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PLANNED GIVING: THE NEW REALITY
Panel discussion recap
By Cynthia Ray, AFP contributor
On May 10th at the Jewish National Fund, the Professional Advancement Committee produced Planned Giving: The New Reality - Implement a successful program without busting your budget!. Moderated by the Chapter’s President-elect, Mark Hefter, JD, CPA, LLM, American Technion Society, panelists were Lorri Greif, CFRE, Breakthrough Philanthropy, Inc.; Susan Head, Wells Fargo; and Jami Landi, Police Athletic League.
Ready or not, the new reality is that your non-profit must begin to ask donors: “Are we in your estate plans?” or “Would you consider including us in your will?” The next time you mail, call, email, thank, invite or acknowledge your donors and volunteers, think about how to layer on your non-profit’s planned giving messaging.
Panelists offered plenty of practical suggestions on how to approach the subject with those who give to your nonprofit cause and feel aligned with its mission. Their key takeaways included simple and effective tactics to refresh your current planned giving strategy or jumpstart one that’s long overdue in your development office.
To help create a planned gift program that’s designed for fundraising success:
- Put time, energy and effort into bequests as gifts that your non-profit accepts. Focus on getting 100 percent buy-in on bequest intentions and notifications from your Board – before you ask any other supporters for their legacy gifts.
- Make sure your messaging is in every medium (online; direct mail). Keep reminding and encouraging donors: “If you’ve made a bequest to benefit our cause, we’d be happy to recognize you.” They’ll tell you when they’re ready.
- Take a mass-market approach to planned giving marketing and talk about charitable intent. Don’t leave out anyone – especially lapsed donors who haven’t been contributing outright gifts. They could be ready to think about a planned gift that fits their needs right now, like a beneficiary designation.
- Test direct mail segments of your database and look for loyalty. Where there’s consistent annual giving, even if there’s no increase in giving, you’ll notice those donors who may also want to make a generous legacy gift.
If simplicity and clarity are the new reality, then development professionals should be able to adapt to it with relative ease. Having a planned giving strategy shows that your organization is proactively adapting to – and thinking about – the future.