How to Make the Case for Planned Giving: 3 Fundraising Truths

Earlier this fall, nearly 1,000 fundraisers gathered online for the first-ever virtual national Charitable Gift Planners (CGP) Conference.

Each year, this conference offers top-tier education, inspiration and connections—and this year, while in a different format, was no exception. There were profound panel discussions, tremendous breakout sessions and motivational keynotes. The big takeaway: Planned giving is top of mind for many nonprofits this year, and for good reason. Take a look at these three fundraising facts to remember as we close out this crazy year that is 2020.

1. Planned giving is major giving.

In case you weren’t already aware, planned gifts are major gifts!

Stacy Sulman, Jon Kraus and Kathryn Miree joined forces to present “The Moment the Magic Happens: Integrating the Gift Planning Conversation Into the Fundraising Team.” In it, they shared these smart tips for instilling planned giving throughout every department of your organization:

  • Major and annual giving don’t need to become technical experts, but they should be comfortable having conversations about various gift types, knowing what to ask and when to call on their planned giving team.
  • Consider a liaison model. Consult with and train front-line fundraisers.
  • Remind people of results (i.e., settled estates, blended gifts).
  • Determine what metrics work for your organization. Share these internally, that way everyone is invested and inspired.
  • Work with board leadership. If they don’t buy-in, it’s a fundamental issue for your entire nonprofit.

2. During economic and social volatility, it’s more important than ever to have a diverse revenue stream.

This truth was woven throughout a number of presentations this year. One being the closing keynote, “The Pandemic & Gift Planning — What We’ve Learned and What to Expect,” which I had the honor of co-presenting alongside philanthropic authorities Jeff Comfort and Cynthia Krause.

To find opportunities for success during this time, we must revisit major disruptions of the past: 9/11 and the Great Recession of 2008-09. During these crises, organizations and donors found that support could continue, with the help of planned gifts. As a result, nonprofits that stayed the course saw a significant uptick in closable planned gifts.

There is no script for our current situation, as nothing in modern-day history compares to this pandemic. What we do know is this: philanthropy will persevere. In fact, this sentiment is being proven right now. Donors are evaluating their estate plans, and many of them are looking to carry on their legacy by including a nonprofit. Organizations that are marketing planned gifts are receiving promising real-time response.

3. Asset-based giving is powerful.

Philanthropy guru Russell James’ keynote, “Putting Research to Work in Your Planned Giving Program,” highlighted ways to implement his research to progress your mission. Register here to watch the exclusive encore presentation of his keynote as a part of our complimentary Stelter Webinar Series.

What is the single most powerful way to transform your organization, according to Russell? Shifting donations from disposable income (cash) to wealth (assets).

Once a donor makes a gift from wealth, vs. cash, they continue to consider other ways their wealth can make transformational change. Furthermore, Russell shared that after a donor makes a planned gift, the propensity of their major and annual giving increases.

Asking donors to consider planned gifts now isn’t “death talk,” it’s a way to make a meaningful impact, both now and later. Continue your communication and stewardship efforts, with storytelling at the forefront. Tell visual donor stories to showcase the life-changing impact that planned gifts, from people like them, can make.

This doesn’t even begin to fully encompass three days of the best presentations planned giving has to offer, but it is a great place to start. If you missed out and would like to see to this year’s presentations and slide decks, you can still register on CGP’s website to access.

If you did you attend CGP 2020, what were your key takeaways? Keep the conversation going by commenting below.

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