About Building Awareness for Planned Gifts

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Are you ready to start building awareness for planned gifts?Effective planned giving marketing requires a solid strategy Tweet This along with the following tactical steps:

  1. Building awareness
  2. Generating leads
  3. Cultivating those leads
  4. Closing gifts
  5. Stewarding your relationships to increase the size of the gift and prevent getting ousted from inclusion

Although it’s often overlooked, I think that building awareness for planned gifts is very important. I’m not talking about blasting overly promotional messages in emails or spamming your constituents with tax or financial planning strategies. I’m talking about the development of a thoughtful way to repetitively educate those among your supporters that simply don’t realize they can easily leave your organization a bequest.
While you and I know they can leave money to your organization, that’s because we understand legacy giving. But we are not like most of your supporters. More than half of Americans don’t even have a will (mostly because they simply avoid the subject). Who wants to think about their own demise anyway? No one! But tons of prospects would be glad to consider a planned gift if they only knew that such a gift was an option.
In many cases, awareness efforts can be very effective and quite inexpensive while reaping tremendous rewards. I outlined a bunch of ways to do it for free here. You should also consider the fact that many of your supporters can be found engaging with your organization on social media— “liking” and “sharing” your Facebook posts (for instance). Don’t forget that a growing number of seniors are online and using social media. Plus the cost to build awareness among seniors on Social media is ridiculously low while the returns can be tremendously high (average gift in the U.S is between $30,000-$60,000).
To learn more strategies, tips and tricks, and latest research to help you maximize your planned gifts, see our Inside the Mind of the Planned Giving Donor eBook.

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4 responses to “About Building Awareness for Planned Gifts”

  1. Another great post, thanks Greg W.
    I have one comment on a portion of point #5 above, “Stewarding your relationships to increase the size of the gift … ” I recognize this is not the subject of your post. However too much emphasis is put on stewarding legacy gifts to INCREASE THE SIZE OF THE GIFT. I see the obtaining of an increase as more of a byproduct of providing good stewardship. Perhaps I’m mincing words. But in the vast majority of cases the gift is a residual bequest, and we and our legacy donors simply don’t know how much that gift is going to be. And we more often also don’t know what the percentage of the residual will be. It’s rare that we’ll enter into conversation about these kinds of details, though it can happen sometimes.
    We do know that through providing good stewardship to those who’s entry gift is a charitable gift annuity, best practices will result in converting about half to also making a bequest (and of course, additional charitable gift annuity contracts).
    Again, great post, thanks.

    • Greg Warner says:

      Not mincing words at all. Good points Greg.
      Another way to look at it is as follows:
      A lot of turbulence occurs with regard an estate plan near the end of a supporter’s life. Nonprofits get added and dropped as beneficiaries. I think the best result of good stewardship is that a gift is more likely to remain in the plan as others get tossed out.

  2. Another great post, thanks Greg W.
    I have one comment on a portion of point #5 above, “Stewarding your relationships to increase the size of the gift … ” I recognize this is not the subject of your post. However too much emphasis is put on stewarding legacy gifts to INCREASE THE SIZE OF THE GIFT. I see the obtaining of an increase as more of a byproduct of providing good stewardship. Perhaps I’m mincing words. But in the vast majority of cases the gift is a residual bequest, and we and our legacy donors simply don’t know how much that gift is going to be. And we more often also don’t know what the percentage of the residual will be. It’s rare that we’ll enter into conversation about these kinds of details, though it can happen sometimes.
    We do know that through providing good stewardship to those who’s entry gift is a charitable gift annuity, best practices will result in converting about half to also making a bequest (and of course, additional charitable gift annuity contracts).
    Again, great post, thanks.

    • Greg Warner says:

      Not mincing words at all. Good points Greg.
      Another way to look at it is as follows:
      A lot of turbulence occurs with regard an estate plan near the end of a supporter’s life. Nonprofits get added and dropped as beneficiaries. I think the best result of good stewardship is that a gift is more likely to remain in the plan as others get tossed out.

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