Real Estate Gift Trends – Survey Results, 2013

by Dennis Bidwell August 2013 1.  Trends in real estate gift activity in recent years About 17% of respondents reported an increase in real estate gifts in recent years, while 83% reported receiving about the same number of real estate gifts. No respondents reported a decline in real estate giving. Commentary: As gifts of cash … Read more…

Real Estate Gifts: A Report from Practitioners in the Trenches

Real Estate Gifts – A Report from Practitioners in the Trenches As real estate gift activity continues to increase – especially at institutions actively promoting their interest in real estate gifts – more and more professionals are concentrating on the growing field of real estate gift planning.  In my work, I often confer with colleagues … Read more…

The Buy vs. Lease Decision

October 7, 2010 I am a fan of the work of the Nonprofit Finance Fund.  Through consulting services, financing, and advocacy, they help all sorts of nonprofit organizations stay in financial balance, so that they’re able to successfully adapt to changing financial circumstances — in both good and bad economic times — and grow and … Read more…

IRS Study Documents Increase in Real Estate Gifts

October 1, 2010 Starting with Tax Year 2003 the IRS has been producing reports called “Individual Noncash Charitable Contributions.”  IRS researchers have examined Form 8283 (Noncash Charitable Contributions) used to substantiate charitable deductions greater than $500 claimed on Schedule A (Itemized Deductions) of Form 1040. In the spring of 2010 such a study was issued … Read more…

Growing Non-Profit Attention to Real Estate Gifts

November 23, 2009 I attended a recent meeting of the Planned Giving Group of New England in Boston. It was “Real Estate Theme Day” at PGGNE, with presentations on real estate gifts by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, and by Harry Estroff, Real Estate Gift Manager at The Nature Conservancy. Coincidentally, on the … Read more…

Real Estate Gifts: Why, and How, to Pursue Their Largely Untapped Potential in Difficult Economic Times

July 23, 2009

As the effects of the deteriorating economy ripple through development offices of non-profit organizations of all sizes and shapes, increasing attention is being paid to the potential of real estate gifts. This shift in attention is due to several factors:

  • With growing liquidity concerns in most households, cash gifts – current or deferred – are becoming harder and harder to come by. This is causing development professionals to turn more of their attention to the non-cash assets of their donors and prospects, particularly real estate assets.
  • Real estate assets comprise over 35% of the assets of U.S. households. Yet only about 3% of charitable giving in recent years has come from real estate gifts. Development offices are increasingly recognizing the need to go where the wealth is – the largely untapped potential of real estate.
  • More attention is being paid to the experience of those non-profits that have consistently attracted large numbers of substantial real estate gifts. A survey conducted by the National Committee on Planned Giving, published in the Fall 2008 issue of The Journal of Gift Planning, reported that 13% of institutions responding received over 10% of their total contributions as real estate gifts over the previous three years, as measured in dollars.
  • The collective experience of institutions that have enjoyed success in pursuit of real estate gifts has led to an increasingly accepted body of “best practices” that permit the opening of the doors to real estate gifts while carefully managing and minimizing the potential risks of real estate.
  • Institutions at one stage or another of campaigns – planning phase, quiet phase, or those that have gone public and are concerned about hitting their targets – are increasingly turning their attention to the potential of real estate gifts. Indeed, there is evidence that the methodology for many campaign planning/feasibility studies in the future will devote more explicit attention to the role of real estate gifts in campaigns.

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Making the Right Real Estate Gifts Happen

July 14, 2009

More and more non-profits are becoming aware that they are receiving fewer real estate gifts than some of their peers. They are realizing that other organizations have enjoyed considerable success in attracting a portion of the estimated 30 percent of the nation’s private wealth that is in real estate holdings.

In some cases, these organizations have responded by transitioning from a program that occasionally accepts gifts of real estate in various forms, to one that seeks to make such gifts happen. This transition needs to occur, of course, while taking appropriate precautions to manage the various types of risk (environmental, liquidity, holding cost) associated with owning real estate.

A review of the experience of those non-profits that have successfully made this transition reveals several important steps in developing a more active and lucrative real estate gifts program.

Get the key players on the same page

Successful programs tend to have clear gift acceptance policies and procedures governing real estate. These policies assure that everyone in the institution is on the same page regarding the types of properties (residential, commercial, farms and ranches, etc.) that will be accepted and the gift structures (CRTs, CGAs, retained life estates, etc.) that can be employed. These policies also tend to establish minimum gift amounts that take into account the often time-consuming and costly process of structuring, analyzing, and closing gifts of real estate.

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