BDQ #7: Why Would an Organization Want to Have a Planned Giving Program?

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already come up with your own reasons why your organization ought to have a planned giving program. But what do you say to your boss? Your board of directors? Your fundraising colleagues?

Let’s consider the case for planned giving. A vigorous planned giving program provides many benefits – both tangible and intangible. Of course, the key advantage is financial revenue for your organization.

Improved Fundraising Results: Contrary to what your mother may have told you, it is the gift that counts, and planned gifts can be a significant source of additional fundraising revenue. Beyond regular annual and periodic major gifts, planned gifts offer donors an additional avenue for giving that pays off in increased fundraising results.

Diversified Revenue: Planned giving provides an important third leg of fundraising revenue: annual gifts, major gifts, and planned gifts. This diversification of fundraising revenue sources enhances financial stability over time. A sustained planned giving program becomes a reliable source of financial support even during the lull between major gift campaigns or when the economy or other externalities disrupt fundraising revenue.

A solid planned giving program also pays off in less tangible ways signifying that your organization is well-established, sophisticated, financially stable, and has a long-term vision.

Increased Credibility: Planned gifts are about the future. In this sense, planned gifts require optimism. A vigorous planned giving program demonstrates that your organization is working toward a better future.

Competitive Position: Let’s face it, there is competition for donors. Fundraising programs vying for your donor’s attention probably incorporate a planned giving component. If your organization doesn’t provide planned giving options, prospective donors may wonder why … or find their way to another organization that does.

Finally, a planned giving program offers a service to prospective donors that helps attract new supporters and constituents.

Heightened Visibility, Broadened Appeal: An active planned giving program raises your organization’s profile in the community and attracts prospective supporters who might otherwise have been unaware of your organization. Sometimes even the most highly motivated donors cannot give as much as they would like and offering planned giving opportunities provides an additional way for them to engage.

Enhanced Donor Relations: Cultivating planned gifts entails deeper and more substantial relationships than ordinary solicitations. Conversations about planned giving options open new pathways for prospective donors to involve themselves more deeply in your mission. Even better, planned gift donors tend to be what marketers call “sticky.” Once they’ve made a planned gift commitment, they feel invested in a deeper way and seek further opportunities for engagement.

Service to Constituents: Everyone ought to take advantage of the opportunity to create a basic will or other testamentary plan. Beyond the opportunity to ensure that their last wishes are carried out as they intend, there are myriad benefits to good estate and financial planning. An active planned giving program can be a service to donors and open the door for conversations about contributions of assets and blended gifts.

Attract Volunteers and Board Members: Planned gift donors are often highly motivated and engaged. More than most donors, they feel invested in the organization and mission. That’s no surprise. They’ve entrusted your organization with a portion of their life’s accumulation of wealth. Committed planned giving donors often find it natural to make additional contributions as volunteers and board members.

But what if you don’t have a planned giving program? Is it too late? There’s an old cliché that says although the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now. Planned giving programs are like that. What are you waiting for?

The BDQ (Big Dumb Question)

We’ve all been there: at some point during a presentation someone says, “This may be a dumb question, but…” and the presenter (hopefully in a gracious tone of voice) says, “There’s no such thing as a dumb question,” before providing the obvious answer. But sometimes, just to yourself, you have to admit you were wondering about the same thing.

That’s the idea behind this occasional series we’re calling “The Big Dumb Question” (or BDQ). Our aim is to provide easy to understand answers to basic gift planning questions – the kinds of questions you may be reluctant to ask. We’ve got a list of topics in mind (see below).

More Big Dumb Questions

Here are some of the BDQs we have addressed or plan to:

If there are other BDQs you’d like answered, let us know. You can remain anonymous, of course!

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