by: Tycely Williams, CFRE
Want to work smarter not harder? Start a planned giving program.
Planned giving won’t inhibit the CEO’s ability to meet the annual revenue goal. Planned giving isn’t necessarily more work for the overextended development office. Most importantly, planned giving is not a complicated perplexity that scares donors.
The likely opportunities of a planned giving program trump the unfounded and erroneous threats. Every nonprofit should have some form of a planned giving program. These three tips will lead to the successful establishment of a planned giving program.
Begin with Bequests
Opportunity abounds with bequests. Last year, Americans gave $26.81 billion dollars of charitable contributions via bequests.
According to Giving USA 2014, giving by bequest increased 8.7% from the previous year. Giving by bequests increased at a rate higher than foundations which reported a 5.7% increase, individuals which logged a 4.2% increase and corporations which documented a 1.9% decrease.
Further, a study conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University estimates by 2052 between $6.6 and $27.4 trillion dollars in charitable bequests will be made.
Bequests are the cornerstone of all planned giving programs. Donors like bequests for the same reasons you will come to love them. Bequests are often straightforward and easy to understand. A bequest is merely a written statement within a donor’s will that grants a charity a certain asset or percentage of an estate at the donor’s death.
Start the planned giving program by promoting bequests. Integrate within existing marketing collateral and materials the option for donors to remember your organization in their wills. When you direct donors to learn more, remember to always include a person to contact. Deferred gifts, expectancies and outright planned gifts require time and genuine relationship building. A passionate, informed and responsible staff member must nurture the potential.
Armed with an understanding of the importance of bequests, you must seek and solicit support from leadership. Leaders are responsible for creating and fulfilling the vision for future generations. Generally, these aims are positioned within strategic plans or acknowledged in vision, mission and case statements. Highlight planned giving as a viable avenue to actualize future and forthcoming undertakings. Planned giving is an exciting solution that grants donors peace of mind, tax advantages and limitless potential to advance the charitable cause of your organization.
Pony up with Partners
Once you ignite interest from stakeholders it is time to pony up with partners. Look to similar size organizations for guidance and technical assistance. Turn to your board and corporate partners to assist with the creation of written policies and guidelines. Pro bono legal counsel and financial advisors can help organizations of any size navigate through the complexities. Marketing materials and website content can be created, produced and managed by reputable outside vendors. It is common practice for law firms or banks to underwrite or sponsor cultivation events and materials. Remember, you are not building a comprehensive planned giving program overnight. Pony up with partners to help you methodically build your program beyond bequests.
Tycely Williams, CFRE is a Regional Chief Development Officer at the American Red Cross. This is part one of a three-part blog series on planned giving. Join Tycely Friday, June 12 at Foundation Center-DC for a special program entitled Creating a Planned Giving Program, 9:00am – 12:00pm. For more information and to register, visit http://ow.ly/M1HrZ.