The myth of the coming charitable estate windfall

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6 Scopus citations


Media accounts, fund-raising periodicals, and some academic research have pointed to a coming windfall of charitable estate transfers driven by the graying of the population. Nonprofit managers and public agencies working with nonprofits or their beneficiaries may incorporate these expectations into their long-range planning. This article presents the first comparison of estate gifts (for both taxable and nontaxable estates) with the previous annual giving and volunteering of the deceased. An analysis of approximately 6,000 deceased panel members from the 1995-2006 Health and Retirement Study suggests that estate gifts are largely offset by the loss of current giving and volunteering previously provided by the deceased donors. Consequently, nonprofit managers who plan based on anticipated future charitable giving estate windfalls may make erroneous choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-674
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Charitable giving
  • Estate planning
  • Fundraising
  • Nonprofit management
  • Philanthropy
  • Planned giving


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