Planned Giving: Turning Donor Consideration Into Donor Action
* In addition to annual giving, recurring behavior pertaining to memberships, volunteerism and ticket buying also demonstrates loyalty linked to ultimate giving in the form of a planned gift.
* Loyal donors deserve special treatment, and that begins with the solicitation and renewal process. Whenever possible, reduce the number of “asks” targeting loyal donors and investigate anniversary-date solicitations.
* Loyal donors include individuals who do not give every year. My research reveals that individuals giving at least 60 percent of the time ultimately behave similarly to “never miss” annual donors. Want to take action on this knowledge? Establish a “triggering event,” such as a minimum of three gifts in five years, to identify emerging planned giving prospects. Then focus your best and least intrusive and most successful donor relations activities on these individuals to stimulate their ultimate giving potential.
* Recognize loyalty with the same vigor devoted to mega-gifts. Many loyal donors have significant ultimate giving potential, often through charitable bequests. Let them know your deep appreciation for their loyalty with recognition in your annual report, donor honor roll and Web-based recognition.
* Thank them, thank them, thank them! Break out of formulaic thinking and let your loyal donors know you really care. Yes, it is important for organizational leadership to thank donors, but always remember that most donors are mission-centered. Try having those who deliver or benefit from your services and mission participate in the thanking process. Who is better at documenting the benefits derived from an individual’s gift support?
* Regularly ask donors why they support your mission. Short surveys that concentrate on donor attitudes and preferences, rather than provocative “wealth” inquiries, offer the opportunity for the sharing of insightful information that may strengthen the bond. Make sure you add survey results to the database and develop action items based on the insights gleaned from the responses.