Eight Steps to Launching a Planned-giving Program
Even though most development professionals understand the pyramid of giving and know that planned gifts sit at the top, many organizations never get a planned-giving program established because something else always seems a higher priority.
But a few simple steps can help even the smallest organization get started.
1) First, recalculate your existing personnel budget, allocating a portion or percentage of the chief development officer’s time (and salary) to planned giving. Consider starting with 5 percent or 10 percent. Naturally, that means delegating or eliminating activities now taking that portion of the job. Build it into the job description. Add a similar amount of time to whatever support staff is available.
2) Find a board member or volunteer who will serve as the planned- and major-gifts chair and help you build a supportive committee. The person you seek is someone who has very likely been a board chair and has either personally benefited or has a close family member or friend who has benefited from your organization’s work.
Don’t expect the committee to do the work. They’re there to provide support and open doors for the work you will do. Let the committee decide which of several planned-giving brochures you provide for them is the best fit for your organization. If they help choose one, they will proudly carry it to friends and acquaintances.
3) Join an existing planned-giving support group in your community. Visit the National Committee on Planned Giving Web site -- www.ncpg.org -- and find a group in your area. Ask those who attend what they’ve been doing that works and then copy it. Learn about the more complex planned gifts from this group. Ask questions and listen. Attend planned-giving training seminars.
4) Decide what you’re going to promote. We all eventually die, so bequests are a logical starting point. In fact, even at places with very large, established planned- and major-giving programs, bequests represent the lion’s share. So start asking to be included in wills, and actively ask for bequests.