Getting On Board With Planned Giving
Planned- or deferred-giving programs can bring new donors for your organization and increase the contributions from existing donors, as well as establish a strong financial foundation for your organization.
Planned gifts are current gifts of a future asset through bequests, charitable trusts or annuities. These gifts, often large in size, offer tax advantages to donors and future funds for organizations.
The book “Planned Giving: A Board Member’s Perspective,” published by BoardSource, an information source for nonprofit board members, and written by accounting firm Grant Thornton, offers an overview of the basics of planned giving to board members interested in being able to present it as an option when soliciting gifts from individuals.
“Board members play a critical role in planned-giving programs,” according to the book. “By virtue of their own commitment to the organization, they are best positioned to identify and approach prospects.”
In its conclusion, the book offers board members the following step-by-step strategy for getting their organization to develop a planned-giving program.
1. Get buy-in from the staff that will be affected by the program (e.g., executive staff, financial staff and development staff).
2. Develop the materials you’ll need to present the program and the options for giving. Materials like brochures, letters and legal documents should address frequently asked questions and state the case for supporting your organization.
3. Develop lists of planned-giving prospects. Pool the knowledge of everyone within your organization on your members or constituents. “Your full membership or other list should receive a mailing of the materials, as you don’t know who might be a perfect donor but has had only limited contact with your organization up until this point,” according to the book.
4. Develop procedures for following up with responses to your initial mailing and target your approach to key prospects. The procedures should specify things like who should make initial contact with prospects and who will close the donation. The book also recommends finding a way to be able to answer potential donors’ technical questions without stepping into the role of their financial advisor.