Thank you for considering a planned gift to NOW. Members and supporters like you have kept this organization strong, steady and determined for the past 50 years. We have fought together for equal pay and reproductive freedom and against racism, discrimination and violence against women. Unfortunately, our struggle is far from over.
Planned giving is a tool that allows you to extend your commitment to women and girls beyond your lifetime and makes it possible for future generations to keep up the fight for as long as it takes. Planned giving gives you the power to ensure that our hopes and dreams for a feminist future do not wither away but flourish and grow.
Outlined below are just some of the many ways you can make a planned gift. As with any important financial decision, we recommend that you consult an attorney and/or financial advisor as you consider your options.
What is a planned gift?
A planned gift is a way of providing for yourself or your loved ones while achieving both your investment and philanthropic goals. With so many uncertainties in the world, it’s nice to know there are a few things you can still plan for. By preparing today, you can safeguard the security of your family and the causes you care so deeply about, and also realize significant tax benefits for yourself and your family.
Making a planned gift to NOW or the NOW Foundation gives you the ability to leave a proud legacy that can inspire tomorrow’s activists and make sure that NOW remains a dynamic and vital institution.
What are the benefits of making a planned gift?
You do not need to be wealthy to make a planned gift to NOW or the NOW Foundation and still ensure that you have adequate income for yourself and your heirs. Many donors do not realize that planned giving can positively impact both their retirement and estate plans.
For example, many people have spent years investing in retirement accounts. If you intend to leave your family the proceeds of your retirement plan, such as an IRA or 401(k), it is possible that they may actually get less than half of the total amount after income and estate taxes are paid. This is because most retirement plan assets are taxed as ordinary income when paid to beneficiaries. By structuring a planned gift funded by your IRA, 401(k) or other retirement plan, you could secure income for yourself for the rest of your lifetime and make a substantial gift to your heirs and your favorite charities.
NOW and the NOW Foundation — What is the difference?
NOW and the NOW Foundation are two separate but affiliated organizations. The National Organization for Women (NOW) is a non profit 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to attaining equality for women through political action. NOW is tax exempt, but membership dues and donations are not tax deductible because of its grassroots lobbying and political work.
The NOW Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non profit charitable organization, which focuses on achieving equality through litigation, public education, policy advocacy and leadership development. All donations to the NOW Foundation are tax deductible. The goal of both organizations is to achieve equality and better opportunities for women and girls.
When deciding what kind of planned gift to make, you should consider how important the tax consequences of your gift are to you, and choose the organization to receive it accordingly. For estates that will not be subject to federal or state estate taxes, a gift to NOW will give us the greatest flexibility in putting your bequest to work on behalf of women and girls.
Do I need a lawyer?
The best way to ensure that all your intentions regarding your assets and estate are carried out is to formalize your plans with a qualified estate planning attorney or professional financial advisor. Most attorneys will discuss your needs with you for 15 to 30 minutes at no charge and give you an estimate of the cost of tailoring legal documents to fit your needs and intentions.
What are my planned giving options?
A will is an excellent way to meet your needs and those of your family while also meeting your philanthropic goals. After your family is provided for, you may wish to include a provision in your will leaving a specific amount or a percentage of your estate to NOW or the NOW Foundation. A will can be amended at any time prior to your death to accommodate changes in your family or your wishes.
You can use your will to support NOW in the following ways:
- You may leave a specific amount of money or designated property to NOW.
- You may leave a specified percentage of your estate to NOW.
- You may make a residual gift to NOW — i.e. once all of your specific bequests are fulfilled, the remainder (residuary) of your estate would go to NOW.
- You may make a contingent gift to NOW — in the event that one or more of your heirs or named beneficiaries does not survive you, only then would NOW become a beneficiary of that portion of your estate.
An example of the language you might use in your will is as follows:
I give, devise and bequeath the sum of $_______ (or _____% of my estate; or ______% of my residuary estate; or the following described property) to the National Organization for Women (or the NOW Foundation), 1100 H Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20005.
You may choose to make NOW or the NOW Foundation a beneficiary of your current life insurance policy, or any policy provided through your employer. You may also wish to purchase a policy specifically for the benefit of NOW or the NOW Foundation. Many supporters name NOW as a beneficiary or alternate beneficiary (payable if the primary beneficiary does not survive you) of employer-paid life insurance, the proceeds of which are otherwise taxed at a high rate.
