70 Nonprofit Trends for 2015
Wayne Luke, managing partner, nonprofit practice, Witt/Kieffer
5. Embrace new energy behind philanthropy and the role of crowdfunding. Philanthropy is becoming more and more a global initiative. With the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge going viral in 2014 and the integral role of crowdfunding in new initiatives, not-for-profits should be prepared to harness new energy to complete specific forms of outreach that lead to quantifiable results and impact.
Claire Meyerhoff, editorial director, Planned Giving Marketing
1. For 2015, fundraisers who hope to bring in more planned gifts are looking for fresh ways to communicate with their longtime, loyal donors. Right now, my clients are very receptive to strategies that include the marketing of “Beneficiary Designation” gifts (the donor makes the charity a full, partial or contingent beneficiary of a retirement plan, life insurance, brokerage account or any asset requiring a beneficiary). This is the easiest planned gift to make! I like to call it a “lawyer-free gift,” because all the donor needs to do is fill out a “change of beneficiary form.”
Beneficiary designations are a great gift vehicle to market because you’re not talking about wills and death. For instance, in a newsletter, a college might include a brief article entitled “Your Retirement Plan can Start a Scholarship” or a crisis services program might send a letter to donors asking, “How can your life insurance save lives?”
Most charitable people have a retirement plan or life insurance, and their beneficiaries may be woefully out of date! When you market beneficiary designation gifts, you’re also doing a public service, because your donors may need to update their beneficiaries. Also, you can help donors understand that their retirement plan is one of the heaviest taxed assets if left to anyone besides a spouse — but when left to a charity, 100 percent of their hard-earned plan will go to a good cause.