Wealth-Time-to-Say-Yes

Just Say Yes!

Did you hear about the $20 million dollar gift that went elsewhere? All it took was one misguided sentence: “We don’t accept those things, ma’am.” It happened like this: A small nonprofit was approached by a woman who wanted to donate a piece of real estate. But the development team was nervous about this alternative type of gift — rightly so, as the risks and effort to sell a property can outweigh the return to the charity — and instead of exploring it further, they simply rejected it without even asking more questions.

One’s Loss Other’s Gain

The woman simply found another charity willing to accept her property gift. And that charity was $20 M richer overnight. The fact is, many (maybe even most) nonprofits fear gifts of real estate. Most Major Gift officers have a horror story in their back pocket. They avoid real estate at all costs, refusing to even consider them in their gift acceptance policies. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Even the smallest shop can seek help with transformational, out-of-the-ordinary gifts. “A savvy fundraiser once told me, ‘My goal is to fix social issues in San Francisco, not spend long hours on paperwork pushing through gifts when I have a partner ready to handle everything for me,’ ” says Brad Caswell of The Acadia Squam Group, which counsels on gifts of real estate and complicated gifts. Bryan Clontz of Charitable Solutions, who works with Brad, says that “100 percent of the gifts we process were initially rejected by a charity.”

Good for Your Career

Learning how to deal with gifts of real estate is good for your career, your charity, and the nation at large. A number of the largest charities have figured out a way to just say yes, including finding a partner to help with the gift. Why do so many dismiss it? Just because a gift acceptance policy doesn’t include it? I would like to hear from you because I have spent countless hours trying to figure this out.

Visit a Specialist

I think it’s just as foolish to use WebMD to self-diagnose an illness rather than visit a specialist, as it is trying to process a gift of real estate yourself versus seeking out a professional who handles these many times a year. It’s even more foolish to avoid them altogether. The solution is simple: Next time, just say yes — and then give us a call. Category: Real Estate Donations

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