3 Ways To Jumpstart Your Planned Giving Program (without a budget)

3 Ways to Jumpstart Planned Giving (without budget).png

How can you start a legacy program if you're on a tight budget?

I hear this all the time.  Legacy giving programs are expensive – the lawyers, the marketing, the deferred gifts – oh my!  If this is what you believe, or what your organizational leadership tells you, well then read on to how you can do legacy on a budget (and be sure to share this with your CFO!)

If you are like most nonprofit professionals you are under a lot of financial stress – you need to reach your fundraising goals, with little budget and even less time to do it.  Huge advertising plans, hiring extra staff, having an attorney on retainer – it’s out of the question and you can create a successful program without all of that.  Use the following tips and watch your legacy program take shape and soar!

1.     Use what you got

I bet you already create marketing and communication materials for your organization.  Create a legacy message and start to weave it in everything you are already producing.  Begin with the materials that can easily be revised, such as your website.  Then, make a list of everything your organization sends out to donors.  When you are ready to update any of your materials, add in your legacy message.  Anyone else in your organization going into production for new and revised materials?  Get your legacy message in there as well.  It may take some cajoling (or some baked goods) but talk with your colleagues about the importance of legacy giving being in everything you send out to donors and prospects.

$ spent = $0 (ok, maybe a few dollars for the donuts)

2.     Train the staff

If you work in a nonprofit, chances are you speak with donors.  It may not be your primary responsibility to ask for gifts, such as a fundraiser; however, everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – that works in a nonprofit is a potential fundraiser and any conversation is a potential “ask.”  That means if you work in finance, marketing, IT, programs – wherever.  You may get a call or meet with a supporter, board member, or future donor.  And you never know where that conversation will lead.

So if everyone is a potential fundraiser, everyone needs to be on the same page for legacy giving.  The best way to do that is to hold some trainings – make them fun.  There doesn’t need to be Powerpoint involved (but you get extra credit if you take it to that level!).  Trainings can be held sitting around a table eating lunch everyone brought from home.  Discuss the legacy message, the meaning of legacy gifts and why they are vital to the long-term success of your organization. 

$ spent = $0 (everyone brought their own lunch, remember?)

3.     Pick up the phone

The best way to get some legacy gifts?  Speak with your donors.  In the beginning you don’t even have to straight out ask for a gift.  Get to know your donors; ask the questions most people don’t, such as why did they start to give, and why do they continue to support your organization.  If there is an interesting story, ask to interview them for a quote or a testimonial for your website.  Get to why they give, and then you can easily start to ask them about the how they give. 

Make it a habit.  Pick up the phone and call 3 people each week to have a value- based conversation, and adjust it as time goes one.  Make sure to track these conversations in your donor management system and check in quarterly to see if giving has shifted.

$ spent = $0 (assuming your phone bill is included in your budget).

Download these tips here for free

 If you are ready to take action go to our Facebook page where you can post questions, watch FB live trainings and more! Click here