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The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Legacy Donations to WATCVM*

The World Association of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (WATCVM) is actively involved in improving the lives of people and pets through promoting Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM).  The WATCVM uses a multifaceted approach. We promote TCVM through education to individuals and academic institutions by providing scholarships and information, supporting TCVM student clubs, and training potential instructors in TCVM. WATVCM promotes and sponsors research, provides evolving standards for curriculums in acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Tui-na and Food Therapy.  WATCVM also aids people and pets through the direct use of TCVM modalities in local shelters with care donated by TCVM veterinarians and supplies provided by WATCVM in the Integrative Veterinary Medicine-GO (IVM-GO) program. All of these endeavors require support in the form of practitioner time and WATCVM finances.

Members have been exceptionally giving of their skills and time to provide this service, but what of the financial support required? Money is energy that is directed in a specific direction. No organization can operate without it. In many cases an organization’s financial challenges become the limiting factor in its ability to grow and achieve its goals. As with other forms of energy or support, finances must constantly be replenished. One way of replenishing the financial energy is from donations made by generous veterinary clients.

As TCVM veterinarians, each of us have improved the lives of pets tremendously.  Pet parents whose four-legged family have enjoyed these benefits are frequently looking for an avenue to help support TCVM.  After a successful outcome with TCVM treatment, many clients  ask, “How can we help?” Some, however, are not even aware of the need of financial support. The first step is to make them aware of the need. A simple conversation regarding the AJTCVM journal or newsletter is a great first step to showcase some of the contributions of WATCVM. Then let them know that their help is needed.

A donation of any amount is welcome and appreciated. Members can remind the clients about the power of donations through the Amazon Smile program, which donates a portion of all purchases to charity. Simply make purchases online as usual, using Amazon Smile instead of On the Amazon Smile page, clients can designate WATCVM as their charity. Clients may visit the website and click on the donate button to make a straightforward contribution.  

Some donors will be interested in a more structured, tax-exempt approach to their donations.  So what is the best vehicle for these contributions? It really depends on the needs and wants of the individual making the donation. Structuring large or annual donations is best done with the help of a financial advisor, but the first and crucial step is making our clients aware that their help is needed and this is a way they can help us help other pets with TCVM. The WATCVM team is more than willing to help provide information about how these donations may be approached and mention the types of financial specialists that might be helpful. (WATCVM will not direct interested donors to any specific financial planner or institution, but we can guide parties to the types of professionals that may help with such plans.  Please feel free to contact the WATCVM office for further assistance.)

In the United States, one way to make a tax-exempt, structured contribution is through planned donations.  Planned donations can include donations made from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or as a Legacy donation.

Donations made from an IRA are known as Qualified Charitable Distributions. When account holders of an IRA reach the age of 70 ½ years of age they are required to withdraw funds from the account, known as a distribution. If these distributions are donated to a 501(c)(3) (qualified non-profit) organization, they are tax exempt. More and more people reach retirement age without children. Often these individuals are interested in ways to help animals.  A Qualified Charitable Distribution to WATCVM is a great fit for many.

A Legacy donation is defined as “…a planned donation that designates a part of an individual's estate to a chosen charity. Legacy gifts are most often made through wills and trusts, by denoting the organization that should receive the gift.” [i]

A donation can also be made through a type of life insurance policy known as a Whole Life policy.  Donors can donate a lump sum from their estates by designating the amount in their will. If the donors create a charitable trust or a revocable family trust, a portion of the value of the trust can be designated as a donation to qualified 501(c)(3) organizations such as WATCVM. When using insurance policies as vehicles for charitable contributions, the appropriate organization can listed as a beneficiary of the policy.

For more information, please contact the WATCVM office. Remember, the most important aspect of fund raising is to let people know there is a need. Please start a conversation with your clients today to help the veterinarians, pets, and clients of tomorrow.

*This article is not intended to provide specific details on financial vehicles or plans. It is intended only to provide some general information on donation forms which may be explored with trained and licensed financial specialists of the readers choosing.

 [1] Why charities should focus on legacy giving