Tis the Season for Gifts of Stock

Last Updated by Kelly McCarthy on

Cash is king yet corporate stock is a seasonal opportunity for stations to grow major gifts.

After gifts of cash, corporate stock accounts for the largest total amount of charitable contributions in the U.S. The bulk of stock donations are historically made during the last quarter of the calendar year. During this season, many people are highly motivated to support their favorite causes and minimize their income taxes in the process.

Additionally, corporate stock accounts for the largest share of total noncash contributions. According to the most recent statistics, stock contributions represent almost $16 billion or 41 percent of all noncash gifts. In comparison, clothing donations rank a distant second at $9 billion or 23 percent, while vehicles are parked in twelfth place at $301 million or less than 1 percent of the category. Stock contributions are expected to continue trending upwards and sustaining nonprofits for years to come.

Tis the Season for gifts of stock


Tis the SeasonThe profile of public television supporters matches that of people who donate stock.

People who donate stock typically belong to an affluent and older demographic. In a recent year, individuals 65 and older contributed 69 percent of all donations of corporate stock, mutual funds and other investments. Why?

Naturally, many adults spend their working years accumulating assets such as stock, houses, jewelry, and art. Once their working years have come to an end, those who are charitable will often prefer to give from assets rather than from their retirement income. This approach to giving is especially attractive to older individuals who are concerned about conserving enough cash for later years.

People who support their local public television stations are similar to those who donate corporate stock. Like most stock donors, the majority of station viewers and contributors are age 65 and older. It’s estimated that 53 percent of all primetime viewers and 66 percent of station contributors fall into this older age demographic.

Similarly to stock donors, a respectable portion of public television viewers and contributors are considered affluent. Approximately 25 percent of primetime viewers reside in households with incomes of $100 thousand and above. Likewise, 39 percent of station contributors reside in households with comparable income levels.

Public television supporters have the ability and inclination to donate stock to their local stations. It would benefit stations to accept and promote this particular asset that most individuals have and are willing to give. As Roy Clem, General Manager, Alabama Public Television, has stated, “To do otherwise, would be equivalent to leaving good money on the table.”

Tis the SeasonStock can have an immediate impact on revenue growth and fundraising efficiency.

In public media, major gifts consist of donations greater than $1,000. Major gifts currently account for 4.5 percent of total station revenue, as compared to membership at 19 percent. Since the average stock donation is comfortably a major gift in five figures, even an incremental increase can immediately grow revenue and reduce the overall cost per dollar raised.

Stock donations can also increase donor loyalty. If the transactions are handled well, stock donors are likely to repeat their gifts and/or increase other annual contributions (i.e., membership, additional and special gifts). These actions can lead to life-long fundraising relationships and eventually the ultimate gift, a bequest.

Timeframe for realizing the opportunity.

Approximately 70% of all stock donations are made in the last quarter of the calendar year. We are now in the early days of the Season of Giving; therefore, time is of the essence if stations are to capitalize on this opportunity in 2015.

The Solution

Promoting stock donations can help stations become more competitive for charitable dollars at year-end. To help stations get started quickly, PBS has collaborated with station development professionals to produce a full suite of marketing assets. These best practices can help development teams increase revenue while managing other work and staying within budget.

For more information, please contact Kelly McCarthy,Development Director, Individual Gifts & Philanthropy, at kmccarthy@vegaspbs.org.



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