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Existing donors ripe for planned gifts

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While few people who make charitable donations name charities in their wills, those who do tend to have been steady donors during their lifetimes, a new study says.

Those with charities named in their wills donated an average of $2,000 more annually, or more than twice as much overall, than those without bequests, says the study conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and funded by Campbell & Company.

Of those who haven’t structured a planned gift, one in three say they would consider it.

The best targets for planned gifts, according to the survey, are “community core” members, or people ages 40 to 60 who are employed, with household incomes of $50,000 to $75,000.

On the other hand, “climbers,” defined as those who are ages 30 to 45, likely to be married, have at least a bachelor’s degree and make between $75,000 and $100,000, are not likely to make planned gifts.

And while only a small percentage of “retirees,” or those ages 65 and over with incomes from $25,000 to $50,000, have made bequests, one in four say they would consider doing so.

Given that income alone does not predict who will consider making a planned gift, the study recommends fundraisers should move beyond income in determining whom to target for a planned gift.

Rather, fundraisers should promote the opportunity “do good” and “fulfill others’ expectations” through planned gifts, given that the respondents most likely to bequest cited those particular motivators.

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