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September 2020 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: Which road are you following with your fundraising?

"Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be" Sonia Ricotti via email post of Cornerstone Hospice.

Quickie quiz:...... How much income does it take to rank in the top 5% of American taxpayers.

Probable answers - $510,111, $423,456, $309,453, $217,913, or $188,927. (answer below)

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

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.


Fundraising for nonprofit board member by Wayne Olson..A book review.....

Fundraising for Nonprofit Board Members is an essential resource for all board members and an absolute addition to the library of every fundraiser.

Wayne Olson, author, colleague, motivational speeker and planned gift director, fourth and latest book continues his insights and impact on our profession. Targeted directly to board members it is also a must read for fundraisers. (for Wayne's complete bio see link on left)

Have you ever wanted to outline the true responsibilities for board members?
• Have you ever searched for a real-life explanation of what it means to fundraise for the organization they serve?
• Have you ever needed to show examples of what others have accomplished with their commitment to service on a board?
• Do you often get frustrated with all the tasks of leadership and service to others?
• Can you spare a few hours to work up the courage to tell your board they are not doing a good job and you can’t do it alone?

If you are looking for a great source of board education and enlightenment Wayne’s book is for you.

I plan to purchase a few copies for a Free Clinic board I serve on and I think you should do the same for your board, and see how eyes open, and how hearts are affected as they judge themselves with the self-examination and discussions questions that flow from each chapter.

Sample quotes I underlined: 1. This book’s purpose is to help you (board member) master fundraising and be in a position to lead your nonprofit successfully. This is a real-world book.

2. You must have purpose and commitment. No idle members allowed. Board members are always one of the primary fundraisers.

3. Fundraising is about sharing a passion for the mission. Everything you need to know about fundraising, you learned before kindergarten. Fundraising is about doing great things for the mission you cherish enough to volunteer your time, your name and your resources.

4. As a board member it is your responsibility to make it easy for people to give.

Wayne is offering a 15% discount from the normal $24.00 purchase price. Use the discount code FRIEND in your cart. Also available on Amazon.

Website: then go to BOOKS to select and complete your purchase.


Tax Incentives 2021 for Charity Gifts.....1. Universal charitable deduction for cash gifts.....

The universal charitable deduction has not only been extended, but given a well-deserved upgrade. The new deduction is $300 for single filers and $600 for married couples filing jointly. This is available to taxpayers who take the standard deduction. This tax incentive is available for cash gifts to qualified charities (but not to supporting organizations or donor advised funds).

2. An extension of the cap on deductions for cash contributions.....

Contributions to public charities are generally limited to a percentage of a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI). The CARES Act lifted the cap on annual contributions for those who itemize, increasing it from 60% to 100% of AGI for 2020 (and now for 2021). Any excess contributions available can be carried over to the next five years. For corporations, the law raised the annual limit from 10% to 25% of taxable income.

Source: Stelter, 12/28/2020


Estate and Gift Tax Changes for 2021..... Estate Taxes - For 2021 the exemption for estate and gift taxes increases slightly to $11.7 million from $11.58 million per individual, or to $23.4 million for a couple. For clients who may be worried about a drastic decrease in the lifetime exclusion under the Biden administration, this might be the time to do some larger lifetime gifts to heirs before the limits decrease.

Gift Taxes - For 2021 the annual gift tax exclusion remains at $15,000, your clients can give gifts of $15,000 to as many individuals as they would like.

Standard Deduction Limits - The standard deduction for 2021 increases to $25,100 from $24,800 in 2020 for clients who are married and file jointly. The rates for single filers increase to $12,550 from $12,400 in 2020. For those filing as the head of the household the deduction increases to $18,800 from $18,650 in 2020.

Marketing Idea #1....Hillsdale College wants your charitable trust..... Each issue of the monthly newsletter "Imprimis" includes a tear-off sheet promoting a charitable gift planning option.

Here is a LINK to the "Put Your Trust in Hillsdale College!" promotion on charitable remainder trusts (CRT).



Marketing Idea #2....People Skills sometime trump Technology....That is the case for Journey Care Foundation, a Chicago area hospice charity with their email about end-of-year gift opportunities. The new rules from the SECURE and CARES Acts have created both opportunity and challenges for donors.

