Planned gifts

The 4 Steps to Make to Create a Bequest Program

4 Important Steps to Have a Successful Bequest Program (even if you haven’t started yet)

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For those that know me, know that I am so passionate about helping organizations create sustainable legacy giving programs. And yes, I mean SUSTAINABLE! What is the use in learning how to close a particular type of gift if you can’t keep recreating it over time. You need a system - one that after you spean some time building it, it makes it SO MUCH EASIER to get future gifts.

I did an online session for Bloomerang that attendees loves - why? Because I gave them actionable steps to create a program. Are you looking to a step by step process? Check out the webinar here

Planned Giving Basics - Start From the Beginning

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Basics of Planned Giving To Nail before Going Forward

I have seen all types of planned giving programs.  And I use the term “program” very loosely.  Some organizations are trying to do sophisticated gifts without really having the basics down. Trust me – it’s important!   

Knowing the basics of a planned gift or program is essential

I know, I know – you want to skip right to the fun stuff about planned gifts: 

Better engagement

Complex planning

Bigger gifts (this one should have been listed first)

Want to test your knowledge on some basics before skipping ahead?

Let’s make it fun:

1.     A legacy gift is:

  1. A bequest

  2. An endowment

  3. A gift of artwork

  4. All of the above

2.     Most legacy gifts are:

  1. Life insurance policies

  2. Charitable gift annuities

  3. Charitable remainder trust

  4. Bequests

3.     The most likely legacy giving prospect is:

  1. Someone that came to an event

  2. Someone that once gave a large gift years ago (but nothing since)

  3. Someone who gives a small gift multiple times a year

  4. A new board member

4.     Why would a donor want to make a legacy gift?

  1. Recognition

  2. Tax benefits

  3. Passionate about the mission

  4. All of the above

If you got 4,4, 3 and 4 you are on your way.  To see whether you are ready for a legacy giving program take the fun and quick quiz here.

If you want to learn more about using legacy giving in your development program the best start is to join our closed Facebook group here to share with others resources and tips on growing your planned giving program.

When Should You Launch a Legacy Giving Program?

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When should you launch a planned giving program?

There are many reasons to factor in.

If you work in a nonprofit organization I bet you have some responsibility to raise funds or work with donors.  It may not be readily apparent (it’s not in your title) but if you have any contact with donors you are in the revenue generating business.  It is the only way for the organization to function.  If there were no revenue coming in, you wouldn’t be able to do the incredible work you do. 

In the initial start up stage of an organization it is common to be supported by a few foundation grants and some individual seed funders – that is fantastic!  It got a wonderful idea or program off the ground.  You start gaining momentum.  Perhaps the funding is sufficient for the first few years.  And then, your organization is doing so well it needs to grow – either the facilities, staff, technology, geographically… you name it.  Where is this funding coming from?  If you don’t know, and haven’t started to work on it, you will be stuck. 

Because what go you here will not get you THERE.

We know that a financially strong organization should capture both annual gifts and legacy gifts (or, planned gifts).  They both contribute to the stability of the organization in different ways and provide opportunities for donors to give in different ways.

You need a stable and consistent annual campaign.  Absolutely.  But did you know as you build a donor base, those same annual donors will give you legacy gifts one day?  So, if you are still building your annual campaign, let’s talk about ways to start to incorporate legacy giving into your development program and culture of giving so that when it comes time to promote legacy giving it is a very easy ask.

Want to know all the ways? Click here to read the full article I wrote on as a guest article for Alesha Mathis, nonprofit consultant to small and mid-size new organizations.