4 easy steps to identify your charitable intentions

You decided to make a planned gift to Duke. Now what?

Through planned giving, many Duke alumni and friends are able to make larger gifts to the university than they may have thought possible. Planned gifts—such as a gift through your will, retirement account, or a life income gift—impact all aspects of the university from facilities and programs to student scholarships and faculty support. Duke University would not be the preeminent institution it is today without the generosity of planned giving donors.

Deciding to make a planned gift requires careful planning and foresight, but making the gift is much simpler than you think! Follow these four easy steps to help you identify your charitable intentions. We encourage you to discuss these options with your financial advisor.

Step 1: Evaluate what type of planned gift makes the most sense for you.

Do you have funds that you want to give to Duke now or would you prefer to make your gift to Duke in the future? Are you looking for supplemental income in anticipation of retirement? Do you need a charitable deduction this year? Do you own highly appreciated real estate, art, or another unique asset that you would like to donate to Duke? These and other questions will inform what type of planned gift may be right for you. Read our Gift Planning Life Stages Planner for a helpful resource to identify which planned gift option meet your need.

Step 2: Consider the area at Duke that you want to support.

Duke means different things to each individual. Maybe your life was transformed by the four years you spent as a Pratt, Trinity, or Women’s College student. Others may remember time spent studying in one of Duke’s libraries, or in contemplation at Duke Gardens or Duke Chapel. You may credit your success in life to the scholarship you received or the mentorship of a great professor. Your planned gift can support whatever it is that inspired you at Duke.

Step 3: Think about whether you want to create an endowment with your planned gift.

An endowment fund is a permanent, self-sustaining source of funding. An endowed fund is invested and a portion of the income from the fund is distributed every year to the area at Duke that means the most to you. For example, you could create a named, endowed scholarship with a planned gift. Planned giving donors who establish endowed scholarships are invited to attend Duke’s annual scholarship dinner so that they can see the impact their gifts will have on Duke students in the future.  You can read more about endowments here.

Step 4: Contact our team to talk about the different ways to support Duke and the type of gift that makes the most sense for you.

We are here to help! Our team can also connect you with people and resources on campus that will help you determine where to direct your gift.  We may even encourage you to visit campus so you can envision the impact your planned gift will have future generations. We look forward to talking with you.

TAGS: Estate and Retirement Planning

About the author

Anne Sherman

Senior Associate Director of Gift Planning for Duke Health Development


Anne works with Duke Health donors who are interested in making a charitable gift to Duke and helps them navigate any tax or legal implications associated with the gifts. Prior to joining the gift planning team, Anne served as the assistant dean of academic advising at Duke Law School as part of the Law School’s Offices of Academic and Student Affairs and worked in the Law School’s Career and Professional Development Office. Earlier in her career, Anne worked for the college fund at the University of Chicago and practiced employee benefits law at firms in Chicago and Raleigh. Anne received her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, graduating with honors, and her undergraduate degree from Duke. Anne and her family enjoy Duke Athletics events, and she actively volunteers in the Durham community.