Cultivate Donors for Bequests Early On
If you’re focusing your planned-giving cultivation efforts exclusively on older donors, you could be missing an opportunity to get more bequests.
The report “Bequest Donors: Demographics and Motivations of Potential and Actual Donors,” researched and written at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University for Campbell & Company, looks at the typical demographics of charitable-bequest donors and what charities can do to better understand why some households don’t leave bequests.
The report relied on data from two surveys of more than 3,000 households to examine the relationship between socio-economic status, lifetime giving, charitable-bequest intent and motivations for charitable giving. It found age and education level, not income, to be the most important factors to affect the likelihood that a respondent would make a bequest.
One in three of those surveyed said they didn’t have a charity named in their wills but would be willing to consider naming one, and those most likely to consider adding a charity to their will were aged 40 to 60, held at least a bachelor’s degree, and were motivated to add a charity by “doing good” and “doing what is expected.”
The report also found that people with a charity named in their will were, for the most part, between the ages of 40 and 50. Only 4 percent of retirees surveyed had named a charity in their will, and just one in four would consider doing so.
Peter Fissinger, president of Campbell & Company, says successful planned-giving cultivation involves nurturing long-term relationships that start well before donors reach retirement age.
“What is often suggested is that planned-giving professionals work with people for planned gifts later in their lives,” Fissinger says. “But the study suggests you can look to ongoing individual giving. If an organization is a part of someone’s life for a long period of time, they’ll be good prospects for planned gifts.”