Planned giving? Deferred giving? Let’s call it charitable gift planning!


What’s in a name?

By Michael Johnson
Guest blogger

namePeople often ask, “What is the difference between deferred giving, planned giving and charitable gift planning?  Isn’t it all the same?”  Certainly there have been times in the past when these terms were commonly interchangeable. That was absolutely the case when I entered the field 25 years ago.  But over the years, most practitioners have taken to using “charitable gift planning” for a number of good reasons.

First, the term “planned giving” always begged the question, “What is an unplanned gift?”  As if there was some way a check got written accidentally or, even worse, without the donor’s knowledge!  In this sense, all gifts are planned gifts, so what is the distinction?

Another common term used when I was a young man (and the republic was new!) was “deferred giving” as if the only gifts that required planning were gifts which were completed at a later date, like upon the donor’s death. This certainly covers a lot of very popular gifts such as bequests, beneficiary designations and life income gifts, but it does not address the outright transfer of assets, like securities, real estate and other property, that support so many capital campaigns and other major gift efforts.

The wide acceptance of the term “charitable gift planning” is due, in my belief, to two things.

  1. It is a term which encompasses any type of giving, both outright and deferred, which is more complicated than writing a check.  But mostly because it places the proper emphasis on the planning process in which the donor and his or her advisors participate.
  2. It is the process by which a donor reaches multiple goals: personal, financial and philanthropic. It is donor-centric and takes into account the person’s goals, risk tolerance and family situation.

From a personal standpoint, it is far more rewarding than simply closing a large gift because I have had the privilege of being a participant in helping to craft the very best plan for my client, the donor.
Mike Johnson blog sig

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About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on May 1, 2014, in Fundraising, nonprofit, resource development and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Kelley tetzlaff

    The best and clearest explanation on the confusion between terms that I a have seen! Kudo’s to you Mike for the clarity and definition!

    If only the closed minded of the world would listen.

    Also, great to you guest blogging on this uu
    All the best to you.

    Kelley Tetzlaff

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