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3 Steps to Grow Your Planned Giving Program

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3 Steps to Grow Your Planned Giving Program

Planned Giving & Donor Development

Planned Giving is your donors’ way of expressing their appreciation, confidence and firm belief in your organization and its mission. It serves as a link between the present and the future, bridging the gap between your donors and the lasting success of your nonprofit. Planned Giving opens the door for your donors to put their money into something they value and where they can help make a difference.

These aren’t just three steps to raise more money. They are three steps that will help cultivate, grow and market a Planned Giving program that your donors will not only love but something in which they will feel proud to invest!

1. Set objectives/activity goals.

This will cultivate a level of activity that will draw in your Planned Giving prospects and give you opportunities to build stronger relationships with them.
EXAMPLE: I will call or visit 10 prospects by a certain date. Setting goals by activity is a simple and effective way to get to know prospects who may love your organization and the work you do in your community, but have never considered making a Planned Gift.

As an organization, you should always be aware of what you can control in fundraising. You can control what you do to instigate the giving. You can set and achieve goals of how many phone calls or visits you make. But you can’t control the outcome… how your prospect gives, or when they give, or how much they give.

2. Identify potential Planned Gift donors.

This will help you grow your list of Planned Giving prospects so that the activities and goals you set will be met.
EXAMPLE: Donors who have given 6+ gifts of any amount in the last 18 months. It’s not just about how much donors give; it’s also important to identify donors who have made repeat gifts of any amount over a significant period of time – these are your most committed donors.

Be sure to flag Planned Giving donors as prospects and “hot” prospects, meaning those who are more likely closer to investing in Planned Giving, in your database. Keep notes about each contact you make with these donors, and if/when you’ve discussed your Planned Giving program with them.

You may also want to use your database to set up other key criteria to find good prospects for Planned Giving, such as age, gender and marital status.

3. Create support communications to “market” your program.

This will help you sell your Planned Giving program to Planned Giving prospects, while also giving you the chance to educate your other donors about giving opportunities in the future.
EXAMPLE: a Planned Giving Brochure that’s included in scheduled mailings or distributed at events. A brochure might have basic information about the types of Planned Giving opportunities at your nonprofit, as well as a testimonial from an individual who has made a legacy gift.

Use your existing media and events as springboards for marketing your Planned Giving options. For example, include Planned Giving articles in your newsletter or in the “Ways to Give” section of your website.

Planned Giving Means Substantial Growth for Your Nonprofit

When you consistently cultivate, grow and market your Planned Giving opportunities, your donors will have the chance to express their deepest love for your organization and those you serve. Because planned gifts are an expression of support for your nonprofit, you’ll fall in love with Planned Giving as it reveals the love of your donors through their thoughtful gifts, which impact the present and future of your organization.

Read about the three planned giving options your donors will love, OR get back to basics with our article Planned Giving 101.

photograph of shellie speer - donor relations-Shellie Speer
Executive VP/Client Strategic Development

Shellie has been working side-by-side with Rescue Mission clients for over 30 years. She is the spearhead for Brewer Boost, which offers wraparound services like key messaging development and community engagement strategies. Her vision for an integrated donor communications model has empowered clients to set in motion successful development plans that strengthen their Missions’ financial foundations and partnerships in the community.