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Donors make gifts. Nonprofits accept them. That’s simple enough.

Simple, except that it can be helpful for nonprofit leaders to understand the types of gifts donors are making, because there are several kinds, and they are not all simple when it comes to accepting, accounting for and utilizing them.

During the 2014 Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) International Conference, Eddie Thompson, founder and CEO of, said donors make five types of gifts to nonprofits, and he offered detailed information about each of them. They are:

  • Outright gifts of cash or liquid assets. This category can include checks, property and IRA rollovers.
  • Gifts of net worth. These include appreciated assets (land, stock, grain, etc.), cash from life insurance that is no longer needed and percent of a business before the donors sell.
  • Testamentary gifts. These include bequests and nonqualified trusts.
  • Gifts that provide income. This category can include income to self, such as a charitable remainder trust (CRT), or income to others, such as a CRT with a right to revoke.
  • Gifts that also fulfill estate-planning objectives. These can make a transition of a business to heirs, a provide income to heirs or protect heirs from themselves and others.

As we celebrate our 36th year, NPT remains dedicated to supplying breaking news, in-depth reporting, and special issue coverage to help nonprofit executives run their organizations more effectively.