Transformational Gifts: How Asset Giving Changes Nonprofit Organizations and the Giver


We want you and your mission to be fully resourced — but not just so you have money in the coffers. Here’s how asset giving can radically change your organization as well as the giver.

At The Giving Crowd, we like to call asset gifts and planned gifts transformational gifts. At first blush, you might think we’re saying this to come up with a cooler way to say “asset-based gift.” But this is more than semantics.

Asset and planned gifts have real potential to transform both nonprofits and givers as well as transforming the beneficiary of the nonprofit’s mission.

Asset-based #giving and #plannedgiving transform both #charities and #donors. Click To Tweet

While this happens at every level of giving, the transformational effects of giving much are much more visible when an individual chooses to give of their assets or estate.

How Asset and Planned Giving Changes Donors

Empowered Stewardship

The first major change in donors is that they begin to understand the concept of biblical stewardship on a whole new level. Donors who give of their assets — whether it’s through the sale of a property, a gift of real estate, or stocks & bonds — have already begun to believe that everything they own should be considered in their giving.

Donors who give of their assets or estates have come to realize that they are stewards of much more than cash. They are stewards of their time, influence, and their assets.

Empowered Finances

When a donor begins to give of their assets or estate, they begin to see the possibilities of changing their tax liability. A surprising number of high net worth individuals do not know how they can lower the amount of taxes they have to pay if they gave to charity.

Understanding just how many options are available to them is empowering — it allows the donor to put their money where they really want it to go, instead of the big, black hole of government.

Empowered Individuals

Everyone’s got limitations on their cash flow. Even for high net worth individuals, there’s just only so much you can give in cash at any one time. We’ve said it before, but 91% of the average American’s wealth is made up of the assets they own, while only 9% is liquid.

91% of the average American’s wealth is in assets, not cash. #assetgiving #plannedgiving #charity #impact Click To Tweet

This puts an immediate cap on the amount of good that a donor can do through their giving — but when a donor gives of their assets, the cap is blown away and all the potential impact they can have through their assets is released.

It’s a transformational moment when a donor realizes that they can produce exponentially greater impact in the area(s) they care about simply by giving of the 91% they already have.

Empowered Time

Donors are changed when they realize that they can give their biggest gifts now rather than wait until they die or have more cash (which almost never happens). There is a release of joy when a person finds out that they can do something now about the cause or people they care about. Asset giving changes donors in how they see their time.

How Asset and Planned Giving Changes Organizations

At the transactional level, everyone understands what money can do for an organization. Appropriate resourcing provides materials, equipment, facilities, and staff to steward charitable funding well. Money is absolutely essential to keeping a nonprofit’s infrastructure humming along so that real impact can happen within the scope of the vision.

But giving does much more than purchase the things necessary to do the job. It also changes the nonprofit or ministry fundamentally in several key areas.

Donor Care

Organizations that implement strategies to cultivate asset and estate gifts automatically change how they care for donors. In fact, they ramp up donor care to all new levels as they begin to seek out how they can make their donors’ dreams of making a big impact come true.

When #nonprofits cultivate asset gifts & #plannedgiving, they view donor care as a core thing they do. Click To Tweet

When organizations begin to cultivate asset gifts and estate gifts, they view donor care as one of the main things they do as an organization rather than one more task to check off.

Long-Term Perspective

If you look at nonprofits (especially colleges and universities) who consistently cultivate asset and planned gifts, you’ll see that they have a long vision for their revenue. Nonprofits that do not cultivate asset gifts spend every moment thinking of today’s cash flow — they’re constantly in a state of crisis fundraising.

But when nonprofits start cultivating asset gifts, they begin to focus on future revenues. They know that tending to tomorrow will take care of today’s needs eventually.

Holistic View of Resources

Nonprofits that neglect asset and estate gifts tend to have a one-dimensional view of resources: cash. All they think they need (and therefore, all they ever ask for) is cash gifts. But as we see above, 91% of the average American’s wealth is NOT in liquid cash — there are so many more dimensions to explore when it comes to resources!

So when I or one of my colleagues here at The Giving Crowd begin to work with our clients and they begin their journey into cultivating asset gifts, we watch their view of the resources available to them expand as they realize all of the possibilities, not just the one possibility they always went for.

Becoming more Competitive

It’s an awkward truth, but the nonprofit sector has competition when it comes to fundraising. You might have noticed that for every one mission, there are at least four different nonprofits working on it — and all four of them are asking the same donors to give of their 9% of cash funds available.

Examples of Charities for Drinking Water

With at least 1.5 million nonprofits operating in the United States alone, the “competition“ for the 9% of available cash gifts is enormously high. But competition for the 91% of non-liquid assets that can be given is relatively low. Historically, it’s mostly universities and hospitals that are cultivating and receiving gifts of assets and estate gifts.

So you can imagine how deep the transformation is for a nonprofit that begins to cultivate asset and estate gifts. In a way of speaking, they’ve left the pond where a 100 people are fishing for an ocean with only 10 people fishing.

The change to asset and planned giving transforms the way a nonprofit operates because the consistent, perennial revenues that eventually begin coming in allow it to perform its mission with higher and higher levels of excellence without having to fight for every dollar to come in.

Ready for a Change?

Unfortunately, because so many nonprofit leaders are only focused on today’s revenue, and because donors are only given the option to give in cash right now, I’ve seen so many opportunities for transformation pass by untapped.

But when the heart and mind of both the organization and the giver have been transformed in how they view stewardship, vision, and resources than real transformation can take place.

Are you ready to begin cultivating transformational gifts that will change you and your donors? Then, let’s talk.

The call is free, and there’s no obligation to see how we could help you transform the way you raise funds and how you create impact for your donors.