Goldman Sachs has recently re-published a helpful report on making large charitable gifts, which prompts me to return to this issue once again.
In our work, we see donors often making serious errors when making major gifts. These errors can end up undercutting—if not damaging—the intent of their gift, particularly over the long term. Indeed, the larger the gift, the more damage
these mistakes can make. Today, most donors are inclined to attach extensive restrictions on the use of a major gift. We find in our work that smart donors find a balance between no restrictions and too many. Just as the media is full of stories of unrestricted gifts being used for things a donor may not approve of, there are also stories of extensive restrictions leading to difficult, if not impossible, situations.
Here are four good guidelines when contemplating a major gift:
- Use a gift agreement drafted by your advisors, not the agreement offered by
- Specify how any unused funds will be managed if, for example, the project you
are supporting comes in under budget.
- If you are considering a naming gift, consider putting a time limit on the naming
- Consider whether your gift should also include support for operations and/or
For the Goldman Sachs article and more, view the full May 2022 Philanthropy Matters Newsletter here.