, and to identify and assess their current practices in valuing gifts.

This spring, based on the results of the survey, the task force will begin to analyze current practices and try to develop model valuation standards that would give “fair and real valuations” for all types of planned gifts.

And in 2002, the task force will publish and distribute the standards.

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