The 2016 Planned Giving Study
Embargo Lift Date
Charitable bequests and other planned gifts have historically played a significant role in the funding of higher education institutions. Prominent institutions such as Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and the Julliard School have been established as a direct result of bequests, and these gifts continue to have a profound impact today. The field of planned giving has become more sophisticated over time. However, the complexity of various planned giving vehicles and the comparatively long time period required for planned gifts to be formalized make it difficult for researchers to systematically track and examine planned giving behavior. Existing studies, therefore, heavily rely on self-reported survey data or tax returns. This study is one of the first efforts that seek to understand the changing landscape of planned giving and to explore donor life-cycle trajectories at higher education institutions. This whitepaper is the first in what is hoped to be a series of reports based upon data on planned gifts and donors in the field of higher education. The whitepaper discusses findings from five case-study universities located across the U.S. As the study expands the sample to include more universities and colleges in the next phase, this report series will offer richer data and insights into more underexplored, yet important, questions in planned giving.