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What's stopping you from communicating with your legacy giving prospects?

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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.

Getting a single email, letter or telephone call out to a legacy giving prospect isn’t always easy.  In fact, with all we have to do each day, it’s downright challenging (at best) or even, sometimes, impossible (at worst).
Last night I stumbled upon an old article by my hero Mal Warwick on SOFII’s site about planned giving.  All the way at the bottom I found this chart which was the result of Adrian Sargeant’s and Elaine Jay’s research back in the 90’s and early 2000’s.
The question was:  What factors led or contributed to your decision to leave a legacy?
communicate about planned gifts
 
With 1 out of 3 stating that “a communication from the charity” led or contributed to the decision, shouldn’t that inspire us to communicate more with our donors and especially our prospective legacy donors?
Furthermore, according to Sargent and Jay, ‘ “When asked whether they believed that it was appropriate for charities to ask their supporters to consider a legacy gift, 76.5 percent indicated they felt that this form of fundraising request was appropriate. When asked whether they recalled the legacy communication from the participating charity, only 42.4 per cent were able to remember having received it.” ’
Mal says, “Could that possibly be because the charities in question didn’t repeat the message often enough?”
What’s holding you back from communicating more with your donors about legacy giving?
 
Please note that the total of these numbers is well in excess of 100 per cent because some respondents indicated that more than one factor bore on their decisions to pledge. And, as Sargeant and Jay point out, the large proportion of ‘other’ factors ‘reflects the wide range of often very personal motives that were expressed for this form of charity support.

2 responses to “What's stopping you from communicating with your legacy giving prospects?”

  1. Greg, even though some may consider this study “dated”, I refer to it often becuase human behavior doesn’t change very quickly. The information is very relevant and useful and the authors are right! We’ve got to take the initiative or we’ve failed in our most fundamental of responsibilities as a representative of the organization we work for: building relationships the move our mission forward through funding, volunteer hours, delivery of services and mission-delivery.
    I often muse with clients that we’re the ultimate “daters”. When put in those terms, it’s easy to see the steps and conversations that are appropriate to have with our constituents:
    – What do we have in common?
    – Do we want to spend more time together?
    – What kind of relationship are we looking for?
    – Finding and working toward a joint commitment
    Viewed from this vantage point, the planned gift conversation is natural and expected. Thanks for searching the archives and bringing to our attention this great study.
    Take care,

  2. Greg, even though some may consider this study “dated”, I refer to it often becuase human behavior doesn’t change very quickly. The information is very relevant and useful and the authors are right! We’ve got to take the initiative or we’ve failed in our most fundamental of responsibilities as a representative of the organization we work for: building relationships the move our mission forward through funding, volunteer hours, delivery of services and mission-delivery.
    I often muse with clients that we’re the ultimate “daters”. When put in those terms, it’s easy to see the steps and conversations that are appropriate to have with our constituents:
    – What do we have in common?
    – Do we want to spend more time together?
    – What kind of relationship are we looking for?
    – Finding and working toward a joint commitment
    Viewed from this vantage point, the planned gift conversation is natural and expected. Thanks for searching the archives and bringing to our attention this great study.
    Take care,

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