10 FREE Ways to Ask for a Planned Gift

Do you ever worry that you only get one shot at a planned giving ask? Do you ever agonize over the timing? Ever worry about rushing it?

It’s understandable.

Every year, planned giving plays a bigger and bigger role for nonprofits. For starters, planned gifts are typically the largest gifts you’ll receive. What’s more, once a donor names your nonprofit in their will or as a beneficiary, their annual gift typically increases as well.

(Remember that good news Dr. Russell James had on planned giving?)

So don’t just think of the ask as a one-time, face-to-face conversation. Consider all the no-cost ways you can consistently market planned giving.

Free Ways to Bring Up Legacy Giving

1. Your Email Signature

Use your email signature to promote planned giving by adding an ask. Something like, “Change lives with one sentence” (linking to your bequest language web page), is simple and direct.

2. Your Business Card

Add a line about planned giving to your business card connecting your title and contact information with the ask. “Secure your legacy and support change with a gift in your will,” is one such addition.

3. Your Board

Together with your board president, meet with each board member individually to talk about their motivations for serving and ask them directly to make a planned gift with language like, “Have you thought about what your legacy will be?” (Psst: Face time with your board is powerful, here are some more ways to interact with them.)

4. Your Board’s Influence
Let’s linger with the Board for a moment. This dedicated group should not only be your top planned giving prospects, they should also be your top planned giving cheerleaders. Ensure that they have the language they need to talk with prospects. At the very least, they should be comfortable navigating and sharing your planned giving website.

5. Your Newsletter

As you know, frequency is powerful in marketing. Work with your fellow fundraisers to build a planned giving message into your general and end-of-year newsletters. Let a legacy donor tell their story (a heartfelt quote works well) or share the impact of a realized planned gift. All digital newsletters should offer a link to your planned giving website. Better yet, link to a free offer that aids the donor in their estate planning.

6. Your Website

Make it easy to find your planned giving page from your other digital footprints. Add it to the main navigation and inside of donation pages on your main website.

7. Your Space

Does your nonprofit have a physical presence? If volunteers and community members come by, present planned giving ideas via a display of brochures or a poster. If you have a spot where videos play, make sure your planned giving stories are part of the rotation.  

8. Your Event Materials

For events you host or attend, incorporate your planned giving message via handouts or your planned giving homepage displayed on communal computers. The rise of QR codes could be a good way to get casual visitors to explore a digital offer.

9. Your Blog Posts

Create display advertising to run alongside your blog posts. This can be an easy way to remind readers about planned giving and to promote planned giving guides.

10. Your Social Media

Be sure to incorporate planned giving messages onto your social media page and into your social media posts. Facebook, in particular, is well-trafficked by older adults. Pew Research noted that 73% of adults aged 50-64 use Facebook; 50% of those 65 and older.

Worried About Over-Marketing?

So, if you do all of this, will you be overdoing it? Not at all. Message fatigue is highly unlikely. Remember the marketing “rule of seven” that says it takes seven impressions to spur action.

Donors won’t scan or examine each item with the same attention you will. They may not even feel that it’s targeting them individually. Getting planned giving and estate planning concepts in front of them regularly is critical…and you don’t have to have a huge budget to do it.

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