Estate Planning Awareness Week Is Oct. 18-24. Let’s Prep for Outreach.

From Oct. 18 to 24, the critical documents that we talk about every day get their moment in the news cycle. Who needs National Donut Day when we’ve got Estate Planning Awareness Week? OK, wait, let’s not try to compete.

If the holiday is a surprise to you—or a surprise that it snuck up on you again—no worries. We can help. We’ve pulled together tips to make the most of your donor outreach.

Ideas to maximize the week’s potential:

#1 Share the Stats

Your planned giving prospects likely relate to these numbers. Use your social media channels to grab their attention by showing them that they’re not alone. Close your communication by offering your support to create a plan.

The 2021 study of 2,500 adults done by found that:

  • Only 1 in 3 American adults has a will
  • 35% of people said that that COVID-19 pandemic caused them to see a greater need for an estate plan
  • There’s been an increase in people saying that they “don’t know how to get a will or living trust” (7.6%, up from 6.3%)

#2 Communicate the Ease and Flexibility

Knowing that they have options and flexibility might be the kick a prospect needs to include a gift to your nonprofit in their will.

Here are some ways to tell that story this week:

  • Focus on people. Seeing donors’ faces and reading personal stories inspires the notion that yes, I can and want to give. (The confirmation that “people like me do things like this.”)

Sample text: “By adding just one sentence in their will, John and Laura Main pledge their support for future Tech College students, giving these deserving collegians the education they’ve worked so hard for. Read more about the Mains and how your gift can make a big difference at Tech.” 

  • Talk about different options, like a gift contingent upon certain events or designating a percentage of an estate.
  • Stress flexibility. Remind readers that they can alter their gift until the will or trust goes into effect.

#3 Make Clear That Estate Planning Is More Than a Will

Remind supporters that a well-coordinated estate plan consists of at least four documents:

  1. Last will and testament and/or trust
  2. Durable power of attorney for finances
  3. Durable power of attorney for health care
  4. Living will or advanced directive 

This message can be especially impactful following an anxiety-inducing prompt, like, “Is your plan missing one of these four things?”. Help prospects take control of their full plan by explaining the documents and next steps.

#4 Remind People That Wills are For Everyone

Two common barriers to will planning are the belief that you don’t have big assets and procrastinating because the need doesn’t seem urgent. Counter with language like:

  • Do you have children? You’ll need a will to ensure that your children will be cared for by the people you want as guardians.
  • Do you have assets? If you’ve started a savings plan through your employer—even if it’s only $500—it’s an asset. A car that’s paid for? An asset. A checking and/or savings account and meaningful personal possessions? Yes, those are all assets.
  • Do you dream of making the world better a better place? Use your will to leave assets to a beloved cause.
  • Do you know who would take care of you? You may think “it could never happen to me,” but this step is easy and critical. A durable power of attorney for health care names someone you trust to oversee medical care and make health care decisions if you are unable to do so.

Resource: Sample Social Media Text

Include hashtags to categorize posted content and make it easier for people to find. Suggested hashtags include #estateplanningawarenessweek, #estateplanning and #beprepared.

Example 1:

It’s Estate Planning Awareness Week! We get it, not as exciting as Donut Day. But trust us, it’s equally sweet feeling accomplished because you’ve made a plan. We want you to be prepared—and feel more secure—no matter what happens in life. Start today with one small step.

Example 2:

Are you one of the 2 of 3 adults who don’t have a will or living trust? Take control during #estateplanningawarenessweek. We can help!

Call to action options:

  • Download our free brochure, “Estate Planning Starters.”
  • Visit our website to see how easy it is to get started.
  • Contact Robert Daily at…

Other Creative Marketing Considerations

There are so many ways to tell the story of estate planning this week. Here are some additional marketing ideas.

  • Ask members of your nonprofit board to post on their social media accounts.
  • Live-stream a Q&A with a local estate planning attorney. Record it as future content to promote.
  • Get philosophical with prompts about the future. For example, “The biggest difference between money and time is you always know how much money you have, but you never know how much time you have.”
  • Retweet content about the importance of estate planning from sources you and your donor’s trust.
  • Pull quotes from your already published planned giving donor stories to share on social media platforms—no need to reinvent the wheel.

+ Get more ideas from the National Association of Estate Partners & Councils, including sample emails and press releases.

It’s a great week to help donors plan their legacies. Here’s to a successful celebration of our industry’s work!

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