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Guide to Planned Giving

A PDF of this FAQ is available for download at the bottom of this page.

What is planned giving?

Planned Giving is a commitment from a donor to an organization when generally given at the time of the donor’s passing.  The simplest and one of the most frequent vehicles for giving is a bequest in a will.  Additional vehicles include: life insurance, charitable remainder trust, charitable lead trust, real estate, and charitable gift annuity.

Who are typical planned givers?

Those who are loyal to LWV are the most likely to give a planned gift. Typically, if a donor does not have a relationship with an organization before the age of 60, the organization will not be included in their estate plans.  In addition, the annual giving amount the donor gives is not as important as the consistency.  There are many stories of donors who no one suspected would have much wealth, leaving millions of dollars to a charity.

Why is LWVUS soliciting planned gifts and from whom?

According to a study by the Social Welfare Research Institute, between 1998 and 2052, $41 trillion dollars will pass from one generation to the next, the greatest transfer of wealth in history.  In addition, it is predicted that $6 trillion will go to charities.  Engaging those donors now in conversations about gift planning will ensure future donations. 

To reach these potential donors, LWVUS is launching a website to support conversations at the local, state, and national level for planned giving.  This website helps the potential donor decide, in consultation with their financial planner, what planned giving option is best for them.

Why should my state or local League consider soliciting/accepting planned gifts?

Planned gifts, while not predictable, can be a good source of revenue for your League.  Most gifts will come in the form of a check from the entity responsible for closing out the estate.  Your local and/or state League could consider establishing gift acceptance policies that put in place procedures for accepting gifts.  For an example of planned giving acceptance policies, please see the example here.  You can state in your policy that you will only accept gifts of cash, stock, and bequest.

My state and/or local League has been asked to accept a planned gift, what do we do?

Congratulations!  Many gifts will come in the form of a check and not have any stipulations that you will need to take into consideration.  If the gift does have stipulations that your board has determined they do not want to meet, you can reject the gift.

Should I be giving financial advice?

No, you should direct a potential donor to seek financial advice from a professional.  The tools available online are to help donors start the conversation with their loved ones and advisors.

Should the donations go toward an endowment?

Planned gifts are sometime associated with endowments, but they do not need to be.  Starting an endowment will have long term accounting responsibilities on your League and make the funds difficult to access when cash is needed.  You may want to consider encouraging undesignated funds to your annual fund until it is determined that an endowment is right for your League.

Will promoting Planned Giving take funding away from necessary annual/operating income?

No, because planned giving is a different vehicle for giving and the time of the gift is deferred to a later date, it will not take away money from operating.  Frequently, those who commit a planned gift to an organization, will become stronger annual donors.

How can I learn more about different planned giving vehicles?

To learn about the different vehicles for planned giving and which might be a good option for you, you can visit the new planned giving website at   

There is sample codicil language on this site for donors to give to state and local Leagues.  It says, “I devise and bequeath to The League of Women Voters [insert affiliate here], [insert location here] (federal Tax ID# [insert number here]) (Insert amount of gift or percentage of estate) to be used for its general purposes.”

How do we promote this opportunity to our members?

Please consider circulating the language above with the information filled in to your members.  You can also include this language on letterhead, email signatures, and your website.  Feel free to direct your members to the website above to help them start the conversation.

What is the 1920 Legacy Society?

This is the national LWV planned giving society, formally titled the Carrie Chapman Catt Society, renamed as we reach our 100th anniversary.  The society is open for membership to those who include LWVUS in their estate plans.  Some local and state Leagues have established their own societies which can be a great way to encourage planned giving among your members.

For more information, please contact:

Kate Kennedy, MBA, CFRE

Chief Development Officer


[email protected]