Planned Giving is Strong in Latest Nonprofit Research Collaborative Report

Posted by National Association of Charitable Gift Planners on May 5, 2017 8:30:00 AM

In the latest report from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, fewer organizations are reporting growth in charitable receipts in 2016, compared to 2015, but the number of organizations reporting growth in planned gift revenue has not decreased. CGP has partnered with the Nonprofit Research Collaborative since 2013 to collect data on charitable giving across the nonprofit sector. Among the 800 U.S. nonprofits that responded to the most recent NRC survey, 51% reported on new planned gift commitments and 69% reported on gifts that were realized in the past year. When compared with 2015 results, planned giving continued to be a strong source of development revenue. (Read an earlier post, Tips from Research: Preparing for the Next Recession, to see how planned giving has performed since 2004.)


Bequest amounts received varied widely

Among all organizations reporting bequest receipts, the largest percentage (26%) received less than $25,000 total from bequests in 2016. However, the median (mid-point) value was in the range of $100,000 to $249,999 for total receipts from bequests. And nearly 1 in 5 survey participants reported they received $1 million or more in bequests.


Average bequest amount most frequently between $25,000 and $100,000

Knowing the average bequest amount (per bequest) can help an organization without an active planned giving program project revenues in the future after making changes to request and receive bequests. In this survey, one-third of respondents that received bequests reported an average bequest amount between $25,000 and $100,000.

This distribution is nearly identical to the results obtained in 2015. That is, among organizations surveyed, a third in each year received bequests that averaged between $25,000 and $100,000. Less than one-quarter received bequests that, on average, were each above $100,000. The balance (46%) received bequests that each averaged less than $25,000.

Even mid-sized organizations receive bequests of $10,000 or more

While there is truth in the statement that larger organizations (by budget size) are more likely to receive the very large bequests—and that very small organizations are most likely to receive the smallest bequests—organizations in every size category reported average bequest amounts along the spectrum shown below. From 22 to 44 percent of charities of all sizes reported an average bequest amount of $25,001 to $100,000


The NRC survey asked respondents about effects of the 2016 general election on fundraising results, including whether fundraising receipts are lower or higher since the election. Two clear trends were noted:

  • More than one-quarter of participating organizations reported that donors made gifts at year end to take full advantage of tax benefits then in place.
  • 53% of survey participants who answered this question heard from donors who intended to redirect their giving priorities in 2017 because of the election.

Read the full Winter 2017 Nonprofit Fundraising Study at the NRC website. The next invitation to participate in NRC research will reach CGP members in July. Please respond to help us build a data-based understanding of planned gift fundraising nationwide.



Topics: Research, bequests, Charitable giving, Nonprofit Research Collaborative