Skip to main content

Here’s how to make non-cash assets part of your nonprofit’s fundraising plan.

Only seven percent of wealth in the United States is held in cash, yet it makes up more than 85 percent of all charitable donations. That’s because cash is what most fundraisers ask for, despite the impact cash donations make on most donors’ lifestyles.

Fundraising expert and professor Russell James states in his groundbreaking paper “Cash is not King in Fundraising'' that nonprofit organizations accepting non-cash assets leads to significant growth in donations.

By talking to your donors about leveraging their non-cash assets to support your organization, you may open your nonprofit up to new financial opportunities that can support it into perpetuity.

Nonprofits aren’t always equipped to accept assets in their original form, which is why we partner with nonprofits to accept and process non-cash assets. These gifts are things such as:

  • Life insurance

  • Farm equipment, corn, cattle, etc.

  • Privately held stock

  • Real estate

  • Retained life estate

  • Retirement assets

  • Stock and mutual funds

  • Cryptocurrency

Get to Know Your Donors

“It’s important to know your donor when introducing them to this giving option,” said Gift Planner Elizabeth (Beth) McCray. “It’s really about knowing who they are and their family, if and where they have a second home and what assets they have.”

Building those strong relationships makes it easier to ask your donors key questions about their assets.

“Oftentimes people give a gift and say ‘I wish I could give you more,’” said Gift Planner Mariah Brook. “If you hear that kind of language, usually that means they may have other assets, and that may be a way for them to give back.”

By talking to your donors about leveraging their non-cash assets to support your organization, you may open your nonprofit up to new financial opportunities that can support it into perpetuity.

According to financial planner and industry expert Bryan Clontz, Ph.D., CFP®, CLU®, a majority of millionaires created their wealth through real estate or privately-held business, and are often the most charitably inclined donors. From a planning perspective, these assets are likely to have a very low tax basis, which means donating these types of gifts is beneficial for both the donor and your organization.

“A donor may have real estate that has appreciated or they may be slightly older and thinking about a retained life estate where they can live in their house until they pass away,” Beth said. “Your nonprofit, with our help, would then be able to retain that house and liquidate it to support your organization.”

Tell Donor Stories

When talking to donors about non-cash assets or gift planning in general, it is important to also think about your broad marketing. The key to marketing any of your programs and initiatives to current donors and potential donors is storytelling.

When promoting planned gifts such as non-cash assets to support your organization or endowment, the most efficient way to market is through testimonials from living donors who have donated similar gifts.

“We have an organization where a donor opened up a charitable gift annuity,” said Mariah. “The organization highlighted the donor’s story in their newsletter and later had three other individuals come forward wanting to have a conversation. Those three people may have never risen to the top of the organization’s prospect list had that story never been shared.”

To learn more about how you can make non-cash assets part of your fundraising plan or how to start a nonprofit endowment fund, contact gift planners Mariah Brook (651.325.4269) or Beth McCray (651.325.4297).

More Stories

How to Turn Your Board Members Into Your Biggest Advocates

Gift Planner Beth McCray shares her tips for activating nonprofit board members.

Learn More

Engaging Donors During Times of Uncertainty

Here's how to manage the challenges of talking to donors about planned giving during a pandemic.

Learn More

Pivot Your Fundraising

Here are three giving strategies you can talk to donors about during times of uncertainty.

Learn More

Books That Encourage You to Give, Stand and Lead

Foundation staff and nonprofit leaders recommend their top summer reads for nonprofit employees.

Learn More

Qualified Charitable Distributions in Retirement

In this video, we explore how donors can efficiently turn retirement income into a charitable donation.

Watch the video

Why Beneficiary Designations Should Be Part of Your Fundraising Plan

Beneficiary designations can be a great way for donors to leave a lasting legacy for organizations they love and support.

Watch the video

Investment Update for Nonprofit Fundholders

Our Chief Investment Officer Shannon O'Leary provides an update on the performance of the multi-asset endowment portfolio.

Learn More

How to Steward Donors During COVID-19

Top five fundraising tips to help manage your current donor relationships

See the recommendations



* Indicates a required field