What's missing from most planned giving websites

Here’s my list of top things missing from most planned giving websites:

1- Phone number – It’s amazing that people forget this but they do!  Put it on the top/right of each page.  Why make donors jump through hoops to call you?

2- Click-to-email feature – Don’t just list your email address on your staff page.  Make sure it’s “clickable” so donors can email you easily.

3- Answers to the most common planned giving objections – If you don’t answer objections, how can you expect to get a gift?

  • Making a bequest sounds complicated – It’s easy.  One of the simplest ways to do it is to include a charity in your will or – even easier – you could add them as a beneficiary of your retirement account or insurance policy.
  • Can I change my mind? – Of course.  Most gifts allow you to change your mind at any time.  I wonder how many Penn State alum have taken advantage of this?
  • What about my family? – Family comes first, of course!  But you can give a small percent of your assets and, perhaps, your family will understand and applaud your generosity.
  • But I’m not rich! – Most gifts after a donor’s lifetime come from people of average means because it’s the best way for them to make a meaningful impact.  Even the smallest gifts help.
  • It’s a private matter – We understand.  You can always keep your plans to yourself.  But, by letting us know, we may be able to help you and your family avoid some inheritance taxes.  Plus it will help us plan for the future.  And, finally, it will allow us the opportunity to thank you and show you how much we appreciate your thoughtfulness.

4- Mission-oriented copy – It’s not about death and taxes.  It’s about the mission!  Tax benefits are one of the least important reasons for a bequest.  Don’t forget to let donors know the following:

  • The history of your mission
  • The future of your mission
  • Why you need their help?
  • What your leadership plans to do in the future?
  • How are funds stewarded?

5- Conversion opportunities – That’s marketing geek-speak for an order form.  Give people a chance to order information, download a report, request a meeting and/or notify you of their gift intentions.

6- Bequest language and your tax ID# – Put it front and center.  Bequests are the most popular gifts.  Treat them that way.  Make sure the bequest language is on your first web page.  Plus, you should make it easy for donors to forward the language to their estate planner.

7- Plain English – Donors are regular folks.  Don’t confuse them with legalese.  If my Aunt Carol can’t understand it, you made it too complicated.

Can you think of anything else you’ve found missing from most planned giving sites?


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