How to Create a Planned Giving Program

A planned giving program is a unique way to ensure that a donor‘s assets are bequeathed to a nonprofit accordingly. If you are offering a lot of money in your lifetime, you want to be sure that your assets or monies are being deferred accordingly and that the proper tax laws are being obeyed. A donor can get seriously clipped if they aren’t following the right guidelines. If you are setting up a program after death, you want to make sure that your heirs manage your giving program accordingly. When it comes down to it, you can’t simply set up a planned giving program – you need to keep a number of things in mind. Indeed, this kind of program is highly complex and will require a number of vehicles to really manage and build the program with no loopholes or other fiscal roadblocks. Here is how to create a planned giving program.

  1. Make sure that you set up guidelines and policies – a lawyer can help with this process, but you want to make sure that no flimsy laws or loopholes can cause your giving program to fall apart. A simple loophole could cause your donations to start accruing interest or taxation, which could negate the entire purpose of the giving program.
  2. Make sure that you know where your money is going – when you are working with a nonprofit, you want to follow the money trail very closely. A lot of people don’t follow this trail and don’t realize that it can lead them down a dark path, until it’s too late. If your money isn’t being used wisely, you won’t want to be in a particular program. If you plan on donating to multiple nonprofits, you want to follow the money even more carefully.
  3. Make sure to work with professionals – 43 years ago, a man by the name of Robert F. Sharpe coined the word “planned giving.” Today, the Sharpe Group, which still carries on his legacy, is committed to helping individuals create a planned giving program that works. There are complex legal machinations to sort through, so you want a team that has decades of combined experience.
  4. Make sure that you have a budget in place – sure, you can donate a significant portion of your net worth, but how much is too much? This is why you want to set up a budget. You usually want to work with your accountant to decide what to give. If you wind up giving too much, it may become unsustainable – you don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you can’t get your money out.
  5. Make sure that you really are planning – the whole purpose of a planned giving program is to have your capital doled out according to a very strict plan. If the plan isn’t obeyed or veers off course, your capital could become threatened. In the end, this is why you want to do your research and you want to know who exactly is overseeing the dispersal of your donations.

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