How a Planned Giving Program Can Increase Fundraising Now
Most nonprofit leaders are reluctant to start a planned giving program because they don’t see the immediate value. The thinking is, “Why should I create a program that won’t benefit the organization for another 10 to 15 years? I mean, I’m not even going to be here that long.”
But, hold on. That actually isn’t true.
My director of planned giving services, Robert Shafis, told me that recent research and data suggests one of the best ways to generate more gifts for an organization now is to actively market planned gifts, and use planned gift techniques in fundraising.
The data shows that planned gift donors give more in annual gifts right after they make a gift through their estate and financial plans. And it’s not a small increase but an increase of 75%, with consistently larger annual gifts in subsequent years. The message is clear: If you want more direct gifts now, planned giving in one of the keys.
OK, did you just read that? The more donors you have to give a planned gift to your organization, the more they will give now, like way more!
Secondly, research also shows that organizations that ask for and get gifts of non-cash assets, such as stock, real estate, collectibles, etc., see a much larger growth in overall giving than those that receive cash alone. Once again, the growth difference is significant, with organizations accepting stocks and non-cash gifts seeing six times more growth than those that just accept cash.
Is this enough evidence for you to finally consider creating or investing more in your planned giving program?
As Robert explained, “There are several factors at play here. The first is that the rules that apply to how gifts of non-cash assets are taxed make them much more valuable to the donor, and actually can make a gift less expensive for the donor. Also, by elevating the conversation, the fundraiser becomes a more credible and important part of the conversation.”
Having discussions with donors about their assets leads to several things as well.
While opening the donor’s eyes to alternative sources for gifts, it has the related effect of helping the donor see that their philanthropy is not the same as writing a check to pay the bills but is an extraordinary opportunity that calls for extraordinary gift options.
This is a key moment in the life of a donor. Talking about gifts of appreciated stock, real estate or collectibles (not to mention IRAs and donor-advised-fund gifts) launches the donor relationship to a new and exciting level.
You don’t have to know all about the planned gifts and tax options available. The main point is to listen and have planned gift options ready when you are meeting with a donor. This allows you to delve into talking about the donor’s assets and allows you to say, “That’s a great point, [donor]. Let me check with my planned giving expert and get back to you next week.” And then schedule another appointment to help the donor see what options there are.
So, don’t fall into the trap that investing in a planned giving program will only help your organization 10 to 15 years from now. If you want to increase revenue, it’s clear that creating the resources to create, build and manage a planned giving program will boost donated revenue right now.
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.