Overcoming Objections in Planned Giving

Despite skillful cultivation and nurturing, there are times when a qualified planned gift prospect will decline your request for a gift. You have a number of objectives at that point: 1.) determine the true objection, 2.) identify the source of the objection, and 3.) determine if the prospect is refusing to make any gift at all or if it is just a matter of timing. Explore different gift funding amounts and vehicles or a similar gift vehicle at a different time.

Some common objections to a planned gift include:

•             The proposal presents too many choices and the prospect is paralyzed by its complexity

In your efforts to be thorough, you may overwhelm a prospect with too much information.  The proposal should communicate the features of a gift, but too many choices can create indecision.  Don’t offer variations the donor hasn’t specifically requested to see. Planned gifts can help achieve multiple objectives; however, the illustration should focus on the objectives the donor has articulated as most important.  You’ll have the opportunity to refine your proposal in subsequent discussions.

•             Family members might express concern about the planned gift

Whether motivated by a concern about a parent’s capacity or concern regarding their own portion of an estate, children are probably the family members most likely to object to a parent making a planned gift. If the donor’s estate will be subject to transfer tax, point out  that the cost of a charitable gift is pennies on the dollar after factoring in estate and gift taxes. Also, explore creative ways to use wealth replacement insurance in conjunction with a life income plan that can potentially increase the children’s inheritance and make a charitable gift at the same time. 

•             Advisors might articulate objections to a planned gift.

Advisors are protectors of their clients’ wealth and helping them give it away is counter-intuitive.  It is common for advisors to neglect their clients' philanthropic objectives. Financial advisors are often paid a percentage of assets under management.  If their client makes a gift, there are fewer assets to manage and the advisor makes less money. Sometimes, the solution is for the prospect to communicate the importance of making a gift to the advisors.  A charitable trust managed by the donor’s advisor may be a more palatable option.