Top 10 Tips for Engaging Potential Planned Giving Donors Effectively

Planned Giving

By Jeremy Reis

Planned giving is a powerful way for donors to leave a lasting legacy while supporting the causes they care about. However, encouraging donors to make such a significant commitment involves more than just asking for a donation. It requires a strategic and personalized approach that considers the donor’s interests, financial situation, and connection to your cause.

In this blog post, we’ll explore ten strategies to successfully encourage planned giving, from educating and personalizing your approach, to building strong relationships and offering financial planning advice.

These strategies will help you inspire potential donors and guide them through their planned giving journey.

Table of Contents

1. Educate Your Donors: The First Step to Successful Planned Giving

Understanding planned giving can be a complex process for many potential donors. By providing clear, concise, and easily understandable information about what planned giving is and how it works, you can help alleviate these concerns. This education may include explaining the various types of planned gifts such as bequests, charitable gift annuities, and trusts. Also, discuss the potential tax benefits that come with different forms of planned giving. Remember, the goal isn’t just to get donors to contribute, but to make them feel comfortable and confident in their decision.

2. Personalize Your Approach: Making Donors Feel Valued

Every donor is unique, with their own specific interests, values, and financial circumstances. Therefore, your approach to engaging with potential planned giving donors should be personalized. Understand their motivations for donating, their connection to your cause, and their financial capabilities. This will not only make them feel valued but also ensure that you propose a giving plan that suits their situation.

3. Build Strong Relationships: The Foundation of Planned Giving

Planned giving is a significant commitment that requires a high level of trust between the donor and your organization. Building strong relationships with your potential donors is therefore essential. Spend time getting to know your donors on a personal level. Understand their passions, their interests, and their motivations for giving. By doing so, you’ll build a relationship based on mutual respect and trust, paving the way for a successful planned giving partnership.

4. Offer Financial Planning Advice: Guiding Donors Through the Process

Planned giving often involves navigating complex financial territory. By offering expert financial planning advice, you can help your potential donors understand the implications of their gift and make an informed decision. Collaborate with financial advisors who can provide this guidance. This step can make the difference between a potential donor feeling overwhelmed by the process or feeling confident and ready to contribute.

5. Highlight the Impact of Their Gift: Showcasing the Difference They Can Make

People are more likely to donate when they understand exactly how their gift will be used. Show your potential donors the tangible impact of their planned gift. This could involve sharing stories about the people who have benefited from previous donations, or explaining in detail how their donation will contribute to your cause. By highlighting the difference their gift can make, you’ll help potential donors feel connected to your mission and motivated to contribute.

6. Recognize and Thank Your Donors: The Importance of Gratitude

Recognition is a powerful tool in fostering a positive relationship with your donors. Create a recognition program that acknowledges your planned giving donors in a meaningful way. This could be through public acknowledgment at events, a mention in your annual report, or a personalized thank you note. This recognition not only makes donors feel appreciated, but also encourages them to continue supporting your organization in the future.

7. Communicate Regularly: Keeping Donors Engaged

Regular communication is key to keeping your organization at the forefront of your potential donors’ minds. Keep them informed about your work, progress, and needs through newsletters, emails, or personal phone calls. Regular updates not only keep donors engaged but also help build a strong, lasting relationship.

As donors age, it’s not uncommon to see a decline in their regular giving patterns. This can be due to various reasons such as changes in income, health, or personal circumstances. However, it’s essential that nonprofits do not interpret this slowdown as a sign to cease communication. On the contrary, this is when maintaining connection becomes even more crucial. These donors, despite their reduced annual contributions, may still be considering a planned gift – a bequest or an estate gift, which could potentially be the largest donation they ever make to your organization. Continued communication keeps the relationship alive, reminds them of the impact their support has, and subtly reinforces the idea of leaving a lasting legacy through a planned gift. So even in the face of slowed giving, persist in your engagement efforts, as the results can be significantly rewarding for your nonprofit’s long-term sustainability.

8. Involve Family Members: A Family Affair

Family members often play an important role in planned giving. It’s crucial to involve them in discussions about planned giving when appropriate. This ensures everyone understands the donor’s intentions and can help avoid potential conflicts or misunderstandings down the line.

  1. Host Family Meetings: Arrange family meetings where the donor’s intentions can be clearly communicated to everyone involved. This can provide a platform for open discussion about the planned gift and its implications.
  2. Educate Family Members: Provide educational resources to help family members better understand what planned giving entails. This could include informational brochures, webinars, or seminars specifically tailored to explain the process and benefits of planned giving.
  3. Participate in Philanthropic Activities Together: Invite family members to participate in the donor’s philanthropic activities. This could involve volunteering at events or attending charity galas, allowing them to see firsthand the impact of their loved one’s contributions.
  4. Create a Family Philanthropy Plan: Develop a family philanthropy plan that outlines shared giving goals, identifies causes to support, and defines the role of each family member. This can foster a culture of giving within the family and ensure everyone is aligned with the donor’s vision.
  5. Consult with Financial Advisors: Encourage family members to meet with financial advisors who can explain the financial implications of planned giving. This can include discussing tax benefits, estate planning considerations, and other financial aspects related to planned giving, ensuring that everyone is well-informed and comfortable with the donor’s plans.

9. Provide Examples of Successful Planned Gifts: Inspiring Through Stories

Sharing stories of other donors who have made planned gifts can inspire potential donors. These stories can show potential donors how they too can leave a lasting legacy through their contribution. Use these stories to highlight the impact of planned giving, both for the donor and your organization.

10. Create a Planned Giving Society: Building a Community of Donors

Creating a special group or society for those who commit to planned giving can foster a sense of community among donors. This group can serve as a platform for sharing experiences, learning from each other, and celebrating the impact of their collective contributions. A planned giving society can make potential donors feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves, further motivating them to contribute.

Encouraging planned giving is a multifaceted process that requires strategy, personalization, and a deep understanding of your donors. By educating your donors about planned giving, personalizing your approach, building strong relationships, and showcasing the impact of their gifts, you can inspire them to leave a lasting legacy through their contributions.

Always remember, the key to successful planned giving lies in making your donors feel valued, understood, and part of your organization’s mission. With these strategies in hand, you’re well-equipped to cultivate a successful planned giving program that benefits both your donors and your organization, now and in the future.


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