Planned Giving Basics

What is planned giving?
Planned giving encompasses a variety of philanthropic strategies that help you provide for charity while also advancing your own financial and personal objectives.

How do I benefit from a planned gift?
Planned gifts can yield benefits such as:

  • Ability to make a significant gift to the American Library Association and/or its divisions, offices or round tables in line with your objectives
  • Savings on capital gains taxes
  • Savings on gift and estate taxes

What can I give?
Donors frequently think their only option is to make an outright gift of cash to their charity of choice. While this is a positive way to make your charitable gifts, there are a number of other ways for you to donate to charity. Planning your gifts is a way for you to take advantage of the tax, financial, and estate planning benefits of philanthropy.

A planned gift can be made with almost anything such as cash, stocks, and bonds. Please contact the ALA Development Office Staff if you have questions about a possible donation.

How do my heirs benefit?
Your heirs can benefit tremendously from a planned gift. For instance, a planned gift can reduce your estate tax liability. The assets that you transfer to ALA remain outside of your taxable estate.

How does ALA benefit from a planned gift?
Your gift can make a significant impact on ALA now and/or in the future, and you can choose to direct your gift to aid a specific area of the Association. The ALA Development Office Staff can assist you with the designation and legal language for the area(s) that you would like to support.

Why do I need a will?
Creating a detailed will is critical to ensuring that your estate will continue to yield benefits to your family and to the organizations that are important to you in line with your wishes.

How do I name ALA in my will and/or living trust?
To name ALA, in your will, you can include the following language:

I give (___ dollars/ __ percentage or all of the residue of my estate) to the American Library Association, an Illinois charitable corporation, for the benefit of __________ (name of designation).

To make a specific bequest, please contact ALA Development Office Staff for further details and language.

How do I name ALA as a beneficiary in my retirement plan?
Leaving your retirement plan or IRA (or a portion of it) to ALA is a tax-wise gift. Naming ALA as the recipient of your retirement plan after your lifetime (or at the death of the survivor of you and your spouse) avoids all estate and income taxes on the plan assets.

To make this gift, you can simply notify your plan's administrator of your wish to change the beneficiary. A "change of beneficiary" form will be required. Should you designate that your qualified retirement plan come directly to ALA at your death, your spouse will need to sign consent to the designation. A consent form is not necessary for an IRA unless you reside in a community property state.

If your spouse and children are currently the beneficiaries of your retirement plan, you can continue to keep them as beneficiaries, and also include ALA as the beneficiary of a portion of the plan. Upon your death, the plan administrator can "cash out" ALA's share of the account without affecting your family's portion of the account, so that ALA, and your heirs, benefit from your retirement savings.

For more information, please contact the ALA Development Office at or telephone at 312.280.3259.