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January 2019 Newsletter

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Planned Giving Mentor

Wayne Olson, JD Consulting Associate (Eastern Division)

S. Renee Brida, JD Senior Associate and Lawyer (Western Division)

Professional Partnerships: Hospice Philanthropy Group L.L.C.


Quote for the day: To be a good loser is to learn how to win. - Carl Sandburg

Quickie quiz:....Which state should your high net worth donors move to to have the lowest total tax burden while living and dead?.....Answer below.

Senior Spirit.....Click the Senior Spirit link (below left) for a copy of the latest articles from Certified Senior Advisors

Welcome Wayne Olson.....Wayne Olson J.D. has joined Connell and Associates as a consulting associate. Wayne is known far and wide for his many books, articles and presentations to planned gift audiences. He will assist in coverage while I am traveling internationally. Review his expertise and experience via his current resume.

Past issues of the Newsletter are available in the Newsletter Archives

To subscribe to this newsletter E-mail and put Subscribe in the subject line


The Philanthropy Alliance your one stop for real estate gifts......There is greater net worth in real estate than in the security holdings of Americans. Are you getting your share of real estate gifts?

As individuals age one goal I often hear is the question “How can I turn the real estate I own into something I can use in my my retirement years?”

The answer may lie in using the unique umbrella of services offered by The Philanthropy Alliance (TPA). TPA’s goal is to simplify charitable gifts of real estate. This accomplished by combining the expertise and purchasing power of The Reality Gift Fund, eVantage Services and CBRE. All are explained below.

The major advantage for small and medium charities is they will be able to offer strategy and gift alternative to prospects by partnering with the expertise and financial resources of combined forces of The Philanthropy Alliance.

Simply stated there are two phase of a real estate gift, the evaluation phase and the donation phase. TPA takes care of both processes.

TPA evaluates any gifts of real estate, except timeshare, located anywhere in the USA. It accepts outright gifts and provides partial cash payment for bargain sales. It allows donors to support one or multiple charities with outright gifts, life income arrangements and even accepts debt encumbered real estate.

Important to the process, the charity is always involved to protect your valuable donor relations.

For further information or to explore how TPA can assist with your real estate gift contact:
Realty Gift Fund, Chase Magnuson, 714-815-8889 or

A qualified 501(c)3 tax-exempt entity formed to accept charitable gifts of real estate of any type…anywhere…either as an outright gift or by providing a partial cash payment under a bargain sale; to hold and reposition assets for income production or sale; and to share the net proceeds with other nonprofit's designated by a shared gift agreement. RGF supports the full spectrum of solutions popular to planned giving, and educates the diverse spectrum of stakeholders on how gifts of real estate can make a meaningful difference for the charitable world.

A WBENC certified women-owned business affiliated with Orlans Group. The Orlans Group of companies provide residential and commercial real estate services to more than 200 of the nation’s largest financial institutions, as well as nonprofit's. The Orlans companies provide a menu of services from initial property due diligence, through acceptance and disposition. Our team serves as a single point of contact providing real estate title, acquisition, end-to-end transaction management and sales services.
The largest full-service real estate and investment organization in the world with more than 80,000 employees world-wide, offering a broad range of real estate services with offices across the country. CBRE offers critical local knowledge and expertise for donation review, property acquisition and disposition including market analysis, environmental assessment, appraisal, property management and lease administration.


7 Charitable Strategies to Decrease Taxes and Increase Income.....Is the title of my new educational seminar for prospects and financial advisors. Plan ahead to prepare your prospects for the effect of the 2018 tax laws changes. The seminar covers the recent tax law changes that effect charitable giving, the stages of income and estate planning, reviews good and bad gift assets, and provides 10 examples of gift techniques to increase income and decrease taxes. PowerPoint presentation covered in 49 slides.

The seminar should be scheduled for 1.5 hours to allow sufficient time for discussion and questions.

The cost is $2,500 per presentation day plus a maximum of $500 in travel costs. Individual consultations with prospects may be arranged to follow the presentation or you may secure another consulting day at an additional cost.

To reserve a summer or fall date for this seminar simply send me an E-Mail.


The Nature Conservancy reports 20 to 25% of total fund raising revenue is from estates and planned gifts....What is your charity percentage for last year or for the last 5 years? Share your results with me as I would like to begin to build a data base for different type charities.

To share your results use this link: E-Mail.


Marketing Idea #1.... Legacy brochures.....A significant Legacy Circle brochure is the centerpiece of any planned gift effort. By significant, I mean it does not fit into a #10 envelope because size matters. The brochure should be printed in a large color format to indicate the significance of your long term efforts.

Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids kicked of their program in 2018 and I offer their brochure as a template for what can be accomplished. A legacy brochure should include a statement of your mission, a short history of your accomplishments and, as appropriate, plans for the future.

Since Gilda’s Club was born out of Generosity and Philanthropy to provide free emotional healthcare to children, adults, families, and friends of any kind of cancer issues or support for grieving families, they have a compelling case.

