As President and CEO of the Idaho Community Foundation, I have the unique perspective of seeing the important role that philanthropy plays in enriching the communities across the state. I also have the opportunity to learn about how nonprofit organizations large and small contribute to local, regional and statewide well-being. At ICF, we often see our role as the bridge between donors who want to make an impact and the organizations that create positive change in our communities.
One of the consistent themes I hear from donors and nonprofit leaders as I travel throughout the state is nonprofit sustainability. While this means different things to different people and organizations, the common denominator is based in an organization’s ability to sustain itself over the long term, perpetuating its ability to fulfill its mission. A key part of sustainability is financial stability.
Today, community organizations are faced with an incredible opportunity to create sustainable resources by leveraging the intergenerational transfer of wealth currently occurring throughout the country. This predicted $75 trillion transfer of wealth between now and 2050 will include several trillion dollars to benefit nonprofits. If just a small portion of this is captured in charitable endowments to benefit Idaho communities we will all be positioned to sustain our organizations and communities well into the future.
Nonprofits of all sizes can and should consider building an endowment, and I’ll be presenting on this topic at INC’s upcoming conference. An endowment can provide financial stability through revenue diversification, and also provides donors with the assurance that you are committed to the long term. An endowment offers donors the option of providing a gift that will keep on giving well into the future – a way of endowing their annual support. There’s even a payoff in the short term: donors who include your organization in their estate plans will be more engaged in your mission and may increase their lifetime sup¬port.
I look forward to providing more information on this topic at the INC conference and hearing from all of you about the benefits and challenges of building an endowment.
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