VALLEY FORGE, Pa., Jan. 27, 2012 — Times are tough for charitable organizations. 275,000 smaller nonprofits had their tax-exempt status revoked last summer as a result of new tax filing requirements. Others face hardship as the government threatens to close formerly reliable sources of public funding. And private philanthropic donations are down as economic insecurity makes cash harder to come by. A bleak picture, but according to Viken Mikaelian and Brian M. Sagrestano, JD, CFRE, it doesn't have to be that way.
"Non-profits that focus on annual giving have always been in trouble," explains Mikaelian, founder of PlannedGiving.Com. "Their mistake is they make 'We need the cash now!' their constant mantra. Short-term thinking means they lose revenue and their future. They should be promoting planned giving."
Sagrestano, President and CEO of Gift Planning Development, LLC, agrees. "Just 5% of the nation's wealth is in cash, leaving the rest tied up in the assets that drive planned giving," Sagrestano stated. "Even organizations that only dabble in planned giving end up earning 50% to 100% more than those that don't. More significantly, a typical planned gift is 200 to 300 times the size of a donor's largest annual gift."
Planned giving enables individuals to make larger donations than they could give from their discretionary income. It accomplishes this through gifts made from donors' wills or trusts; charitable gift annuities, in which donors make gifts to organizations and receive guaranteed income for life; life insurance policies or retirement plans that name non-profits as beneficiaries; and other appealing options.
So what is holding nonprofits back from taking advantage of such a robust solution? Chiefly fear of the unknown, say Sagrestano and Mikaelian, plus a misguided view that planned giving is somehow "complex." So they decided to do something about it. The result is Planned Giving in a Box.
Planned Giving in a Box® (http://www.plannedgivinginabox.com) enables nonprofits to close more and bigger gifts by creating their own start-up planned giving program, or strengthening their existing one. Its co-creators say they cut through the misconceptions about planned giving, identified required skills and know-how, gathered the tools and the content, and arranged everything into a step-by-step implementation that guides the user up the learning curve in as little as one hour a week for 52 weeks.
"Tough times mean nonprofits need the edge that planned giving offers," says Mikaelian. "With Planned Giving in a Box we hope we've found a low-stress way for nonprofits to help themselves survive — and thrive — in a challenging economy. The rest is up to them."
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