The brochure should define the mission of the Legacy Circle, what it takes to become a member, its benefits, and the recognition for future support.

The Gilda’s Club brochure simply explains the choices of how to create a legacy gift. You can choose from a gift for the future, a gift that pays you during life, or a gift that suits your personal and financial needs. Support materials are available to further explain the impact of the gift chosen.

Directions on how to follow up are important. The brochure includes a specific name (Daryl Vogal), phone number, and web site address.

A personal testimonial adds to the impact and shows one is not along in creating a legacy gift.

See the full brochure here.


Marketing Idea #2......Life Insurance to provide life income via a charitable gift annuity.....With the increase in the estate tax exemption to $11,400,000 (2019) for each individual, there are countless life insurance policies that are no longer needed for their original purpose of paying estate taxes.

Many of these policies may be converted with low tax implications into a fixed guaranteed lifetime income with an exchange to a charitable gift annuity (CGA).

See this ARTICLE for a basic example of a life insurance to CGA conversion.


Plan your 2019 PG activities using an Excel spreadsheet.....Start the year off right with an adjustable planning calendar for planned gift activities. You can adjust the headings to fit your specific promotional activities. As you develop your calendar consider how many times you will contact your donors and prospects. Do you have a Legacy event? Will you be trying postcard promotions? How about trying a new seminar for your top prospects. Have you tried advertisements in your house organ or local newspaper? Is there a method you could use to piggyback planned giving information in your annual fund appeal?

Download your planning calendar HERE


Finding planned gift donors. A Primer - Part 2....2nd in a series of thoughts to consider when you are identifying, cultivating and asking for planned gift commitments.

Keep in mind the following: "In 2014 Robert F. Sharpe cited the following statistics: 1) the most common time period between a will that contains a charitable bequest and the donor's death is just one year. 2) Just over 50% of bequests come from those who pass away within four years of signing their final will and 83% within 10 years."

When we left part 1, I listed three types of planned gift prospects: Bequest prospects, charitable gift annuity prospects, and charitable remainder trust prospects, and indicated most prospects are already in your donor base.

Let’s refine the identification process a little more systematically and add key criteria. Many of your best prospects will fit one or more of the criteria listed below.

Here are some traditional criteria to consider.

1. Age (60+) logic tells us to work with the oldest first.
2. Single, never married, divorced or widowed, lifestyle is a major consideration.
3. Couples without children.
4. Couples with successful children.
5. Female, studies show females outlive males and are more likely to leave a distribution in the form of a planned gift.
6. Past donor history or volunteer involvement with your charity is important. Donors must care to support you. Pay attention to those who make multiple donations or recurring donations. Donors who give using multiple gift channels indicate a deep involvement with your charity.
7. Making a difference - interest in specific a program or project they are fond of supporting so deep involvement in your mission.
8. Ability as indicated by known or hidden net worth, personal capital of appreciated property assets: stocks, real estate, business interests or personal social capital supporting similar charities.

Bequest donors: All charities should have a handout showing the many ways donors can structure their bequest. This handout also needs to be available as a web site downloadable PDF file.

Bequest gifts can take many forms such as a 1) specific gift amount, 2) a specific gift type, 3) a percentage of the estate, 4) a percentage of the residue of an estate, or 5) the entire residue considering all other provisions of a will. Additionally, a bequest can be contingent, which only takes effect after other provisions cannot be satisfied. A bequest can be structured to provide a life income arrangement or gift annuity for a surviving beneficiary or family member. SAMPLE BEQUEST ARRANGEMENTS FROM HAVEN HOSPICE.

Why would a donor choose a bequest arrangement over a life income agreement which may increase their income and decrease their taxes?

Among the several reasons are the following: ARTICLE CONTINUED


10 Steps to help protect a spouse.....A recent published a list of steps that can easy the burden on tomorrow's survivor by helping folks to get their affairs in order. I am adapting the article here as often times fundraiser's are called upon to provide helpful information to surviving spouses.

Original article HERE

1. Gather financial papers: Store deeds, passports, insurance policies, estate documents and statements from financial accounts in a fireproof box at home, where survivors can easily find them.

2. Make a must call list: Contact information for accountant, lawyer and other financial professionals.

3. Share passwords: Keep a master list of all usernames and passwords.

4. Update beneficiaries: Make sure beneficiary designations for all accounts are up-to-date and reflect your wishes.

5. Check credit cards: Make sure your name is on the credit card account. In most states, when a spouse dies, you won't be responsible for any debt on a card that is not in your name. But you also won't be able to use it, and will have to reapply for credit in your own name.

6. Set up advance directives: All spouses will need health care powers of attorney to designate the person you want too make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. You'll also need a living will that spells out what measures you want the doctor to take to prolong your life.

7. Designate a money person: Each spouse will need a financial power of attorney so you can name a trusted person to make money decisions for you if you are unable to do so.

8. Review will and trusts: Do this every few years or when there is a significant change in your life or finances.

9. Discuss funeral plans: This can save thousands of dollars by letting the surviving spouse know it's OK not to choose the most expensive funeral.

