PMA Consulting, LLC

Plan Now! Moving Planned Giving Up On the List

Planned giving is critical to ensuring a sustainable development plan for any nonprofit organization. Yet, the initiative often takes a back seat in terms of priority to other fundraising strategies – direct appeals, corporate, foundation, and government grants, special events, annual and capital campaigning and, most notably, major gifts. Perhaps this misguided prioritization can be attributed to the fact that planned giving rarely yields immediate returns and therefore is perceived as a luxury revenue source in the grand scheme of development planning.

Unfortunately, many development officers fall short of ever implementing a planned giving program or, at the very least, understanding the synergy that exists between a planned giving program and the development of all other donor prospects. PMA suggests that this devaluation of planned giving can adversely impact the overall success of an NPO’s donor cycle.

The following is an illustration of a thoughtful and maintainable approach to building your donor base:

Success in the identification phase of the donor cycle is based on the premise that fundraising is more about the needs of the donor, than about the needs of the organization. A savvy development officer will understand their donor prospect well enough to identify their needs and apply the appropriate development strategy. Therefore, planned giving is not a secondary but rather a primary strategy for any donor prospect that requires the opportunity to combine their philanthropic aspirations with their overall financial, tax, and estate planning goals.

After all, planned giving prospects are not unlike any other donor prospects, particularly those with major gift capacity:

  • Having wealth and deriving satisfaction from using that wealth to advance the causes in which they believe.
  • Accessible to you and/or currently giving to your organization.
  • Having a need that will be satisfied by making a significant gift to your organization.
  • Aware of the effectiveness of your programs and the professionalism of your operations.
  • Passionate about wanting to see your mission achieved.

All that separates planned givers from other donor prospects is their need to create impact through a will, bequest, or trust. These donor decisions are seldom made in a vacuum, but instead are the result of early and careful planning on the part of the development officer. Moving forward, PMA advises all development officers to plan now! Don’t wait to help others plan their impending philanthropy. Fail to recognize this donor need early and often and you fail to execute the balance of the donor cycle effectively and efficiently.