Think I'll increase my meds

So why hyperventilate, as I have, on FISpace—a blog re Society-related things—about possible oil supply peaks and about senior citizens edging-out teens for crappy jobs? Well, to me these are indicators about Mother’s Milk, about the stuff that makes the world go ‘round—money.

For me it all goes back to a remark in one of Ed Duke’s original posts about UK fund raisers saying for planned giving you’ve got to focus on the rich.


The things I see suggest they’re right. Isn’t fund raising about tapping into people’s discretionary income, either their current liquid assets or the assets they expect to have at the end of life? Everything I see says the costs of the future, whether you’re talking about individuals or US society as a whole, are likely to rise, perhaps steeply. Moreover, the future from all I can see is going to be more uncertain. What income bracket will people have to be in to have confidence they’re going to have the money to enjoy their “golden years,” to pay the sometimes horrendous costs of the end of life, and then to have assets remaining to distribute to heirs and to charities? I’d guess that the financial bracket for that kind of financial cushion is getting higher all the time.

In a decade or so I suspect that middle class families will feel lucky if elders close the Book of Life with the book financially balanced. Many will end up with debt.

I’m not an expert on planned giving so maybe this is way off. But I’m concerned that there have been projections in the past about wealth transfer between generations that would put charities on Easy Street. So much money is coming down the pipeline that all you have to do is hold out a bucket and catch the cash. It seems to me whoever made those projections ought to get out the adding machine and run the tape again with an eye to future conditions, not past statistics. IMHO every charity ought to be planning for tough competition for scarce dollars.

(Personal note: Nobody’s ever accused me of being a Pollyanna. During the Republican convention I kept hearing the phrase “Republicans are optimists.” Hmm, maybe that’s why I’m not a member of that party. But then, I’m not the biggest pessimist on the planet either. There’s a well-regarded British scientist, Sir Martin Rees, who’s written a book estimating that humanity’s chances of surviving the 21st century are only 50/50! The book is titled, Our Final Hour. Yikes!)

No comments

  1. You may be right. Time will tell. In the meanwhile, a planned gift gives the donor income for life. Something that a major gift does not.

  2. Are planned gifts and major gifts targeted to different income levels?

  3. I’d say planned gifts and major gifts are solicited from groups of people with differing net worth (not necessarily income level). The net is cast wider when you’re looking for donors to make a one-time major gift, or at least a no-more-than-once-every-few-years major gift. But of course the age of the potential donor and the need of your charity at the time make a difference too.

    It’s funny that these predictions that fundraising will become easier that David’s disagreeing with were being made at the same time people were worrying about the demise of Social Security (in the US) because of the baby boom and the fact that people are living longer.

  4. Yeah, I’m not sure what the assumptions were. It seems pretty sure that a lot of people will be working longer just for the medical benefits–if companies let them. I was walking past a couple of women in an airport corridor the other day and heard one say,so-and-so “wanted to retire but she’s afraid of losing her medical benefits.” I doubt that is a worry for people in the planned-givt, major gift categories. I just don’t know what that net worth needs to be or if it’s increasing.

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