Planned giving programs can be big-time fundraising mechanisms, but starting such a campaign can be a daunting task for any nonprofit organization.
Speaking during an international conference on fundraising, Judi Smith of Funding Services Now and Dianne S. Johnson of Endowment Builders offered advice on building a planned giving campaign from something that already exists as a proven fundraiser for many nonprofits – the annual fund.
Smith and Johnson said that a planned giving campaign needs to start with the board. If not the chair, then a key member needs to “own” planned giving. Further, the board needs to be the first group of people to document their own planned gifts.
They suggested ranking the likelihood of planned giving prospects:
- People who support the mission.
- Regular donors of small gifts.
- Donors of major gifts.
- Older donors.
- Start with an Endowment or Planned Giving committee (with each member to make their own planned gift).
- Target an event to include planned giving prospects.
- Review the database for a mailing program to a planned giving prospect group.
- Mail to existing members to reconfirm gifts and survey them.
- Look at offering charitable gift annuities.