What to do about planned gift marketing when you don't know what to do…

What to do about planned gift marketing New subscribers to my blog get a survey asking them what topics they’d like to see me cover. 
You can send me requests too at info@imarketsmart.com.
Recently Frank, a new subscriber, said, “I need help with growing this organization’s legacy program. Planned giving is a new area for me. And now my new boss wants me to come up with an action plan for the next year. I just don’t really know how to start.
Frank, first I should mention that I’m sorry to hear that your boss is not a leader. Leaders help staff succeed. Your “boss” is telling you to figure it out yourself. That’s too bad.
Nonetheless, here’s how you should start (keeping in mind that I don’t have details about your organization and its donors):
STEP 1. First, let’s not overcomplicate this. Simply start by making a list of the people most devoted to your organization and its mission. That will most likely include the following:

  • Current board members
  • Past board members
  • Staff
  • Volunteers
  • Donors (especially longtime supporters)
  • Advocates
  • Etc.

STEP 2. Add a column to the list so you can add a capacity score next to each person.
STEP 3. Next give each person a numerical ranking with 5 reflecting potential capacity (in other words, a 5 means they have money!)
STEP 4. Now sort the list so the highest ranking individuals (the 5’s) are at the top. Eighty percent of the success of your planned gift marketing efforts will be dependent upon your list. And, now you have one. Plus, now it’s sorted in a hierarchy that clearly shows you where to emphasize your efforts since you don’t want to waste time.
STEP 5. Now that your list has been developed, simply engage with your planned gift prospects. The easiest and best way to do that is by asking them to take a donor survey:

  • In-person (face-to-face is best)
  • Via telephone
  • Via direct mail
  • Via email/online

That survey must include a question asking the donor about their planned gift intentions. Is this something they already did? Would they consider doing it? Is this something they will never do?
After developing your list, the donor survey is where you need to start. It’s really that simple. You’ll generate leads and uncover previously undisclosed gifts.
If you need help, we created a report you can download for free.
donor survey



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Mike Cowart
7 years ago

“Strategic donors” may not show up as “5s” regarding capacity. They tend to give small annual gifts for 5+ years and are great legacy gift prospects. They have no credit card debt, drive older cars, and have no mortgage payment.

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