If you have a life insurance policy that is either completely paid for or has outlived its original purpose, you may wish to donate it to NOW or the NOW Foundation. If you donate a fully paid policy to the NOW Foundation, you may take a tax deduction equal to the replacement value of the policy. If you choose to purchase a policy or donate a policy for which you are still making premium payments, you may deduct the cost of the premium payments as a charitable contribution to the NOW Foundation.
Because most IRAs and retirement plans are not taxed upon deposit and grow tax free, they are subject to income tax after you retire and begin to draw income from them. Similarly, your surviving heirs will have to pay ordinary income tax on the full amount of your retirement distribution after your death, and then pay estate tax on the remainder, leaving only a fraction of these assets for their use.
Instead, you could leave your retirement account assets to the NOW Foundation, which would preserve those funds free from taxes. You can still provide for your loved ones by leaving them cash and other assets you own that will not be subject to the high taxes imposed on retirement accounts. Alternatively, you can provide for your loved ones by leaving your retirement assets to a charitable trust that will pay income to them for life and make a substantial tax-free gift to the NOW Foundation.
A trust is a way in which you can make a donation to NOW while also providing income for yourself or your family. On the most basic level, trusts are set up for specific time periods during which your assets are held “in trust” by a trustee for the beneficiary of the trust. Trust money or assets are invested and managed by the trustee. You can also make yourself the trustee of your trust so that all of the assets remain under your direction and control. The interest from the investment can be used as income for you or your loved ones, or can be used to make a donation to NOW. At the end of the trust period, the remaining assets belong to the beneficiary of the trust, which could be you or NOW, or any person or organization you choose.
There are several tax advantages of trusts. The first is that trust assets which appreciate in value during the life of the trust are not subject to the capital gains tax. Second, trust assets go directly to the beneficiary, bypassing estate and inheritance taxes.
A Charitable Remainder Trust is one in which you designate NOW or the NOW Foundation as the beneficiary of your trust. You and your family can receive the income from the investment of your assets for life or the length of the trust period, up to 20 years. At the end of the trust, the remaining assets would belong to NOW or the NOW Foundation.
A Charitable Lead Trust is one in which you or your family is the beneficiary of the trust. During the life of the trust, any income generated from the investment of the trust assets would go to NOW or NOW Foundation as a donation. At the end of the trust period, the remaining assets would belong to you or your family, or whoever is the named beneficiary.
Both kinds of trusts provide substantial tax advantages.
Totten Trusts, or POD/TOD Accounts
A Totten Trust, also known as a Payable on Death (POD) or Transfer on Death (TOD) account, is a regular bank account that names a specific person as the beneficiary of all funds once the bank account holder dies. Usually, all that is needed to set up such an account is to notify the bank as well as the beneficiary. Some states require beneficiaries of these types of accounts to be individuals, but in other states you may name a charity such as the NOW Foundation as a beneficiary.
Both NOW and NOW Foundation accept gifts of real estate which meet standard environmental and financial conditions. If a gift of real estate is made to the NOW Foundation, you completely avoid the capital gains tax on its increased value and receive a charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the property at the time of the gift.
What do I do next?
NOW’s Visionary Circle
When you decide to make any type of planned gift to NOW or the NOW Foundation, we want to acknowledge your very special and generous commitment. When you inform us that you have included NOW in your estate plans, you will become a member of NOW’s Visionary Circle. Visionary Circle members receive:
- Special recognition* in our National NOW Conference program book;
- An invitation to a reception for Visionary Circle members held periodically at the annual National NOW Conference;
- Invitations to National NOW events in your area.
* Please note that publishing your name in any public document is entirely optional, and we will not use your name in any way without your express permission.
Are we already in your plans? Thank you!
Please let us know. We would love to include you in the Visionary Circle and give you the recognition and thanks you deserve!
Need more information?
If you are interested in receiving more information, want to make a planned gift to NOW or the NOW Foundation, or would like to join NOW’s Visionary Circle, please call 202-628-8669, ext. 112 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.