Planned giving to grow funding over time
Planned Giving Published Date, 2019

Proactive Planned Giving: Elevating Impact For Your Organization

Created By: John-Anthony Bruno and Megan Tedford
July 24, 2019

This is the second in a series of articles on planned giving and the services Orr Group can provide to any nonprofit looking to elevate its impact. If you have not read our first article, please check it out here: A Beginner’s Guide to Planned Giving.

Too often, organizations use a planned giving model that leaves significant philanthropic investment on the table. A planned giving department processes bequests as they are received, and major gifts staff do not actively pursue “blended gifts,” where donors make outright cash gifts and estate gifts, elevating their philanthropic impact and limiting their tax liability.

If your organization’s planned giving function is operating in this manner, then you’re most likely setting yourself up for lost opportunity and minimizing the probability of receiving truly transformational legacy gifts. A proactive planned giving approach, one in which your organization cultivates, secures, and stewards planned gifts, will ultimately empower your organization to raise significantly more dollars to support its mission. 

We have identified five key components of a proactive model:

1. Strategic Prospecting

Successful planned giving programs consistently mine their data for prime prospects. Consistent donors between the ages of 55 and 80 and couples without children or who do not need to leave large inheritances to their children are great prospects to constantly pursue. These prospects are wealth screened to determine what types of giving vehicles (bequests, annuities, insurance, etc.) may be utilized in planning their investment.

2. Integrated Marketing Strategy

Marketing to your donors must be an ongoing and consistent effort. Donors think about their estate plans at different times, which is why planned giving information must have a place in nearly all marketing materials geared toward fundraising. Materials should highlight the importance of planned giving and showcase donors whose legacy commitments have had a positive impact on your organization. Donor-centered newsletters, brochures, and website content are great ways to communicate the benefits of planned giving and the myriad of ways your donors can make a lasting impact at your organization.

3. Training and Coaching Major Gifts Staff

Blended giving presents your organization the opportunity for transformational impact, therefore your major gifts staff must know how to have planned giving conversations with their donors. Gift officers and the donors they cultivate will benefit from their having a base-level knowledge of the various planned giving vehicles your organization can provide. However, as discussed in A Beginner’s Guide to Planned Giving, they do not need the detailed technical knowledge of executing these agreements. A successful gift officer will know what the organization can provide and when to engage the next level of expertise in closing these gifts.

4. Sophisticated Giving Strategies

There are numerous options a donor can consider when planning their estate giving. Successful organizations have financial and estate planning experts available to assist donors in maximizing their impact to their charity and heirs, while minimizing taxes. There are sophisticated financial estate planning and philanthropic instruments that can work for donors regardless of the size of their estate. For example, some financed premium life insurance vehicles are even designed to have little to no out-of-pocket costs to the donor during their lifetime and the charity receives the benefit when the donor passes.

5. Closing Gifts Through Collaborative Efforts

For a donor to leap and make a legacy commitment, collaboration among many advisers, inside the organization, and on behalf of a donor is critical. Closing a transformational gift of this nature involves a gift officer’s tenacity in developing the relationship with the donor, an estate adviser’s expertise in crafting the most effective vehicles, and a donor’s willingness to take the opportunities presented to create enormous impact. It is important to remain patient; we must understand that many of these donors have never thought about making this level of philanthropic contribution. These types of decisions take time and significant investment in partnerships to bring them to close. As fundraisers, we must also remember that approximately 80% of all planned gifts are revocable, meaning effective, donor-centered recognition and stewardship strategies are critical to the success of the gift.

We are witness to the largest transfer of wealth in history; nearly $68 trillion will be transferred, generationally, in the coming decades. Organizations that are at the forefront with their donors and are in active pursuit of legacy gifts stand to raise more money and have exponential growth of their mission through planned giving. 

Want to know more about sophisticated planned giving vehicles? Stay tuned for a future article that will dive into a more detailed discussion of several of these vehicles, including:

  • Charitable Gift Annuities
  • Bequests
  • Gifts of Stock
  • Life Insurance
  • Charitable Remainder and Living Trusts

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you with planned giving!

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