Planned Giving FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a bequest be dedicated to a specific ALA program?

Yes. Any time you are interested in making a donation you can specify where the dollars should be allocated. The size and timing of the bequest should be a consideration on how restrictive you want to be. Smaller gifts are most often given with no restrictions allowing the gift to be applied to the current priorities of the organization.

Can I specify that my gift not go for administrative costs?

Yes. Any time you are interested in making a donation you can specify where the dollars should be allocated. Administrative costs are incurred as a normal part of operations. Donors should consider how much of each dollar donated go for administrative costs. The Internal Revenue Service and nonprofit watchdog organizations have set benchmarks for measuring effectiveness of nonprofits, that 70% or more of each dollar should be spent on the organization’s mission programs and 30% on administration and fundraising costs. If the nonprofit organization you are considering is within those guidelines you should feel confident that administrative costs are not excessive.

Can specific investments be designated in a will to go to the ALA/ALAF?

Yes. Within your will you can be as specific as you wish. That is the place where you can specify personal belongings, investments and other assets to whomever or whatever organization you wish. You can also include the ALA/ALAF as beneficiaries in life insurance policies, retirement plans and annuities.

Can I leave a planned gift to my department and/or unit?

Yes. You can leave a gift to both or either. We have the capability to designate the proceeds as you wish and make sure it is allocated accordingly. We encourage you to include your Unit and Department along with the ALAF in your planned giving decisions and documentation. Be clear in naming the different organizations.

Is there a suggested percentage to give?

No. Everyone is different on how much or what percentage to give. Using percentage is often used because values of investments fluctuate over time. The percentage approach will often lend itself to less need for updates in your documents. Typically, individuals have a few organizations which are important to them and they will either divide it equally or weight one higher than another based on “value” they have received. This is a way to designate your thanks and commitment to those organizations special in your life.

Do I notify the ALA of my planned gift or does my estate executor?

Both. Ideally, you would notify ALA about your planned gift. Some people wish to remain anonymous; however our preference would be know about it before. We want to respect your privacy. Much like you may or may not decide to share your plans with your family, this is a similar decision. However, depending on what you are giving, there may be strategy that may make it beneficial to you to do it sooner rather than later.

What if my family objects to my bequest to the ALA? Do I need their consent before I make a gift?

As long as you have developed and executed your documents “with sound mind” and the documents are executed with proper witnesses and notarized, you can do as you wish. Ultimately it is your money. If it is deemed to be an improperly executed will, the family may have an ability to challenge the will. We always suggest having a licensed attorney assist with the execution of the documents so that you avoid issues in the future. We would also encourage you to provide an open dialogue with your family if possible so you can explain your wishes.

Can we place flyers at funeral homes to suggest donations to the ALA Foundation?

Yes. Much like you would see “in Lieu of flowers we ask that you make a donation to…..” Notices at funeral homes could be done. ALA would be happy to provide information as to where to send donations

Can my gift get caught up in probate?

Probate is a term that is used loosely regarding the closing of an estate. However it is officially the process of proving a will is valid. Your gift could get caught up in the probate process if the will is challenged. However, if a will is executed by a licensed attorney the chances of any issues are greatly diminished.

Can I make monthly automatic gifts through my credit card?

This should be available in the near future. ALA will update you as soon as it is available.

Should I have a will? I am young!

Ideally, everyone should have a will. Otherwise your assets get divided by the state. A will provides an opportunity to allocate any of your personal belongings as you see fit. None of us know when we are going to pass, so having a will regardless of your age is always prudent.

Can I put a gift in my living will?

Your living will is a term that describes a healthcare directive. This is a legal document which provides instruction for your care in the event you are incapacitated. For instance what life supporting measures do you wish. This is a very important document to have as part of your estate plan, however it is not a document used for gifting.

You may be referring to a Living trust or a Revocable trust. If that is the case, a trust can simply be amended to add a specific gift or any other revisions. This is something your attorney can do for a very small charge.

Do you have to be an Auxiliary member to make a planned gift?

You do not have to be a member to give. The Foundation is a public charity and can receive contributions from any individual or company

How do we encourage low income members to give?

Any amount can make a difference. If it is more difficult to give from your monthly income, it may be an easier option to leave a percentage upon your passing. This can be done through your will or by adjusting any accounts which have a beneficiary designation. Your insurance, annuities and IRA’s are all accounts with a beneficiary designation.

How can we promote planned giving to our unit members?

Have an estate planning speaker at a Unit or Department meeting to help educate members. Encourage having the Department NEC discuss the ALA Foundation and why it’s important to the mission of the ALA.

Can I change my gift amount later?

A gift amount can be changed at any time. You can revise your documents or beneficiary designations as often as you wish. If there are more advanced estate planning techniques you are utilizing there could be tax related issues if you make a change otherwise you can change as often as you wish.

Do most retirement plans allow for giving?

Yes, most if not all retirement plans have a beneficiary designation. This designation allows you control where your dollars should go upon your death. The designation can be an individual or an entity.

The retirement dollars are usually some of the least tax efficient dollars to give to other individuals. The dollars are ultimately taxable to them. Some advisors recommend using your retirement plans for gifts or bequests to cover your charitable giving goals and use other assets for individuals. It is always prudent to discuss this with your own professional advisors.

What verbiage should I use when adding the ALA Foundation to my beneficiary designations or Will?

Please use the following:

American Legion Auxiliary Foundation

Include the Tax ID #26-1484144

Add the specific fund (Mission Endowment or Veteran Projects) in the description if you wish to designate or put “unrestricted”.

Planned Giving Guide

This guide introduces you to planned giving. No gift is too small. All gifts leave a lasting impact. This guide is not to be considered legal advice. It is intended to encourage you to think of your future, the Auxiliary’s future, and to consult with the proper legal, financial, and tax professionals to help you accomplish your future giving goals.

Planned Giving Guide