Journey Care found a better way. It added personalization to each gift opportunities by putting its philanthropic advisors front and center with full information and contact details.

I recommend you consider this approach both at year-end and periodically throughout the year as you promote estate and life income gifts.

Note the ending three paragraphs provide the required IRS qualifications for gift deductibility.

LINK to the promotion.


New Client.....Connell and Associates wecomes back Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, Norfolk, VA - Karen S. Gershman, Director of Philanthropy and the staff. CHKD is expanding planned gift options to their current "Lighting the Way for Mental Health" multimillion dollar campaign for a new pediatric Mental Health Hospital and Outpatient Center.


Create a Virtual Planned Giving Office for less than $10 per day.....Our basic Telephone Lite service provides an economical service with less risk and greater technical expertise from our team's decades of experience identifying, planning, solicitation and completing planned gift agreements.

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Download Virtual Flyer here - Download "What a planned giving consultant can do for you" here


IRA Legacy Act may be coming to a donor near you....Legacy IRA Act Supported By Nonprofits.....(source: Crescendo November, 2020)

The Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2020 (SSRA) is bipartisan legislation introduced by House Ways and Means Chairman, Richard Neal (D-MA), and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX). The SSRA included a modified version of the Legacy IRA Act.

Section 310 of SSRA increases the permitted qualified charitable distribution (QCD) under Section 408(d)(8)(A) from $100,000 to $130,000. In addition, SSRA permits a one-time election for a QCD to a life-income plan. While this may be completed only one time during life, it permits an IRA rollover of up to $130,000 to an immediate charitable gift annuity, a charitable remainder annuity trust or a standard charitable remainder unitrust. All payouts are ordinary income and must be paid to the qualified plan owner or owner and spouse.

Daniel J. Cardenali, President and CEO of Independent Sector and a coalition of nonprofits sent letters to Chairman Neal and Ranking Member Brady supporting the modified Legacy IRA Act. Cardenali was pleased that the bill will expand the charitable rollover contributions to Sections 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans.

He also noted, "We are grateful that your legislation includes modified provisions of the Legacy IRA Act, which would enable seniors to make tax-free contributions from their individual retirement accounts and charities through life-income plans." Cardenali noted that many middle-class Americans are not able to make large IRA gifts during their lifetime because they need income. This provision permits these middle-income donors to receive substantial retirement income and benefit charities with a future gift.

A coalition of over 40 charities sent a similar letter expressing their support. The coalition noted, "The Legacy IRA provision--as part of the broader Securing a Strong Retirement Act--will encourage more charitable giving by enabling seniors to make tax-free contributions from their IRAs to charities through life-income plans." The coalition noted that this is a very favorable option for seniors that will incentive more giving and help middle-income seniors to receive retirement payments.

The coalition concluded, "We strongly support the inclusion of the Legacy IRA Act as part of the Securing a Strong Retirement Act. America is stronger when everyone has the opportunity to give, to get involved, and to strengthen their communities."

Editor's Note: The coalition of over 40 nonprofits and associations is strongly supporting this modified version of the Legacy IRA Act. With strong support from charities and bipartisan agreement in Congress, there is a good chance for passage of SSRA in 2021. If it passes, the IRA rollovers to life-income plans will become available in January 2022.


Fidelity Charitable Allows Donors to Create Fund with Any Amount, No Matter How Small.....
is the headline of a recent Chronicle article about the administrative changes taking place at the America’s largest charity. I call donor advised funds a “Placeholder Charity” as donors receive the charitable income tax deduction immediately but there is no charitable mission impact.

Don’t get me wrong I am a fan of DAFs and a user of the TRowe Price Charitable Fund. I make DAF gifts to seed my philanthropy for my senior years during periods of high income or periods when I wish to itemize taxes by getting over the standard deduction threshold.

Fidelity Charitable and other DAFs have been under attack from many fronts to require greater annual distributions from their accounts so there is some charitable mission impact. Private foundations are required to grant 5% of their value every year and have excise fees of 2% on net investment income.

My prediction, change is coming to the DAF world it is only a matter of time congress sees this growing asset pool as another source of revenue.

LINK to Adam Daniels article.


