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How to Build a Planned Giving Program

Consistency and Patience Are the Hallmarks of a Great Program


In "How to Raise Planned Gifts by Mail," author Larry Stelter, says that when it comes to technical expertise, gift planners often fall into one of three camps:

  • Deer in the headlights who cringe at the thought of explaining the finer points of planned giving vehicles.
  • Minor league players who are comfortable in their own shoes, but haven't reached the level of...
  • Black belts who possess an exemplary level of skill and often expect everyone else (including their donors) to share their passion for the smallest and most obscure details.

The ideal gift planner, of course, will be a "black belt," but with enough humility to neither talk down to a donor nor overwhelm him with arcane details.

Planned giving requires a very long time horizon, so people new to the field should start with self-education and take one step at a time. Consistency and patience will go far in building a healthy program for your organization.

Getting Started

Learn the facts about planned giving, the role it plays in nonprofit fundraising, and how to prepare your organization for it.

Promoting Your Planned Giving Program

Developing a healthy planned giving program requires constant attention. You have to market and promote your nonprofit, while cultivating current and prospective donors.

Planned Giving Methods/Vehicles

What gift vehicles will you market and accept? Start with beneficiary-designated gifts, where all the donor has to do is designate your organization as his or her beneficiary, and then work up to the more sophisticated methods.
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