Planning for planned giving is a very sensitive task for donors. What they leave behind for others is a big decision that shouldn't be taken likely. A nonprofit might be anxious to know if they are receiving a bequest ahead of time but, according to representatives from The Stelter Company, that isn't always the case.
The representatives shared their findings on this subject at a recent Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) international conference. The results of their study showed that a whopping 53 percent of those polled said they prefer that an organization find out about a bequest when the time comes. Another 5 percent said they intend to notify the organization at some point.
A bequest is a very personal decision and donors don't necessarily want their decisions to be private until the time comes. Stelter urged nonprofits to respect the privacy of donors and to assure them they have a right to change their minds. They also listed the reasons why donors choose not to notify nonprofits ahead of time:
- It’s the donor’s own business, and no one else needs to know: 80 percent.
- The donor might have a change of heart, so it’s better not to say anything: 34 percent.
- Worries about being pestered with mailings and phone calls if the nonprofit knew about the bequest: 26 percent.
- A sense of the nonprofit looming like a vulture waiting for the money: 26 percent.
- A fear of getting special treatment, which would make the donor feel uncomfortable: 24 percent.
- Fear the organization would sell/give the information to other nonprofits that would also approach the donor: 19 percent.
Bequest giving is a big source of revenue for nonprofits, which makes it even more important that nonprofits respect the wishes of these donors. Failing to do so will likely result in the loss of the bequest and bad publicity.