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What Planned Giving Metrics You Should Measure Instead of Legacy Commitments

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.

Measure of successMany legacy commitments never actually turn into gifts. So measuring which planned giving metrics will be more helpful and accurate instead of “proof” of legacy gifts?
1- Awareness/Activity – If you can determine that your donors, supporters, fans, etc. are aware of the option to leave a legacy… that’s huge! And you can measure that by monitoring engagement activity! For instance, you can determine if awareness is growing by measuring click-thru rates from planned giving emails, clicks on your planned giving web pages, time spent online viewing planned giving pages, responses to print efforts, inbound phone calls, and so much more.
2- Conversions – Leads! Solid requests for information, engagement and follow-up (such as filling out forms online or on printed items).
3- Asks – On page 6 of Penelope Burk’s new book titled Donor-Centered Leadership lies a startling little statistic: “Among donors who have assigned a bequest in their wills, only 4% say they were influenced to do so by a representative of the recipient charity.” 4%? In other words, 96% of donors were NOT influenced by a representative of the recipient charity? We all know that more donors give and give more generously if they are asked. So let’s get out there and ask! And while you’re at it, count the asks. That you can measure!
Get out your spreadsheet and start measuring today. Then show your Board the results! They’ll get excited and interested in the potential they see on the horizon.

SEE ALSO:

>> 8 posts that will help you develop a solid planned gift marketing strategy
 

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6 responses to “What Planned Giving Metrics You Should Measure Instead of Legacy Commitments”

  1. Paul Deakins says:

    Great comments Greg. Ironically, I am sitting at my desk preparing for a meeting to re-examine all of our reports on our planned giving activity. I agree that the metrics you post are the direction we need to move toward, but I’d also be interested what other information/metrics people are using to present planned giving activity. (Number of expectancies, probates in process, Dollars in, etc.) What reports are they finding are providing the best picture to their leadership / boards that satisfies their need to know “What money is coming in the door.”

  2. Paul Deakins says:

    Great comments Greg. Ironically, I am sitting at my desk preparing for a meeting to re-examine all of our reports on our planned giving activity. I agree that the metrics you post are the direction we need to move toward, but I’d also be interested what other information/metrics people are using to present planned giving activity. (Number of expectancies, probates in process, Dollars in, etc.) What reports are they finding are providing the best picture to their leadership / boards that satisfies their need to know “What money is coming in the door.”

  3. Greg Warner says:

    Hi Paul- I honestly don’t know. And I’m not sure this follow-up will help you. But my pal Greg Lassonde commented on this article in my group on LinkedIn (Smart Planned Gift Marketers – https://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostRecent=&gid=4447816&trk=my_groups-tile-flipgrp) as follows:
    Many things can be measured and the list you post Greg W. is a good one for mid-sized and larger organizations. However the list is not universal as it does not apply to many other mid-sized and most smaller nonprofits that are going to have a much smaller digital effort (if anything at all).
    What might annual universal measurements look like:
    1) # qualified leads broken out between one-on-one asks and communications/marketing
    2) # of new confirmed gifts broken out by a) one-on-one legacy asks, b) communications/marketing, c) previously unknown estate gift
    3) $ in matured gifts
    What would also make this data useful is a national database in which nonprofits reporting this information would also include:
    4) # of FTE time on legacy giving (whether it’s .05 or 9 FTE)
    5) total operating budget
    6) area of nonprofit sector in which nonprofit operates (e.g., arts)
    While there are lots of other interesting measures, having a national data base with hundreds and thousands of organizations participating would allow a user to dial in their own criteria for an apples-to-apples comparison of where your organization stands. And each subsequent year, you only need to update the first three categories for the most part. Or maybe you are successful in talking to your boss and you are able to happily report an increase in #4, FTE.
    Keeping this national benchmarking approach purposefully simple would be key to making it work. And imagine all of the organizations setting goals based on these first three areas. At last our field would have a useful national standard.
    You might want to contact him. He’s really smart and sat in your seat for many years. Let me know if you’d like me to make the introduction.

  4. Greg Warner says:

    Hi Paul- I honestly don’t know. And I’m not sure this follow-up will help you. But my pal Greg Lassonde commented on this article in my group on LinkedIn (Smart Planned Gift Marketers – https://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostRecent=&gid=4447816&trk=my_groups-tile-flipgrp) as follows:
    Many things can be measured and the list you post Greg W. is a good one for mid-sized and larger organizations. However the list is not universal as it does not apply to many other mid-sized and most smaller nonprofits that are going to have a much smaller digital effort (if anything at all).
    What might annual universal measurements look like:
    1) # qualified leads broken out between one-on-one asks and communications/marketing
    2) # of new confirmed gifts broken out by a) one-on-one legacy asks, b) communications/marketing, c) previously unknown estate gift
    3) $ in matured gifts
    What would also make this data useful is a national database in which nonprofits reporting this information would also include:
    4) # of FTE time on legacy giving (whether it’s .05 or 9 FTE)
    5) total operating budget
    6) area of nonprofit sector in which nonprofit operates (e.g., arts)
    While there are lots of other interesting measures, having a national data base with hundreds and thousands of organizations participating would allow a user to dial in their own criteria for an apples-to-apples comparison of where your organization stands. And each subsequent year, you only need to update the first three categories for the most part. Or maybe you are successful in talking to your boss and you are able to happily report an increase in #4, FTE.
    Keeping this national benchmarking approach purposefully simple would be key to making it work. And imagine all of the organizations setting goals based on these first three areas. At last our field would have a useful national standard.
    You might want to contact him. He’s really smart and sat in your seat for many years. Let me know if you’d like me to make the introduction.

  5. Jay Smith says:

    I like some of the areas you suggest for metrics. Having worked many years with the standard # of calls, # of asks, # of visits, etc. format for metrics just to appease the Board, I agree that more meaningful metrics should be used. For one thing, it’s too easy for your field reps to just inflate the numbers solely for reporting purposes to supposedly justify their existence. On the other hand, I’ve heard a VP level exec proclaim, “I want my peole out knocking on doors!” Of course we all know that NOT how you produce planned gifts.

  6. Jay Smith says:

    I like some of the areas you suggest for metrics. Having worked many years with the standard # of calls, # of asks, # of visits, etc. format for metrics just to appease the Board, I agree that more meaningful metrics should be used. For one thing, it’s too easy for your field reps to just inflate the numbers solely for reporting purposes to supposedly justify their existence. On the other hand, I’ve heard a VP level exec proclaim, “I want my peole out knocking on doors!” Of course we all know that NOT how you produce planned gifts.

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