Wisdom Wednesdays: Sources of and Motivations for Major Gifts in 2012

by Jon Nelson

Each year brings with it new challenges.  Along with these challenges, however, are also many new opportunities.  What are these opportunities and how can you leverage them to see real growth in 2012?

Holly Hall writes about this in, “Understanding Where the Big Gifts Will Come From in 2012,” for The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “Prospecting” blog.  She recaps a  webinar presented by consultants Robert F. Sharpe and Barlow Mann “on fund-raising advice and predictions for the coming year.”  (The webinar is still available and linked from the article.)

Jon NelsonHall’s most prominent point is that in 2012 we will likely see major changes to the tax code, many of which could affect allowances for charitable deductions.  However, these won’t take effect until 2013, so in 2012 many major donors will be searching for organizations that not only will help them achieve their normal philanthropic goals, but will work with them and their advisers in making the most of current tax incentives.

“President Obama has proposed limiting how much the wealthiest Americans can write off on their taxes for making gifts, and though Congress has not agreed so far, concern about the deficit could give the plan more traction in 2012,” Hall writes.  “Donors who are worried about the potential for new limits in 2013 may be motivated to give in 2012, or accelerate payments on pledges from past years, so they can get a healthy tax break.”

This could be your ticket to success in 2012.  Major donors are already highly motivated to give, and now they have another reason to do so.  Work to understand what makes your prospects enthusiastic about giving, and deliver on that.  With all the current reasons to give, donors may not wait long to decide, so don’t miss your chance!

As you close out year-end gifts, remember to also look ahead to 2012, and get ready to take advantage of these unique donor motivations.  Do some research through Hall’s blog post, the webinar and other sources so that you can better understand what will precipitate donations in 2012, and be ready to give donors the means to accomplish their goals.  Better yet, don’t wait for the donors to find you — actively seek them out and show them you care before they are found by another organization.  Now more than ever, being proactive and anticipating the climate is vital to growth, and even survival.

Jon Nelson, of Beloit, Wis., works in Communication Services for ALDE.  He is also Principal of Nelson Business Communications, LLC.

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