Current Events







Helpful Links

IRS Downloads

January 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter Archives

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: “You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change.” Tim Cook, CEO Apple

Quickie quiz:......... What percentage of people are hording cash amid the coronavirus crisis? 3%, 13%, 18%, 28%, 32%.....Answer below.

Senior Spirit.....Click the Senior Spirit link (below left) for a copy of the latest 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


CARES Act summaries.....The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES Act”) (S748) enacted on March 27, 2020 provides relief to investors and economic security to millions of Americans.
It is important fund raisers understand the impact of the CARES Act as it will effect the day to day approach for charitable support.

I have been reviewing several articles and papers on the CARES Act and you can review them by clicking the links for each below.

Keep in mind the following point as you review each article:

1. For the first time there is an above the line charitable contribution deduction of $300 available to each taxpayer unit even when they do not itemize. It was unclear if this benefit was per taxpayer or per individual, but the IRS clarified the maximum per taxpayer is $300.

2. There is a one-year increase in the limit for cash charitable deductions to 100% of adjusted gross income (AGI) for gifts to public charities. Support organizations and donor advised funds are not eligible. Gifts support organizations and donor advised funds retain the 30% and 60% AGI limits.

3. Any taxpayer over the age of 70½ is STILL eligible to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) to public charities. The SECURE Act approved in 2019 and effective in 2020 increased the date you must start the IRS Required Minimum Distribution to age 72. The confusion arose from the fact that the SECURE Act did not change the age for the QCD making more individuals eligible to withdraw funds from their IRAs and make a non-taxable charitable gift. Remember there is a new age cohort that becomes eligible for QCDs each year.

4. For more on the SECURE Act download at this LINK. The Act eliminates extended withdrawal benefits for non-spouse beneficiaries, i.e. children, brothers, sister, friends, and relatives from IRA accounts. They must exhaust the account within 10 years.

5. Planned giving marketing during the coronavirus: what history tells John Jensen of the Sharpe Group may also help advance your program.

6. Stelter summary

7. PGCalc summary

8. The Shephard Group summary

9. National Council of Nonprofits


Asking for Bequests.....A lot has been written about the general, and somewhat worrisome, consensus that most Americans don’t have their estate-planning documents in place. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there appears to have been an awakening among the general public of various ages and backgrounds to get their estate planning in order.

Charitable bequest from "final estates" account for 97% of the dollar value of all charitable bequests.

Indeed, many attorneys I’ve spoken with have confirmed this, noting the uptick in clients who are urgently seeking to get a will in place, along with other documents, such as health care directives. And though estate planners and advisors are likely grateful for the new workload and opportunity to provide their expertise, the events leading up to this increase in business are unfortunate.

Charities without a significant website presence showing and marketing bequest options are at a significant disadvantage when prospects consult their advisors.

Virtual estate planning has come of age during the Covid-19 pandemic. See FreeWill article in my January 2019 newsletter.

You may wish to review my talk to the NHCPO 2020 Leadership Conference on Creating an Omnipresent Legacy Bequest Program Review the notes in PowerPoint as they provide commentary on each slide.


ACGA rate update....The ACGA Conference as held virtually in April.

The economy is frozen and interest rates have changed and many have thought the ACGA would respond with suggested lower rates.

David Ely, Chairman of the ACGA Rates Committee, discussed the committee’s difficult objectives of balancing attractive payments for the annuity with the gift to charity. The committee regularly monitors certain interest rates and markets that underlie the investment return assumptions used to create the rate schedules.

Ely stated that there would not be a rate adjustment at this time but to look for further communication on May 7.

New ACGA rates were issued effective on January 1, 2020. See below for a laminated chart for gift annuities and also a comparisons for rates for ages 60-80.


Marketing Idea #1....Hillsdale College CGA promotion.... attached is a tearoff promotional flyer for charitable gift annuities attached to the Hillsdale College self-mailer newsletter.

I have long advocated for charities to promote CGAs in all thank-you letters as a low cost method of promotion.

Using the Hillsdale College format I have created for your use the attached WORD document for promotion. It fits into a #10 envelope and you can include your application information on the reverse side. Additionally for quick internet responses create a web site link to the flyer, see link created by Haven Hospice.

Hillsdale College flyer LINK

WORD document LINK


Marketing Idea #2......To honor my mother.....Is the lead story in the Spring 2020 "The Legacy" newsletter by MD Anderson Cancer Center.

