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What is the Difference Between a Bequest and a Donation?

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When making charitable contributions to support your favourite nonprofits, you may have heard of “donations” and “bequests.” These are common ways to give back to your community, but you should know the difference between them.

A donation is a gift given to a charity during a person’s lifetime, while a bequest is a similar gift given to a charity from an individual’s will or estate plan. Both are excellent ways to leave a lasting impact on your community.

What Is a Bequest?

A bequest is a planned gift included in your will. The bequest can be anything valuable, such as property, stocks, or a sum of money. By making a bequest to a nonprofit, you can support the cause you believe in even after you’ve passed away.

There are 3 types of bequests:

  • A specific bequest is an exact monetary amount or asset left to a charity, such as a vehicle, property, or stocks.
  • A percentage bequest is similar to a specific one, but the amount is determined by a percentage rather than a set amount.
  • A residual bequest is a share of your estate left to a charity after other expenses and gifts have been handed out. 

Preparing a Bequest

There are a few things to consider when arranging a bequest. Firstly, make your wishes very clear to your family or lawyer. Managing an estate after someone has passed is challenging, and clear communication helps ensure your philanthropic goals are carried out as you would hope.

Most importantly, let your chosen charity know your bequest intentions. As tempting as it may be after watching years of TV and film to leave it as a surprise, you can’t be sure a charity will be able to accept your gift if you don’t first provide them with the specifics.

While most charities can put monetary donations to good use, they may not be able to accept physical items such as artwork, real estate, or vehicles. In some cases, they may need more infrastructure than they have to put it to good use. For example, cars and homes require maintenance and management that could be beyond their means.

The Benefits of a Bequest

One of the many benefits of a bequest is that it enables you to choose how your estate is used by your family while also assisting the nonprofit. Additionally, donors have complete control over the endowment’s timing and size. Bequests are typically made by those who want to leave a lasting legacy of philanthropy in their community.

By donating to a nonprofit organization in this manner, you’re supporting its long-term mission and growth. Nonprofit organizations rely on donations and other forms of revenue to continue making a positive impact, and leaving a bequest can help them reach their goals.

What Is a Donation?

A donation is a gift of money, property, or services to a nonprofit organization. Donating to a nonprofit shows your support for their mission; it can be used to fund projects, productions, campaigns, or directly to support specific beneficiaries and their families. 

A donation can be financial or non-financial. Although, for many nonprofit organizations, financial grants and assistance are essential resources to keep their operations running.

Why Donations Are Important?

Nonprofit organizations provide valuable services that benefit society, the environment, or causes that need support. In return, thousands of people volunteer tirelessly and give their resources to support nonprofits.

However, despite their resilience and unwavering enthusiasm, nonprofit organizations typically rely on support from donations from individual contributors to remain afloat. Donations are essential for nonprofits because they make up a significant share of the money they need to conduct their activities or serve their causes.

What Do Donations Support?

Donations are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations. Without them, nonprofits wouldn’t be able to exist or make a difference in the community. When you donate to a nonprofit, you are providing financial support that goes directly towards their social mission.

These funds can be used for various purposes, such as food and shelter, educational programs, or extended healthcare services. Your donation, no matter how small, can make a real difference in the lives of those in need.

What Is the Difference?

One significant difference between donations and bequests is when the nonprofit receives the gift. Donations are typically made by living donors, whereas bequests are accepted only after the donor’s death. This means donations are often used immediately to support the nonprofit’s ongoing programs and services. However, large bequests may be used for long-term projects that will benefit the nonprofit for years.

Another difference is the level of involvement the donor has with the nonprofit. Donors may choose to become more involved with the nonprofit by volunteering or attending events. With a bequest, however, the donor’s involvement is limited to setting the terms of the gift in their will or estate plan.

Making a Difference in Your Community

Whether you choose to make a donation or a bequest, the most important thing is that you’re giving back to your community and supporting a meaningful cause. Regeneration Outreach has worked in our community for years to provide care and dignity to those in need. And we’ve always been supported by people like you.We gladly accept donations online. You can also learn more about leaving a bequest to Regeneration by reading our planned giving brochure or contacting us and asking how you can help.

Written by Dan Gibson

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