“How to Say It” in Planned Giving (Useful Phrases)

One of your roles as a fundraiser is to match a donor’s charitable objectives with a plan that achieves those goals and supports your organization. Here are some phrases to incorporate into your dialogue with planned gift prospects during the important stages of discovery, cultivation, and solicitation.

Useful phrases to start discussions about philanthropy:

  • What keeps you up at night?
  • In the best of all possible worlds, what would you do to support our charity?
  • What's holding you back from reaching your charitable goals?
  • If there were no restrictions on you, what would you like to do philanthropically? Can you tell me why you say that?
  • What have you told your family about your charitable goals?
  • What would your family say if you shared your charitable goals with them?

Useful phrases to start discussions about estate/financial planning:

  • What is your number one concern about your estate/financial plan?
  • What would you like to change about your financial/estate plan?
  • What are your estate planner and financial planner doing to help you achieve your charitable goals?
  • What does your family think/know about your financial/estate plan?
  • How is your relationship with your family?
  •  I’ve been trying to get my own estate plan in order…
  • I worry about that too…

 Useful phrases to start discussions about planned giving specifically:

  • Is there any way I can be helpful to you?
  • What topics would you like me to send you some information on?
  • Have you thought about…?
  • Have you considered…?
  • We have some supporters that have ….
  • Here’s something that other people are sometimes concerned about…
  • Some people find it helpful to…
  • Would you like to talk more about…

 Some questions to be prepared to answer:

  • Well, what do you think I should do?
  • Well, I’m thinking about a trust – I went to one of these talks where they said it was the right way to go. I’m a little confused about it. What do you know about them?
  • I’m thinking about revising my will. What do you recommend?
  • I don’t have a will and would really like to see an attorney.  Can you suggest one?
  • I’ve heard of these gift annuity things – would that be good for me?
  • What’s the situation with estate taxes? How will that affect my situation?
  • Is it true I can give my IRA to charity and pay no taxes?