Planned Giving Success: Strategies to Maximize Donor Gifts
During the eight years I’ve been a consultant, I’ve worked mainly with social justice nonprofit organizations with budgets of $5 million or less. These groups typically have one, or if they’re larger, up to three full-time development staff members. They’re stretched thin generating resources to meet their organizations’ immediate needs. Few have time to focus on a long-term fundraising vision or to invest in planned giving, due to limited staff capacities and resources.
These organizations may think encouraging planned gifts is a good idea, but there’s usually something else that takes precedence, like writing grant proposals and overseeing major gift campaigns.
I get it. In a small development shop, raising money for current programmatic expenses is priority one. You, too, may have thought your organization should start a planned giving program. But you may be paralyzed about moving forward because of the seeming complexity of legacy gifts. Or you can’t imagine talking with donors about estate gifts without feeling crass.
On January 24th, I’ll be leading a Foundation Center planned giving webinar that will address these barriers and hopefully move your organization forward into launching a planned giving effort. There are simple steps even small, grassroots groups can take to encourage legacy gifts. Below are some of the strategies I’ll outline in the webinar that can support your efforts.
Develop a Planned Giving Case for Support
A planned giving case for support focuses on why your organization should exist decades from now. Many of our organizations address complex problems that will take more than a lifetime to solve. Other groups focus on issues that may be resolved in the foreseeable future. Groups that work on entrenched challenges or that have evergreen appeal (like arts, education, and health) are in a stronger position to make the case they’ll need to thrive in 50 years.
Pitch for Support from Your Best Matched Funders
Once you have developed your case for planned giving support, next step is to propose this plan to your best matched funders. Use FDO to manage your list of past funders or find new funders. In FDO, you’ll easily be able to see how much a grantmaker supports your specific mission, use this handy tool to prioritize your prospects.
Develop Bequest Language
The vast majority of legacy gifts to nonprofit organizations are made through living trusts and wills. Some of your donors or their attorneys may contact you for language they can include in these documents to designate an estate gift to your organization. It’s simple to have that language ready for such inquiries.
Create a Planned Giving Page on Your Organization’s Website
When donors are creating or revising an estate plan, it should be easy for them to find the information they’ll need to make a legacy gift to your organization. Set up a page on your group’s website to provide basic information (like bequest language) supporters will need to include your organization in their plans.
Form a Legacy Society
Naming an organization as a beneficiary in an estate plan is a significant decision. Let your universe of supporters know that you’ve created a legacy society to recognize donors who have remembered your group in their plans. A legacy society is a way to encourage donors to tell you about their estate gift intentions.
Setting up a basic planned giving infrastructure will facilitate your supporters to make estate gifts. Once you start learning of intended legacy gifts, you’ll want to do all you can to deepen your relationships with these special supporters.
Make sure to join me in the upcoming January 24, 2019 webinar, Planned Giving Success: Strategies to Maximize Donor Gifts, to learn more about establishing strategies and systems to strengthen donor relationships and encourage legacy gifts, so you’re well equipped for planned giving success.
Stan Yogi – Senior Consultant Klein & Roth Consulting
About Stan Yogi: More than 28 years of experience with nonprofit organizations in fundraising and grantmaking. He was Director of Planned Giving at the ACLU of Northern California for 14 years, where he was also responsible for securing foundation grants and raising major annual gifts. Prior to joining the ACLU staff, he was a Program Officer for California Humanities, a statewide organization that awards grants for cultural and educational programs. He is the co-author of the award-winning books, Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California (Heyday, 2009) and Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (Heyday, 2017).