It’s April! And while it might not seem obvious, it’s a good time to talk about planned giving.
There’s something about the tax preparation ramp-up that gets people thinking about their financial affairs. They probably see their attorney or accountant. Some are looking for receipts for their gifts in 2018 to their favorite charity. Still others are reviewing their charitable commitments and considering how their giving might change under the new tax laws.
Here are four things you can do this tax season to inspire planned giving donors:
Put a testimonial in your newsletter: This is a tried and true method of inspiring planned gifts of all sorts. Ask a board member or a known bequester (someone who has told you they have put your organization in their will) if they will share their story and their reason for making the bequest. I’ve heard countless amazing stories, but it doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Just from the heart. People are generally willing, especially when you let them know that their story may inspire someone else to make the same kind of gift.
Send an e-blast on Ways to Give: Planned giving encompasses so many different instruments, some of which are very complicated. But if your organization wants to keep it simple, stick with bequests, IRA contributions, and stock gifts. Bequests are the easiest way for a donor to make a gift at death. But these same donors may also be interested in making gifts of assets to your organization while they are still alive. If you haven’t talked to your donors about stocks gifts or the IRA Charitable Rollover, you should! Create an easy-to-read e-mail that outlines the benefits of a few different ways to give and directs the reader to someone at your organization who can give them more information.
Visit your bequest donors: Some of the very best visits you’ll ever have in your fundraising career will be with planned giving donors! These are the people that LOVE your organization; they love it like family. And they need to feel your appreciation. You don’t want one of your bequesters to go to their tax advisor this season and take your organization out of their will because they haven’t heard from you!
Talk to older lapsed donors: Lapsed donors are a treasure trove of opportunity for your organization at every level. If you know the age of your donors, you’re ahead of the game. You can identify older people who have stopped giving to you. These folks may still have the same ardent love for your organization, but are now on a fixed or reduced income. That doesn’t mean they don’t still love you or that they don’t have any assets they could leave to you as a legacy. Get back in touch! Give them a call and update them on your work. If your organization hasn’t researched the age of its donors, you can try finding your planned giving prospects by looking at donors who have been giving to your organization consistently for the longest length of time. You’ll be amazed at what you find.
See if you can use any of these ideas to start a conversation about planned giving with your most devoted donors.