NCPG Issues Valuation Standards for Charitable Planned Gifts

NCPG Issues Valuation Standards for Charitable Planned Gifts

News story posted in Management on 8 April 2004| 1 comments
audience: Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, National Publication | last updated: 18 May 2011


The National Committee on Planned Giving has released standards for determining the value of all types of planned gifts to charitable organizations. Unlike present value computations for income, gift and estate tax compliance purposes, the new valuation standards are intended to help charitable organizations and donors understand the value of irrevocable and revocable planned gifts in terms of their present purchasing power.

Full Text:

Press Release from the National Committee on Planned Giving

April 5, 2004 - Indianapolis. The National Committee on Planned Giving has released standards for determining the value of all types of planned gifts to charitable organizations. The Valuation Standards for Charitable Planned Gifts have been posted in PDF format to A printed version of the standards may also be purchased from NCPG.

Download: Valuation Standards for Charitable Planned Gifts [PDF]

What are the Valuation Standards for Charitable Planned Gifts and why are they needed? Valuation is the process of determining, in today's dollars, what a planned gift will accomplish when received and used for its intended charitable purpose. Valuation does not seek to provide a comparison between an outright gift and a deferred gift. All things being equal, the outright gift is always more valuable to the charity. But if an equivalent outright gift isn't an option for the donor, then it is helpful to both the donor and the charity to consider the relative value (i.e., purchasing power) of the planned gift. Valuation is an essential component in helping donors and charities understand how to maximize the impact of charitable planned gifts.

Charitable organizations have had varying levels of guidance in accounting for planned gifts (Federal Accounting Standards Board procedures), determining the charitable tax deduction for planned gifts (US Treasury regulations) and counting planned gifts for capital campaign reporting by educational institutions (Management Reporting Standards of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education).

Jeff Comfort, chair of NCPG's task force for valuing planned gifts, noted that, "These methodologies are valid and useful for their intended purposes. However, none are intended to estimate the ultimate value of a planned gift to the charity that will receive it." In many cases, the accepted methods for accounting, counting, and determining the charitable deduction substantially underestimate the value of planned gifts. The valuation standards help charitable organizations and donors understand the value of a planned gift in terms of its present purchasing power. That present value is reached by considering real-world data, including the standards of the Prudent Investor Rule and historical indices of investment performance and inflation.

Valuation data can be used by charitable organizations to:

  • Evaluate costs and benefits of planned gift fundraising.
  • Determine financial effectiveness of an organization's current investment in gift planning.
  • Allocate appropriate resources to a gift planning program.
  • Set planned gift fundraising expectations within a comprehensive fundraising program or campaign.
  • Assess the effect of certain variables (e.g., term of the gift, investment strategy) on the ultimate value of the gift to the organization.

Because valuation is based upon information that may be unique to each charity, the valuation standards are not generally intended to be used for comparing one organization's fundraising performance to that of another organization. (Comparison might be possible if a group of organizations agree to use the same default values for that purpose.)

How are planned gifts valued?
The Valuation Standards for Charitable Planned Gifts use mathematical formulas to arrive at the present value of a planned gift-its purchasing power in current dollars. The process involves two steps:

  1. Payout rates, donor life expectancy or term of the gift and assumed investment returns are used to determine the value of the gift at its projected termination.
  2. The total future value is discounted backward to the present using a discount rate that is based on expected cost rise rates.

There are four variables that must be factored into the valuation process: term of the gift (often related to the donor's life expectancy), investment return, expenses, payout and cost-rise rate. For organizations that have not maintained their own data on investment performance and expenses, NCPG provides default values based on historical indices.

How are revocable gifts valued?
Existing standards for counting or accounting for planned gifts do not include revocable gifts. However, these gifts-bequest intentions, charitable remainder trusts with revocable remainder interests, retirement account designations, etc. are a significant component of most gift planning programs. Excluding these commitments from program evaluation significantly understates the contribution of the program to the charitable organization. At the same time, NCPG urges that any report of these gift values include a full disclosure of the revocable nature of such commitments.

In general, revocable gifts are valued in light of the probability of receipt. The present value of the gift is further discounted by a probability factor, which is based on what is known about the gift and donor. If the donor has a close relationship to the organization, the amount of the gift is specific, there is a legally enforceable pledge and the estimated value of the estate is 20 times or more than the intended gift amount, then the probability of receiving the gift might be set at 95%. If the donor has no gift history or documented relationship with the organization, a life expectancy of more than 30 years and it is impossible to estimate the value of the estate, then the probability of receiving the gift might be as little as 5%.

Organizations with well-established planned giving programs may elect to calculate their own probability factors through careful analysis of the facts of each gift where larger commitments are involved. Organization-specific probability factors might also be based on a review of past experience, comparing previously known expectancies to actual receipts of specific bequests over time. Organizations with less planned giving history may choose to base probability factors on a model provided by NCPG.

Who was responsible for developing the Valuation Standards for Charitable Planned Gifts? A task force of twenty gift planners from all types of charitable organizations and the various financial and legal advisor professions developed the standards over a three-year period. The standards have been extensively reviewed and approved by the NCPG Board of Directors. Comments were solicited from NCPG members and the development community at large, and key areas of the standards were clarified in response to these comments.

About NCPG

The National Committee on Planned GivingĀ® is the professional association for people whose work includes developing, marketing, and administering charitable planned gifts. Those people include fund-raisers for nonprofit institutions and consultants and donor advisors working in a variety of for-profit settings. The mission of NCPG is to increase the quality and quantity of charitable planned gifts by serving as the voice and professional resource for the gift planning community. NCPG represents approximately 10,000 gift planners who are members of NCPG or its affiliated planned giving councils.

Contact: Barbara Yeager, Director of Operations
National Committee on Planned Giving
(317) 269-6274 or

Jeff Comfort, Senior Director of Planned Giving
Georgetown University
(202) 687-3697 or

Tanya Howe Johnson, CEO
National Committee on Planned Giving
(317) 269-6274 or

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NCPG Valuation Standards for Charitable Planned Gifts

For the record, my only regret is that the committee did not consider the confusion of the IRS deduction being already termed the "present value of the remainder." In my comment to the committee I requested that the NCPG valuation number be called the "net present value" since it represents the net value after investments and expenses which is then discounted to present value - which is the term planned gift software suppliers also use currently. So now that the final report has been issued, NCPG will perpetuate more confusion. Oh well. Al Zimmerman Vice President for Planned Giving Oregon Health & Science University Foundation

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