Conversations with Kim: Non-Profits

My husband and I are in our mid-thirties but have decided to write our wills as we have our first child on the way. It feels morbid, but we want to make sure she’ll always be taken care of. While we were writing them, we learned about planned giving and are very interested in the idea of it. What are some questions we need to ask the nonprofit about how they would use the funds?

Thanks for your question. This is outside my specific finance area of expertise, so I reached out to my friends Jennifer Wackerhagen to help define specific questions you should ask a nonprofit before you include them in your planned giving.

1. What is your vision for the future? It’s important that the nonprofit have a strategic plan and a track record of making mission–driven change.

2. Is the organization fiscally sound? Most nonprofit organizations post their financials and audits online, so their website is a great place to start looking. Also, look them up on Charity Navigator or GuideStar. These are two great websites to search 501(c)3 organizations’ financial statements.

3. What type of gifts does a nonprofit accept? A bequest is a cash gift given to a charity from an estate after someone has died. But there are also other options like setting up a trust or a donor-advised fund. Find out if the organization can accept appreciated stock or other assets.

4. Are there specific, ongoing areas of need that donors can support? You might want to ensure that your donation can be directed to an area that you’re passionate about. Depending on what you find, you may want to restrict your gift or determine that you’d like it to go to the area of greatest need.

These are just a few questions you can ask your charity of choice when considering a planned gift. You can also talk to your accountant, financial planner, or attorney about the benefits of planned giving.

– Jennifer Wackerhagen, President & CEO at United Way of Blount County

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