Today we welcome back a special guest on the blog: Stelter Senior Technical Consultant Lynn M. Gaumer, J.D. Lynn shares four steps to help get you across the planned giving finish line.
“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
It’s a common phrase used daily by many people, in all walks of life.
The phrase is not just used in the athletic world. We even use it in the planned giving world to try to explain that such gifts take time to solicit, structure and materialize.
But, how many of those who utter this phrase really know what it takes to complete a marathon, which is a 26.2 mile running event?
I now know that a lot more goes into a marathon than simply showing up on race day.
About thirteen months ago, my husband, daughter and I put together a plan to train for the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World. This 2-day ordeal requires finishers to complete a half marathon, followed by a full marathon the next day, both within strict time limits.
It was a celebration of our daughter’s high school running career. I hoped it would motivate my husband to get back in shape. And I am always up for a little competition.
Those who complete the challenge earn a Donald Duck medal for the half marathon, a Mickey Mouse medal for the full and a Goofy Medal for being unusual enough to do it.
We started planning for this event in Dec. 2017 and training in Jan. 2018.
Then came the setbacks.
My husband had a heart attack last January, followed by triple bypass surgery. He had 11 months to progress from walking with a walker and chest tube oxygen to running 39.3 miles in 2 days. And as we headed into the fall, I had a multitude of injuries to my foot, knee and back.
In the end, we made it! In the process, I learned the most challenging part of the marathon is not the race, but the long work involved in preparing for the event.
Likewise, each of us can train and run a planned giving marathon. Yes, there may be setbacks. For you, it may be budget or time constraints or staff turnover. However, I am confident every planned giving officer has what it takes to complete his or her own challenge. It all starts by setting some actionable goals.
You are not going to make it to the end of a marathon without proper training.
Develop your training plan now. Establish short and long term goals to develop a multi-channel marketing strategy that consists of print, digital, social media and web communications to either start or grow your planned giving program.
2. Slow, but Steady
Stay on pace and keep to your plan.
Make regular calls or visits with your donors. And make it personal. Engage and educate your board of directors on the importance of a planned giving program. Finalize your own planned gift.
3. Stay Hydrated
Be sure to keep yourself in good working order.
Attend conferences. Keep abreast of developments in the field and with your prospective and actual donor bases. Solicit advice from colleagues to keep learning and moving forward with your plan.
4. Cross the Finish Line
If you stick to your planned giving training plan, I am confident you will cross the finish line by securing additional planned gifts for your organization. And when you do, make sure to properly acknowledge and thank your donor.
No matter where you are at in your planned giving program, if you haven’t set your 2019 planned giving goals, do it now. My husband, daughter and I successfully completed the Goofy Challenge. You can complete your planned giving marathon, too.
To help you get started, here is a free planned giving marketing calendar to spark some ideas and help keep you on track.
DISCLAIMER: This marketing calendar is only a starting point. Each organization has its own goals, dependent upon variables like priorities, budget and size. Customize this calendar to best fit your nonprofit, its challenges and its prospects and donors.