Assets: the Missing Component of Capital Campaigns


There’s a huge piece missing in most capital campaigns today. Gifts of Assets are the key to leading your campaign with historic results for your ministry or organization.These days, capital campaigns are commodities. Everybody kind of does them the same way:A need is identified. A feasibility study is done. A campaign goal is set. The case for support is communicated through various marketing channels. Solicitations are made at various events and in person. Honors are given. Acknowledgements are made. And this cycle is repeated until the goal is met—or nearly met.Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The only real differences in these cookie-cutter campaigns are the personality of the capital campaign consultant or how well the church or nonprofit staff organized the campaign.

But there’s a missing component here that separates the mediocre, minor league campaigns from campaigns that bring in massive funding that can bring about a profound impact on a community—and it doesn’t depend on how well your rockstar marketing team performs (So go ahead… give ‘em a break.).

The Glass Ceiling

The missing component of most capital campaigns is that there is no cultivation or solicitation of Gifts of Assets.

Most all gifts cultivated and solicited during capital campaigns are current, cash-based gifts. These gifts are straightforward and relatively fast transactions, which is why we tend to focus on them.

But cash-based giving places an invisible ceiling on how much money your campaign can raise.

You see, even wealthy people have a limited ability to give in cash because the majority of their wealth is locked up in non-liquid assets. Most Americans have about 91% of their net worth in assets—which means cash-based gifts can only come from the remaining 9% that donors have in liquid assets, such as savings and cash on hand.

But on the other hand, your donors can give transformative gifts… if someone spoke to them about giving Gifts of Assets.

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

If you want to break the glass ceiling in your capital campaigns, you’ve got to empower your donors to unlock the transformative gifts lying dormant in their asset portfolio.

You’ve got to focus on those financial leaders within your donor database who could make some kind of asset gift if they were informed and motivated to do so… just like this donor of a Giving Crowd client did.

A Transformative Gift that Broke the Record

During a conversation about their upcoming capital campaign, a potential donor said to the giving officer, “I’d be happy to make a campaign gift, but right now, I’m trying to sell this piece of property. Once I’m through with the sale, I’ll make a gift to the capital campaign.”

Luckily, the gift officer contacted us right away to come speak with his donor about his charitable goals and how he could benefit both himself and the charity from the sale of the property.

This is exactly the kind of donor we want to talk to!

During our conversation with the donor, he realized that he could save himself thousands of dollars in capital gains tax by giving the property to the charity as a Gift of Assets. So before he sold the property, he gifted it to the charity: 60% of the property was to be managed by a trust and the other 40% of the property was to be owned outright by the charity.

The charity and the trust then sold the property to the buyer: 60% of the sale’s proceeds went to the Charitable Remainder Trust set up beforehand, and 40% went to the charity in cash.

That 40% added up to $357,000 toward the capital campaign. Up until that point, the largest gift this donor had ever given to the charity had been $25,000. But this Gift of Asset unlocked the donor’s ability to give a record-breaking amount that he never could before from cash!

Benefits of Asset-based Giving for Donors

I’m sure you can imagine how much this Gift of Asset benefited the charity, but think about how much this Gift of Asset benefited the donor.

First of all, giving an asset-based gift saved the donor hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital gains tax. Secondly, it gave him a tax deduction for the year in which he gifted it… and for five years going forward. Lastly, the 60% gift through the charitable trust provided he and his wife a lifetime of income from the Charitable Remainder Trust.

How to Cultivate Record-Breaking Gifts of Assets

The first thing you have to do to begin unlocking your donors’ potential giving for your next campaign through asset-based gifts is to start now. These kinds of gifts take time.

One time after a presentation I gave at a church, the pastor stopped me and said, “Richard, I could kick myself. A year ago, one of our largest donors sold his business, and we weren’t having this conversation with him.”

How sad is that?

If you want the shade today, the best time to plant an oak tree was 20 years ago. Cultivation and solicitation of asset-based gifts take time. Start now.

Identify and Educate

That leads us to how you cultivate Gifts of Assets among the financial leaders in your donor base or congregation. You can’t simply go up to them and ask them about their net worth and the plans they have to sell off their assets.

So your job is to identify potential asset-based givers and educate them on the benefits and concepts of asset-based giving.

Show them through your marketing messages how asset-based gifts can drive your mission forward. Give them examples of how asset-based giving can also benefit them and their loved ones financially. Demonstrate how gift annuities and other such planned gifts can provide stability for their loved ones in the future as well as secure their legacy.

And when the time comes for those critical conversations, bring in some help.

Real help when you need it

At The Giving Crowd, we’ve got more than 100 years of combined experience among our staff consulting with donors on how to use their assets to make the impact they dream of while maximizing the financial benefit for themselves and their families.

Every sale of property, business, or other major asset takes time and pre-sale planning. These business owners and entrepreneurs need time and help to think through the benefits and possibilities of Gifts of Assets.

More than likely, the financial leaders in your church or donor base are not going to open up to you about their net worth or their asset portfolio. And with such a conflict of interest, it’s helpful to bring in outside expertise as a service from your organization or ministry to your donor. We call it a “safe third party”.

That’s why The Giving Crowd is here.

Our asset-based giving consultants can help you have the conversations you need to have with your donors in order to cultivate, solicit, and execute record-breaking Gifts of Assets for your capital campaign or annual fund.

Ready to make the call? It’s free and there’s no obligation.

So call us right now—and see if we’re a good fit for you and your donors.