Planned Giving: Turning Donor Consideration Into Donor Action
According to Giving USA 2007, charitable bequests totaled an estimated $22.91 billion in 2006. As in recent years, these charitable bequests made up less than 8 percent of the estimated total giving that year. But research shows that one in three individuals would be willing to consider having a charity named in his or her will.
These findings support the belief that organizations need to focus on upgrading donor consideration into donor action, especially for planned gifts. What does this mean for you?
Whether you are beginning a new program or hoping to invigorate an existing planned-giving effort, you are far more likely to be successful if your planned-giving program is fully integrated with your comprehensive development efforts and communication strategies.
Why marketing/cultivation is so important
For decades, passive fundraising has marked the industry approach to planned giving. It seems that we are satisfied with a marketing and cultivation methodology that is separate from many of our related donor-development activities, dependent on direct-mail contacts with 0.5 percent to 1 percent response rates, and reactive to donor intention.
It is possible that our passivity is rooted in a mistaken belief that most planned gifts come from older, wealthy donors who have already contributed significantly through cash gifts. Although some planned-gift donors fit this description, most are hidden in your database. However, we now know how to uncover your best prospects for annuities, bequests and charitable remainder trusts.
Armed with the knowledge of how to pinpoint our best planned-gift prospects by type of giving vehicle, as well as the paths these donors follow in their relationships with our organizations, we can consider an integrated cultivation process. The donor-development life cycle begins when prospects enter our database with a comprehensive, proactive program that erases the misconception that planned-giving marketing should be separated from other donor cultivation.