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Scott Thomas, ChFC®, CAP®, CKA®, RICP®

Universities and Hospitals tend to get the largest bequests. Why?

Several reasonable conclusions but not a single reason alone, rather overall stewardship of organization and its donor base.

Applying excellence to organizations finances- proper accounting and best practices including cash management and investment committees.  Another area is systems around the donor communication and reporting.  Of course the emotional payback of business success or given another chance at life due to great health experience.  Some say the biggest reason is consistent reminders in the community of a presence that is making a difference.  All of these are important. 

So where does this leave the middle sized nonprofit trying to gather more bequests and planned gifts and larger gifts?  Must seek best practices and hire and train to improve and create systems that work well within the budget limitations.  Setting vision for more and staying on the mission and vision of the organization so the two hero’s of philanthropy can best shine.  Hero of those served and hero called donor.  All the rest is facilitation and guidance and helping those two hero groups to connect in meaningful way.

Let me challenge all the small and mid sized nonprofits to take on bold and important path to lift up the hero’s and get focused on improving systems and little things that add up to be big things.  One example you have non-interest bearing or low interest bearing accounts earning almost zero.  In 2018 money market rates online are north of 1.5% and US Treasuries short term can net around 2%.  Think about what that would tell your board and donors if you have $2 million in cash currently yielding only  $600 year and could be earning $40,000?

Always remember your Form 990 is a public document and is viewed and evaluated for the various costs and expenses as well as successes of fundraising or savvy management.  The case or mission statement lived out is emotional door that opens wallets and purses.  Donors today are thinking about impact and sustainability and are these people good stewards of what is entrusted to them?


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Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck