What is Legacy/Planned Giving?

We like to think of planned giving as a donor service that enables you to give gifts of assets during your lifetime or through a will or testamentary instrument. In other words, it can be given now or later. The process of giving requires planning on the part of donors, their advisors, and United Way. Planned gifts provide enhanced tax benefits and some return an income to the donor.

For some planned giving is seen as “deferred giving” or gifts that will be deferred until a later time. For example, donors may name United Way in their will but the actual gift will not be realized until the donor dies.

It could be a simple life-income agreement such as a charitable gift annuity that provides you or a beneficiary named by you with an income for a specified period.

Others see planned giving as a highly technical form of giving involving complicated trusts and tax techniques. Charitable remainder trusts are examples of this form of planned giving.

Tax and financial planning considerations may influence the size, assets contributed, and the timing of the gift; but, philanthropic intent is the primary motivation for a planned gift—the motivation to enrich your community now and forever.

How are Planned Gifts Used?

Most often planned gifts are earmarked for an endowment fund. Typically, the principal of an endowment gift is invested and kept in perpetuity. Only earnings or a portion of the earnings are used each year for specified purposes.

Endowment earnings can be a major source of revenue for a United Way’s mission. Specifically, an endowment should:

  • Increase unrestricted community fund dollars available
  • Provide fiscal stability and long-term planning
  • Underwrite strategic operations costs to lower costs and increase efficiency

Fore more information on Planned Giving contact Marianne Ferris, United Way’s leadership giving director.