Planned Giving Basics

What is planned giving?
Planned giving is a way to make a gift to your charity of choice through thoughtful estate planning. A planned gift as part of an overall estate plan takes your needs as well as the needs of your loved ones into consideration, while helping support a cause or a charity that is personally meaningful to you.

How can I make a planned gift to ALA, or one of its divisions, round tables or programs?

The most common way of making a planned gift is by designating ALA, or one of ALA’s divisions, round tables or programs as a beneficiary in your will. Other options are designating the association as a beneficiary of your retirement plan or life insurance policy. There are also other, more complex ways of setting up a planned gift. Your attorney or financial planner may have suggestions that are best suited to your unique needs.

How do I benefit from a planned gift?

A planned gift may enable you to make a much more significant than you may have thought possible. It can create opportunities to support your favorite Association or program in a very impactful way.

How do my family and other loved ones benefit?

A planned gift can create potential savings on capital gains taxes or estate taxes, lessening the financial burden on your family and loved ones. 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. You also have the option to direct your gift to support a specific area of the Association, such as an ALA division, round table, program or scholarship. The ALA Development Office staff can assist you with the designation, and provide suggested language for your will or codicil to identify for the area(s) 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. For additional information about the value of a will, download our brochure (PDF).

How do I name ALA in my will?

To name ALA, or any of our divisions, round tables or programs 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 or life insurance policy?

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. Similar benefits can apply when designating ALA as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy.

To make this gift, you simply notify your plan or policy administrator of your wish to change the beneficiary. A "change of beneficiary" form may be required, and your spouse may need to sign consent to the change of designation. The tax ID to identify the American Library Association as a designated beneficiary is: 36-2166947.

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

For more information, please contact the ALA Development Office at development@ala.org or telephone at 312.280.3259.