The Numbers Don’t Lie: Planned Giving is a Lifeboat Against Inflation

Numbers Don't Lie

If your board needs even more proof that planned giving works and is a lifeboat in stormy waters, here it is:

A new report from Giving USA shows that despite charitable giving reaching a new high for 2023, inflation took a hefty toll.

Donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations were all up … but were unable to outpace the rate of inflation. The only type of gift that held its own was the simplest and most common planned gift of all: the bequest.

Not only that, but giving by bequest was also up the most, by almost 5 percent.

According to the report, “total giving grew 1.9% in current dollars, reaching a new high … [but] growth in total giving did not outpace the higher-than-average (4.1%) inflation rate: adjusted for inflation, giving declined by 2.1%.”

Bequests, meanwhile, stayed flat at 0.6 percent.

The report also states that in current dollars, giving grew in all categories of nonprofits that receive contributions:  religion; human services; education; to foundations; public-society benefit; health; international affairs; arts, culture, and humanities; and environment and animals. But when adjusted for inflation, giving to religion and international affairs both dropped.

What Does This Mean for Your Nonprofit?

It means you need to double down on your legacy giving programs. It means you need to increase your legacy giving marketing spend, not decrease it. And it means you need to move your planned giving program OFF THE BACK BURNER AND DIRECTLY TO THE FRONT OF THE STOVE!

We’ve said it a million times: Planned giving works! It provides your nonprofit with a lifeline of support. It ensures long-term sustainability and amplified impact for generations to come. It creates a lifeboat for times when the financial waters are rough and annual donations are down. And it gives your annual giving program a shot in the arm, too: Study after study shows planned giving increases the number of annual gifts!

If you don’t have a planned giving program, now’s the time to start one. And bequests are the best way to dip your toe in the waters. They’re the easiest to give, the most popular (and growing!) to give, and the easiest for your nonprofit to receive.

Inflation is up and eating any gains you make. The stock market is a rollercoaster, and the ride shows no signs of slowing. It’s high time to take planned giving seriously. And Giving USA’s report backs up what we’ve been saying all along: Planned giving works.

So, what are you waiting for?

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