Last month I defined Planned Giving.
Why have a Program? I’ve got a few reasons.
Build lifetime relationships. When a donor tells you they’ve put you in their estate or retirement plan, you’ve got the rest of their life to thank them. And you should take every opportunity. Draw them close to your work by inviting them to events; offering insider emails and print pieces; picking up the phone to say, “I was thinking of you;” dropping them a handwritten note or card; and generally showing your charity’s gratitude for their gift. Sincerity need not cost a lot.
Build endowment. Most gifts by will are unrestricted and I routinely encourage clients to put as much unrestricted gift revenue as possible into endowment. I know it’s hard, but do it. Restricted gifts that are non-expendable belong in your endowment without question—and in many states, by law. If you don’t have a Planned Giving program, don’t you wish your office had started it years ago? What size would your endowment be today and how much revenue would it produce each year? This is the time to start—or expand—your endowment.
Grow other giving. It’s not unusual for those who invest in your charity for the rest of their lives, to increase their cash giving as they get more familiar with your good work. See the value of those lifetime relationships I mentioned?
Welcome people of low or modest means. Most of the planned gifts have no lifetime cost. Think of the bequest in a will or naming your charity as beneficiary of an individual retirement account. They come from your donor’s estate and cost nothing while she’s living. For lots of people, Planned Giving offers the only way they can make their ultimate gift to you. They’d like to do it now but can’t afford to. Welcome those people and give them an opportunity.
Help through the next recession. People die irrespective of the unemployment rate, the state of the economy and earnings on the NASDAQ and Dow Jones averages. When money is tight in your office because other sources of revenue like lifetime individual giving, government contracts and foundations have constricted, cash still flows from your donors’ wills, life insurance, pensions, IRAs, charitable trusts and other planned gifts.
Look to these if you need to convince a reluctant boss or board why they should let you start a Planned Giving program. Tell them, “There’s gold in them there wills!”
Next month’s third Thursday: “What You Need To Get Planned Giving Started.”
Tony Martignetti, Esq. is the host of Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. He’s a Planned Giving consultant, speaker, author, blogger and stand-up comic. You’ll find him at TonyMartignetti.com.
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