CGA Program Best Practices You Need to Know: A Review of the ACGA/CGP CGA Survey

Did that title include enough acronyms for you? Stelter’s Senior Gift Planning Consultant, Lynn Gaumer, J.D., is here to share her highlights from the first-ever joint ACGA/CGP survey on CGA program best practices. 

A new survey shares best practices that all charities can follow for charitable gift annuity programs. This survey—the first of its kind—was conducted jointly by the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) and the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP). The survey asked respondents to identify the changes to their gift annuity programs and policies in 10 key areas over the last five years. There were notable changes in several key areas, including marketing, language, demographic policy, development and management.

You can access the complete survey results on the ACGA website here.

Here are my three main takeaways:

Connecting With Your Donors

Personal visits. Personal visits are the most common way to introduce a donor to the idea of a gift annuity. Listen for “cues” in the conversation. A donor may, for example, be concerned about retirement income or be concerned about the volatility in the stock market.

Multichannel marketing is used to promote gift annuities.

  • 71.8% of respondents use direct mail pieces. Many respondents liked using targeted smaller pieces such as postcards. In larger pieces, donor stories and testimonials worked well. When rates were adjusted, direct mail pieces that highlighted the new rate have been successful.
  • 64.6% of respondents use email. Many programs use a targeted email as a follow-up to the direct mail piece.
  • 90.6% of respondents use a website. The messaging is slightly different on a website. Many respondents use their websites to highlight the mechanics of the gift annuities and benefits.

Show the Impact. Impact on the charity was the most important message to use in marketing material for all multichannel communications. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including pictures, videos, testimonials and infographics.

Funding the Gift Annuity

Focus on a gift of non-cash assets. About 61% of respondents focus on gift annuities funded with non-cash assets such as appreciated stocks. You can highlight funding the gift annuity during personal conversations and in the scenarios used in your marketing material.

Feeling Positive About Gift Annuities

Attitude Toward CGAs Improves in Post-Survey Follow-Up. This survey was conducted in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn. In the survey, 50.8% of respondents indicated that their general attitude toward gift annuities was positive. The same question was asked through an online poll during the conference. The online poll indicated that an overwhelming majority (82%) of organizations had a positive attitude toward gift annuities. This may be a reflection that gift annuities provide secure income during uncertain times and offer higher rates than most interest-bearing financial vehicles.

Next Steps to a Successful CGA Program

Want to learn more? Download the complete survey from the ACGA website. Review your current CGA marketing program. What is your marketing plan? Do you use a multichannel marketing process? How do you connect with your donors? Implement these best practices to make sure your gift annuity program thrives.

4 thoughts on “CGA Program Best Practices You Need to Know: A Review of the ACGA/CGP CGA Survey

    1. Bob:
      Thank you for a great webinar yesterday.

      The new report does not specifically address reinsurance like previous surveys but it did indicate that there were management changes in their organization – including CGA management. Respondents commented on moving to reinsurance of gift annuities. One respondent stated: “We now issue these through a foundation that reinsures and provides a charitable percentage up front.”


  1. I want to know about re insurance programs and if appropriate begin a marketing program
    who are some of the recsoures?

    1. You can find out more information about reinsurance programs and whether it makes sense for your organization by contacting one of several companies that offer reinsurance for gift annuities including Charitable Solutions, LLC,, and MetLife,

      For other potential resources and best practices, visit

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