Posts Tagged ‘planned giving’

Raise your hand if you think planned giving is hard

“If planned giving is so good for both nonprofit organizations and the donors who support them, why don’t more organizations have a planned giving program,” asks Michael Rosen, author of Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing. This question is rhetorical because Rosen knows the answer. When Michael and I recently spoke on the phone, he said he likes to ask his audiences to raise their hands if they think planned giving is difficult. When the majority of the room responds, he’s never surprised. His goal with training groups and in his book is to simplify and demystify the process for fundraisers.

Nonprofits are missing major opportunities to cultivate funds due to the planned giving myths of perceived complexity and difficulty of implementation.

Missed opportunities

Rosen says, “First, there is a significant gap in what traditional planned-gift marketing is achieving and what people are willing to consider. Second, traditional planned-gift marketing is just scratching the surface of planned giving potential.”

Debunking the myths

Michael Rosen gives detailed steps to market your planned-gift program to inspire donors. He emphasizes tapping people in their prime and focusing on their motivations. He addresses active recruitment, stewardship and much more. He provides you with an explicit plan to move forward with a planned giving program.

Join us on Thursday, Oct 17, at 11:00 am CST

Register now and join us for a lively discussion about how to simplify and incorporate planned gift marketing into your daily fundraising efforts with expert and author Michael Rosen.

Questions in this interview will touch on the book’s following highlights:

Identify who makes planned gifts and assess your organization’s potential for planned giving.

Understand planned gift donors’ motivations and how these fuel the author’s recommended approaches.

Explore how to educate and cultivate planned gift prospects and professional advisors.

Engage in effective asks and stewardship practices.

Get started now by submitting questions for us to address in the interview on October 17. Simply use the “Reply” box below to submit your question.

See also:

Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing

Relationship Fundraising


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Leave Shakespeare out of your planned giving

“If planned giving is so good for both nonprofit organizations and the donors who support them, why don’t more organizations have a planned giving program?” asks author Michael Rosen in Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing.

This book addresses all the myths about planned giving that might be holding you or your organization back from tremendous opportunities. This comprehensive look at planned giving provides useful information that will help charities get started or established nonprofits refresh their approaches to achieve greater results.


Michael Rosen’s Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing looks in detail at how to promote planned gifts on behalf of your organization. While many Americans have the ability to make a planned gift, the research reveals that few have actually done so and that many more are willing to consider this type of giving. Rosen explains this condition means two things:

“First, there is a significant gap in what traditional planned-gift marketing is achieving and what people are willing to consider. Second, traditional planned-gift marketing is just scratching the surface of planned giving potential.”

I asked Heidi Hancock, a partner at Mosaic Non-Profit Development, who oversees strategy and operations for the Boston-based consultancy to join us for a guest interview about Rosen’s book.

CausePlanet: Do you agree with Rosen’s five myths about planned giving and would you add any to them based on your experience in the field with clients?

Hancock: Absolutely, those five myths are pervasive when it comes to planned giving. I find Myth One (planned giving is very difficult) and Myth Two (one needs to be a planned giving expert to be involved in gift planning) are enough to stop 90 percent of causes from pursuing planned gifts. I would add, “I can’t talk to my donors about making a planned gift because it means my cause is looking forward to their demise” to the planned giving myth roster.

Planned giving offers such creative ways for a donor and a cause to work together to achieve a donor’s personal goals alongside an organization’s goals. These goals are often reached during the donor’s lifetime. Not all planned gifts come about like a Shakespearean tragedy where everyone dies. Some of my favorite planned giving stories demonstrate tremendous impact; benefit the donor, his/her family and the cause; and nobody dies to make it happen!

Join us for our next installment with Heidi Hancock about Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing. We’ll feature her answer to what readers will be most surprised to learn in Rosen’s book.

Are you guilty of believing one of the myths discussed in this post? If not, what else is stopping you from inviting your donors to consider a planned gift?

CausePlanet members: Register now for our next author interview with branding expert and author, Jocelyne Daw, on Wednesday, July 31 at 11 a.m. CST. We’ll discuss her book Cause Marketing: Partner for Purpose, Passion & Profits.

Not a member yet? Get smarter faster and learn more about access to our summary library and author interviews or try us out and download a free sample or purchase single titles that interest you at our store.

By Denise McMahan

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Demystify planned giving: Bequests are best

Ken Burnett’s Relationship Fundraising is a broad overview of the fundraising profession and how practitioners can incorporate relationship building in everything they do. One area in particular that Burnett stresses is the value of promoting bequests. Too often nonprofit executives assume a hands-off approach to planned giving because it appears to involve technical knowledge beyond their comfort level. In reality, Burnett claims that we as fundraisers can easily incorporate the bequest language into all of our marketing strategies to get current and potential donors thinking about our organizations when they make their long-term plans. Burnett goes on to encourage nonprofits to borrow language they like from peer organizations who are successfully cultivating planned gifts.

Some facts about bequests from Relationship Fundraising:

Nonprofits depend on bequest income. It accounts for about one-third of all voluntary income and is bigger than both government grants and donations from grand-making foundations.

Only one in eight wills (12%) mention a nonprofit. That’s just six percent of the population who will support their favorite causes in this most substantial and least painful of ways.

The average age of someone who leaves a bequest to a nonprofit is eighty-one years.

The average age of a final will that includes a bequest to a nonprofit is less than five years (25% are less than one year old). Therefore, bequest marketing is not nearly as long term as fundraisers might suppose.

Bequest income can be influenced and even predicted.

Bequests account for by far the largest part of planned giving, they are the most important target of relationship fundraising. Some bequest marketing strategies include:

    Constantly reinforce your bequest message to existing supporters. Then characterize this segment and begin to look for similar targets outside of your existing supporters.

    Promote benefits to leaving a bequest and integrate bequest messages into fundraising and publicity.

    Research the bequest area and analyze your own records.

    Prepare an integrated set of materials that are relevant and help others prepare or change a will.

    Prepare a strategy, brief the staff and appoint one senior staff member to build relationships with bequest prospects.

    Communicate regularly with people who assist potential donors (lawyers, financial advisors, etc.).

    Stage a major media launch of a campaign using materials and video to promote the importance of bequests to the organization. Start a One Percent Club where donors can leave one percent of the residue of their estate.

    Reinvest a percentage of current bequest income in future promotions.

    Spotlight bequest donors in your materials, newsletters and annual reports. Consider a suitable “celebrity” or high-profile bequest donor to introduce your campaign.

    Keep great records and establish a bequest database.

    Read the full summary of Relationship Fundraising by subscribing to our Page to Practice™ library or visit the CausePlanet summary store for single titles.

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