Planned giving to grow your money
Campaigns,Planned Giving Published Date, 2021

Why You Should Prioritize Planned Giving In Your Campaign

Created By: Kelly Dunphy and Lauren Hancock
February 24, 2021

Was planned giving a priority at your organization twenty years ago? We can almost see you sitting there, shaking your head and thinking to yourself, “Wouldn’t that have been great?”  Think about where your organization would be today if planned giving had been a focus then. How would that increase the total impact of your organization? How would the organization’s annual budget be amplified by realized gifts? And how would that relieve pressure on annual and major gifts?

Over the next several decades, the largest and wealthiest generation in U.S. history will transfer $67 trillion to their Gen X and millennial children. Only 10% of donors have charitable estate plans, and without putting in the hard work of generating planned gifts, 90% of donor mortality will result in lost opportunity.

Planned giving is a key factor in how some organizations manage to achieve audacious long-term goals. Including planned giving in a campaign is a donor-centric approach to setting your organization up for the future. Blended gifts – combinations of an outright gift and a deferred gift – allow for a greater proportion of a donor’s assets to be used for charitable purposes, increasing the gift amount a donor can realistically consider.

To give an example, an educational institution structured its campaign to meet current and future needs by incorporating endowment goals and more immediate capital goals in the campaign. In doing so, the institution leveraged the power of planned giving through blended gift asks to meet both goals. In this instance, a blended gift created the largest gift in the institution’s history when a donor made a $10 million contribution with a $1 million outright gift and a $9 million deferred gift. If planned giving had not been a part of the campaign, the donor’s contribution would have been 1/10th of the size and the organization would have left $9 million on the table.


Your organization.

  • It amplifies the impact of your campaign by creating more opportunities for larger donations.
  • It opens up opportunities to engage prospects who cannot give cash now but do have strong affinity to your organization and have the capacity to make a planned gift.

Your donors.

  • Just as planned giving allows your organization to achieve long-term goals, deferred gifts also allow your donors to achieve their long-term goals such as leaving a legacy in a tax-efficient manner.
  • Deferred gifts can allow donors to make a greater impact than they could with an outright gift.


When entering a campaign planning phase, there are several things to take into consideration when including planned giving:

Develop a gift acceptance policy that makes the most of planned giving.

The policies that stipulate the criteria for counting a planned gift can become the differentiator in reaching your goals. For example, if the age criterion is 55 instead of 65, depending on the size of your organization, that could increase your planned giving prospect pool by hundreds or thousands of people.

Set separate goals for outright giving and planned giving.

Determine first how much you need in outright giving to support your current and urgent needs and then set a goal for planned giving based on the affinity, capacity, and age of donor base and the long-term needs of the organization.


Are you now dreaming of transformative planned or blended gifts? Here are three steps you can take when planning to include planned giving and opportunities in your campaign:

Talk with your Board.

Socialize including planned giving in your campaign with your Board. Gauge your Board’s interest in making personal planned gifts, as their leadership and willingness to participate will help set you up for success in soliciting other planned gifts.

Assess planned giving potential.

Effective inclusion of planned giving in a campaign requires a strong pipeline, a strategic approach to reaching prospects, and the capacity to accept and steward planned gifts. Before launching into a campaign with planned giving as a focus, your organization will need to assess its internal capacity for planned giving as well as the capacity of your constituency, in addition to identifying areas of opportunity.

Develop a plan.

Address the areas of opportunity identified in your assessment to ensure that you have a robust planned giving pipeline and the leadership and systems to support the solicitation, processing, and stewardship of planned gifts. Need help doing this? Let us know, we can help!

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