A Surge in Bequests and other Planned Gifts...... Donors are showing increased interest in nearly all types of planned giving, and many are increasing the size of those deferred donations, according to a new survey of 328 non-profits from the fund-raising consultancy Marts & Lundy and the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners.


The Often Overlooked Annual Gift Exclusion..... Prospects should understand the surprising power in the annual exclusion benefits in their estate planning for family and friends. One of my favorite comments each year is "Never lose the benefit of a tax year for charitable support." You cannot get a tax year back. That also applies to the annual gift exclusion as Luke Harriman explains in the attached article.

Many folks make annual outright gifts to children and friends. Properly gifted they are not taxable. There is value in making gifts to children in trust so they don't spend it until it is needed. The same applies for gift to the popular 529 plans to support education of children and grandchildren.

LINK to article.


The American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) announced new rates

Below is my standing offer to provide a laminated gift annuity rate chart using the new rates.

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, 2020 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.


Harnessing Joy as a Catalyst for Philanthropic Change......Kris Putnam-Walkerly short article explains how advisors may ask three simple questions to focus their clients on the joy of giving and the challenges of makeing a significant impact. LINK to article.


Quiz Answer....FIVE-PERCENTERS - To rank in the top 5% of US taxpayers for the 2018 (last reporting tax year) required adjusted gross income (AGI) of at least $217,913. This group received 36% of all AGI reported nationwide but they paid 60% of the federal income tax that was collected (source: IRS).


News and Notes....IS THIS YOU? - 62% of the average net worth of an American household comes from just 2 assets – the equity they have built up in their home and the value of their retirement accounts (source: Census Bureau).

LESS TAXES - $250,000 of taxable income on a joint return in 2020 creates $48,159 of federal income tax. $250,000 of taxable income on a joint return in 2010 created $60,281 of federal income tax (source: IRS).

HONEST? - The government projects that an average US taxpayer pays 84% of his/her total federal income tax bill (mostly driven by unreported income), creating an estimated $441 billion annual “tax gap,” i.e., the difference between what all taxpayers should have paid compared to what they actually paid (source: IRS).

ONE-PERCENTERS - To rank in the top 1% of US taxpayers for the 2018 tax year required adjusted gross income (AGI) of at least $540,009. That highly paid group received 21% of all AGI reported nationwide but they also paid 40% of the federal income tax that was collected (source: Internal Revenue Service).

TAXES - The top 3% of US taxpayers in tax year 2018 reported at least $286,106 of adjusted gross income (AGI) but paid 53% of all federal income tax. The 97% of taxpayers who reported less than $286,106 of AGI paid the remaining 47% of federal income tax that was collected in tax year 2018 (source: IRS).


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.

Sharon Jones, VP development at Haven Hospice, Gainesville, Florida received a 12% interest in an Edward Jones Transfer on Death Account (TOD) composed of two stocks, three mutual funds and some cash, with a gift value a little over $50,000 when liquidated. What is interesting is the TOD agreement was signed in July, 2009.

Shelly Westbrook, CFRE Foundation Director for Spectrum Health’s Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals and United and Kelsey Hospitals, a received a $100,000 estate gift from a male donor who died just two weeks shy of his 95th birthday. The WWI and Korean War veteran never married, held various management position at General Motors, and his trust gift was in memory of his parents Arthur and Eugenia to provide future capital improvements to the Spectrum Health United Hospital Rehab and Nursing Center.

Elizabeth Jones, Development Officer, McLeod Health Foundation promotes estate arrangements using the services of Based on current data for the last 12 months the Foundation has secured 7 new bequest commitments totaling $209,000 in future gifts with 84% coming from donors over the age of 55. Since beginning the service 80 wills were started and 46 have been completed. The average bequest size is $29,857 and the average age is 41.

Kirstin Long, Kristin Long, MPA, CFRE, Foundation Lead Specialist, The Spectrum Health and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundations were notified of a $3 million bequestmade by a retired school teacher from the Grand Rapids, Michigan, through her estate. The bequest was in memory of her parents. This gift has allowed for the creation of an endowment fund that will support the advancement of excellence in adult stroke care, as well as, a second endowment fund to support programs and services in pediatric care.



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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