PMA Consulting, LLC

Planned Giving Wrap-Up: What Are You Waiting For?

As PMA concludes its monthly focus on Planned Giving, we hope you have gleaned something worthwhile and will make an effort to advance the strategy in your own organization. The PMA Blog’s topics this month included:

Planned giving is a powerful and important tool in the Development Director’s toolkit, but is too often woefully underutilized in small-to-midsized organizations – the types of organizations that would be most helped by the major gift impact of those bequests! Though it is rarely stressed at the board level, planned giving is something each development professional should champion on behalf of their organization – particularly during recession periods when deferred gifts would be most welcome by donors.

A few considerations as you prepare to tackle this opportunity in your own organization:

  • It has long been suggested that longtime donors without children are most likely to make legacy gifts, and while this is true (are you tracking child information for your donors?), don’t miss the opportunity of donors without grandchildren. According to a 2009 study by University of Georgia Researcher Russell N. James III, among the 1,306 people who participated in the study who dropped a charitable bequest from the wills, the number-one reason was that they had become grandparents.

Tactic: With more young couples electing not to have children, it is worth investigating a bit further to determine the planned gift potential of longtime donors.

  • Recent studies confirm that gender does not affect willingness to consider bequests, but according to Margaret May Damen, co-author of Women, Wealth, and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation, women outlive their male mates by seven years on average, making them more likely to be the final word on a family’s philanthropic legacy.

Tactic: Conduct meetings to discuss planned giving with both members of a couple, not just the individual with whom your organization has maintained the most consistent relationship, or the individual considered “the decision maker.”

  • The most difficult part of launching a planned giving platform is getting it off the ground. How to even begin? Do you rush out and print up brochures? Or call up your wealthiest donor and pitch the idea? Probably not to both.

Tactic: Start by having a discussion with your Board Chair – seeking a board member willing to be the first is important, as it provides you with an example for others to follow. Highlight that gift in the organization’s newsletter or website, and make the availability of assistance in planned giving a part of development material going forward.

PMA is a champion of planned giving – whether launching a program from scratch or fine-tuning a longtime strategy, the firm is prepared to help you take your organization to the next level. Send us an e-mail if you’d like to discuss: pm@pattonmcdowell.com