Advice on How to Fetch Major Gifts with Planned Giving
In order to plan an appropriate strategy for each planned-giving or major-gift prospect, you need to know as much as possible about the prospect’s family and personal considerations, business and professional affiliations, financial situation, hobbies, memberships and other interests, writes Quincy, Mass.-based planned-giving consultant Debra Ashton in her new book, “The Complete Guide to Planned Giving: Everything You Need to Know to Compete Successfully for Major Gifts” (Third Edition).
You need to know if the prospect has supported other organizations like yours and at what levels, Ashton says, as well as be sensitive to the prospect’s stage of life. For example, does she have several children or grandchildren in college who could drain resources for the next few years or she is retired and looking to sell the big house to move to Florida or Palm Springs?
Ashton’s book offers tips on how to hire a full-time director of planned giving, involve board members in overseeing and soliciting such gifts, and develop a master plan that includes dollar goals and a budget of expenses.
Ashton also advises fundraisers on creating written documents about a group’s planned-giving program, and on integrating planned giving into capital campaigns and other major-gift programs.
“Many of the people on your long list of major prospects probably know about planned giving already,” Ashton writes. “They are being educated by scores of other nonprofit institutions, banks, brokerage firms and financial professionals. Your immediate challenge is to make a commitment to start a planned-giving program, even if you can only start with baby steps for now.”
(Ashton Associates, $95. For more information and to order, visit http://www.debraashton.com.)