It points up the continuing use of stories showing what is possible in selecting options for charitable support. Most important is reinforces the importance of motivation in the gifting process. David Young the featured donor was a long term employee of the cancent center and stated he is not rich but found a way to make a legacy gift that fit his fiancial and personal situation.

Read the newsletter from HERE


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.

  • Outsourcing expertly handles the technical side of planning giving while the development staff can concentrate on building donor relationships
  • There is no software to purchase
  • Two hours of telephone support per month
  • Board and volunteer support
  • Uncover your best bequest prospects
  • No risk gift annuity program using gift annuity reinsurance strategies
  • Bequest society brochure and promotional samples
  • IRA rollover gift promotion samples
  • Master marketing pan for first two years
  • Optional donor visit solicitation activities and support at additional discounted on-site support fees
  • Six month minimum engagement at $1,800 payable in advance

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


Retirement savings by age....Much has been written about all the assets locked up in IRA retirement account. Fidelity reports the average IRA and 401k balance of all their accounts is $215,400.

When you look by age cohort you find interesting balances.

The Silent Generation (born 1928-1945 ) averaged $403,500 in assets. Boomers (1946-1964) Swho are also retired had saved an average of $357,500. Millennials (born 1981-1996) have socked away $43,800, while Generation Z ( born 1997-2012)have retiement saving of $5,400.

Remember under the new Secure Act those over age 701/2 are still eligible to make Qualified Charitable Distributions but do not have to take their Minimum Required Distribuitons until age 72.


Advisor's guide to donating illiquid assets from Schwab charitable.....As individuals evaluate their giving priorities they may turn to other assets vs their cash or stock portfolio.

It is important to understand the nature of illiquid assets, the risk involved and the opportunities for charitable support. A full discussion of illiquid assets is included in a recent Schwab guide.

Note: The guide was developed before the recent tax law changes.

Download guide HERE


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.

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.


Rich clients (or your donors) fleeing high-tax states? Saying goodbye isn't so easy....Donors asking about the new tax law effecting their deductions for charitable gifts and state and local taxes (SALT) may be considering fleeing to tax-friendly states like Texas and Florida. By setting a $10,000 cap on SALT how much Americans can deduct in state and local taxes, Washington created a pricey problem for the privileged in some parts of the USA.

The tax courts are taking a hard look and require significant proof that they pass the "Teddy Bear" test,"where you keep the items that are near and dear to you."

Learn how a Kansas resident received a $42.5 million tax bill.

Reprint of article


10 fundraising strategies during Covid-19.....Michael Rosen and Russel James JD recent blog posted on LinkedIn an insightful and somewhat complex discussion of strategies any charity should consider as they move forward in the new Covig-19 fundraising environment.

Wealthy donors are increasingly turning to arragements that provide flexibility in their giving. You will learn i #10 how a "Charitable Swap" in a down market.

Special report LINK


Quiz Answer....Investors business daily reported nearly 3 in 10 Americans (28%)have stockpiled cash because of the coronavirus crisis. The average amount they're holding is $2,224.10. People earning at least $100,000 are hoarding an average of $4,267.


News and Notes....SENIOR DEBT...Total debt for Americans over age 70 increased 543% from 1999 through 2019 — the largest percentage increase for any age group, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Seniors have been “disproportionately harmed” by a deterioration in the country’s “modest social safety net,” according to a study. Carrying debt in retirement isn’t necessarily bad if people have the cash flow to pay their bills and still live comfortably, according to financial advisors.

The total debt burden for Americans over age 70 increased 543% from 1999 through 2019, to $1.1 trillion, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Similarly, those in their 60s saw debt, such as mortgages and auto loans, balloon by 471% to $2.14 trillion.

TOP 1%...U.S. women in the top 1% of income live 10 years longer on average than women in the bottom 1%, and U.S. men in the top 1% of income live 15 years longer than men in the bottom 1%.

NOT SMART - 54% of Americans surveyed in February 2020 say that if they inherited $1 million today, they would “spend it” as opposed to paying off debt or investing (source: Charles Schwab Modern Wealth Survey).

PREPARE FOR IT - A 65-year old American couple has a 48% chance that at least one of them will live to age 90, i.e., at least a 25-year life expectancy (source: Social Security Administration).


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.



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

To subscribe from this newsletter click this link and in the title line put subscribe