JGA Blog

John T. Keith, J.D.

John Keith, J.D., brings to JGA an extensive depth of expertise in planned giving, major gift development, campaigns, leadership annual giving, and the role of volunteer engagement in fundraising. John is an 18-year veteran of the Indiana University Foundation where he most recently served as Associate Vice President of Individual Giving. In this capacity, he focused on gift planning services, women’s philanthropy, reunion giving, parent and family giving, and participated in the principal gifts program, which included naming gifts of $5 million and above. While at Indiana University, John and his gift planning team assisted development officers and generous IU alumni and friends to secure more than $500 million in new major and planned gift commitments for the future of Indiana University, a crucial aspect of five IU campaigns. Other roles he held at Indiana University Foundation include Executive Director/ Director of Gift Planning, Associate Director of Planned Giving, and Staff Attorney for the Office of General Counsel. As an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University for five years, John shared his experiences and knowledge with IU undergraduate students by teaching courses in major and planned gifts, campaign planning, and estate planning. Prior to working at Indiana University, he practiced law at Keith & Keith attorneys, a firm focused on wills, trusts, probate, philanthropic planning, and real estate. John is a member of the Indiana State Bar, the Indiana State Bar Association, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the Partnership on Philanthropic Planning, and a past board president and board member of the Planned Giving Group of Indiana. John obtained his law degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law, and holds a Bachelor’s in Religion from Wabash College.
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Recent Posts

Top 5 Things for Nonprofits to Know in 2019 About Tax Law Changes

January 02, 2019

In December 2017, Congress passed and the president signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which contained what many describe as the most significant changes to the tax code since 1986.  During 2018, we received many questions from our nonprofit clients about the implications of these changes for their donors. 

1. What is the most significant tax law change that could affect the short-term philanthropic planning of our donors and, therefore, our annual giving program? 

The 2017 tax law change nearly doubled the standard deduction for individuals (from $6,350 to $12,000 and from $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly). This means that fewer taxpayers will claim itemized deductions. Research has shown that those donors who claim itemized deductions are more likely to give consistently (should we say that this may be correlation rather than causation). In the recent past, approximately 30% of taxpayers have claimed itemized deductions. As a result of the tax law change, it is estimated that approximately 15% to 20% of taxpayers will continue to itemize their deductions.

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Defining Campaign Success: Using a campaign to grow major gift donors

August 14, 2018

Like many others, I began my career in fundraising by attending the Principles and Techniques of Fundraising class at The Fund Raising School at Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy. As a new member of the development team at the Indiana University Foundation more than 20 years ago, I learned that, typically, an organization could anticipate that 80% of the dollars raised in a fundraising campaign would come from 20% of the campaign donors. The so-called 80/20 rule.

Much has changed in the last twenty years. Mirroring, or perhaps in response to, the changing landscape of wealth distribution in our society, fundraising campaigns have more significant dollar goals that rely on fewer and fewer donors in order to achieve success. Campaigns are now typically based upon the projection that 90% of the dollars will come from 10% of the campaign donors. In some corners of the nonprofit sector, notably higher education, successful campaigns may have 95% or more of the dollars contributed from as few as 5% of the campaign donors.

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Help Donors Do More with Their Nest Egg – Tax-Free Charitable IRA Rollovers

November 30, 2017

 

Educating donors about the benefits of charitable IRA rollovers is a great way to uncover future planned giving prospects for nonprofit fundraising. This flexible giving vehicle provides donors a tax-free method to support their favorite causes, whether they itemize their deductions on their federal tax return or not.

Since they were first created in 1974 as a part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) have become a featured financial and tax planning tool. Some of your organization’s donors have saved for retirement for years through IRA accounts and then, upon retirement, they discover that they don’t yet need the IRA. Given a choice, these donors would simply allow their IRA funds to stay in the account and continue to grow for the future, however, IRA owners are required to begin taking minimum withdrawals after age 70 ½.

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Important Considerations for Establishing Major Gift Metrics

September 19, 2017

Fundraising success is increasingly a vital component of an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.  Campaigns have increased in prevalence and frequency and often are dependent upon 90% of the dollars being contributed by 10% of the donors.  (In higher education, this can reach 95% of the dollars from 5% of the donors, a threshold nearly unheard of 15 years ago.) This leads many organizations to rely upon major gift fundraising at all times, rather than merely for special projects of need.

At the same time, it has become more common for boardmembers to have backgrounds in businesses that foster a sales culture and therefore look for data-driven accountability from the nonprofits they support.  How can we modernize our approach to goal-setting and accountability without sacrificing what makes philanthropy so different from sales transactions?

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Year-End Giving and the Election's Impact on Fundraising

November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving is upon us. Is it possible that 2017 is already on the horizon? As we all know, there are twelve months in the year but, when it comes to fundraising, those twelve months are not equal. Is your organization ready for year end? Have you considered the implications of the presidential election upon the financial and philanthropic planning decisions that might be considered by your top donors and their advisors between now and December 31st?

Year-end is prime time for charitable gifts from individuals

For most charitable organizations, the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve is by far the most significant in terms of gift transactions and gift revenue from individuals. Some organizations receive more than 40% of their annual gift revenue during this 5- or 6-week period. Many annual giving donors delay their charitable decision-making until the year-end period. For many

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Approach Donors Holistically: Integrate Planned and Major Gifts

August 23, 2016

Donors don’t compartmentalize their philanthropy in the same way that an organization distributes staff responsibilities on an org chart. As organizations are cultivating their prospects and having conversations with them about potential gifts, the conversation needs to be holistic – integrating annual, planned and major gifts into the discussions when appropriate based on the donors’ needs.

Has your development operation fully integrated major and planned giving?

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Permanent Charitable IRA Rollover a Great Planning Tool for Some Donors

December 20, 2015

Charitable organizations received an early holiday present last Friday when the President signed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 into law. Among its provisions was a renewal of the charitable IRA rollover opportunity for donors who are past age 70 ½. Although the IRA rollover has been caught in a seemingly endless cycle of expiration and reinstatement since its inception in 2006, what makes this renewal special is that this time it finally carries no built-in expiration date.

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