10. Learn how bills are paid: Keep a list of how bills are paid so the survivor doesn't miss a payment or overdraw an account.


Gift annuity rate update and laminated gift annuity rate charts.....If you would like a laminated rate chart for the most recent ACGA July 1,2018 rates simply request one using the following E-mail request and put Laminated Rate Chart in the subject line and be sure your signature line has your full address. As of this writing the rates have been announced and the charts will be mailed for use beginning July, 2018.

Download a PDF chart of single life $10,000 cash gift and two-life $100,000 security gift for ages 60,65,70,75,80 HERE.


How clients' philanthropy helps advisor bottom line....Advisors struggle with an inherent dilemma when their clients donate significant sums to charity. The more those clients give, the fewer assets planners have to manage.

Reprint of article


Donor stories.....Science shows us that telling donor stories is one of the most powerful things that we an do to change giving attitudes and influence giving habits. Science makes us believe but stories make us care.

Have a good donor story or a link to a story in one of your publications? Share it using this link E-Mail.


Quiz Answer....Wyoming has the lowest total tax burden in the USA. Income tax: $151,562, Property tax: $14,235, Estate tax: $1,473,800, Total tax burden: $1,639,597 (Source: Online tools from Smart Assets)


News and Notes....

FOR THE YEAR – The S&P 500 lost 4.4% (total return) during 2018, breaking a streak of 9 consecutive “up” years for the $22.1 trillion index that was created in 1957. The raw index fell 6.2% but after factoring in the impact of reinvested dividends, the overall decline was reduced by 1.8 percentage points. The S&P 500 consists of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry group representation. It is a market value weighted index with each stock's weight in the index proportionate to its market value (source: BTN Research)

SUPER SENIORS - The number of Americans at least age 75 is projected to double over the next 20 years, rising from 23 million in 2020 to 45 million in 2040 (source: Census Bureau).

THEY FORGOT TO PLAN - 62% of the 43 million Americans on Social Security receive at least 50% of their retirement income via their monthly Social Security benefit (source: Social Security Administration).

MILLIONS OF SENIORS DEPEND ON SOCIAL SECURITY - to pay the bills in retirement. That dependence might be reaching an unhealthy extreme. In fact, 66% of seniors believe that Social Security will be their primary source of income over the course of their retirement, according to a new Transamerica study. That means a host of older Americans will inevitably wind up putting their finances at risk.

COMPLETE YOUR TAXES NOW - As a result of the December 2017 “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” 65% of US taxpayers will pay less in taxes for tax year 2018 than they did in tax year 2017, 6% will pay more and the remaining 29% will experience no material change up or down (source: Tax Policy Center).

SOME DON’T PAY ANYTHING - 50.2 million of the 150.3 million tax returns filed in tax year 2016 (the latest year tax data is available), legally did not pay any federal income tax, i.e., 33% of all returns paid nothing. The remaining 100.1 million tax returns paid $1.45 trillion of federal income tax (source: Internal Revenue Service).

DIDN’T MAKE ANYTHING - Although 33% of the 150.3 million tax returns filed in tax year 2016 did not pay any federal income tax, the average adjusted gross income of these “zero payers” was only $12,900 (source: IRS).

SOME MAKE A LOT - 5% of the 150.3 million tax returns filed for tax year 2016 reported adjusted gross income (AGI) of at least $200,000, received 35% of all AGI and paid 58% of all federal income tax (source: IRS).

CRAZY HIGH - For the 13 consecutive years from 1951-1963, the top individual marginal tax rate was at least 91%. The top individual marginal tax rate for 2019 is 37% (source: Internal Revenue Service).

ESTATE TAXES - An estimated 2.8 million Americans died in 2018. Of the 2.8 million deaths, an estimated 4,000 of those deceased individuals (i.e., 1 in every 700 deaths) died with an estate worth more $11.2 million, the maximum dollar amount that can be passed estate tax-free per decedent with proper tax planning (source: Tax Policy Center).

MORE THAN HALF - 53% of American taxpayers reported less than $40,000 of adjusted gross income for tax year 2016 (source: Internal Revenue Service).

NOT STOPPING - 48% of working Americans surveyed in 2018 anticipate working past age 65, up from just 16% of workers who felt that way 30 years earlier (source: Employee Benefit Research Institute).

SITTING PRETTY - 40% of American homeowners own their home free and clear of any debt, i.e., no outstanding mortgage or existing home equity loan. Of the 60% of homeowners with debt, the median outstanding balance is $126,000 (source: Census Bureau).


Kudos Corner - Celebrating gifts of all types and sizes

In this section I periodically highlight some recent gift expectancies and gift program elements I think will be helpful and informative, not all gifts are included.

(Check back next issue for list of achievements)



James E. Connell and Associates is a national consulting service which has been devoted to increasing

resources for charities using the power of charitable estate and gift planning techniques for over 40 years.

Pinehurst office: PO Box 3335, Pinehurst, NC 28374
Phone: 910-295-6800

Northeast office: 20982 Bayside Avenue, Rock Hall, MD 21661

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