Year-End Giving

As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to planned giving marketing at year-end, I advise our clients to stop distributing planned giving targeted mailings by October. Most organizations are in full throttle with their end-of-year and annual fund solicitations intended for outright giving. Trying to compete against annual fund solicitations with planned giving mailings doesn’t make good business sense, and doesn’t consider how the recipient is inundated with year-end solicitations in general.   mgh.png

However, most of the planned giving world knows that solicitation of a legacy gift does not decrease the amount of outright giving. In fact, research done by Russell James of Texas Tech University has proven otherwise. Once a donor makes a legacy gift, their annual giving actually increases because their relationship with the organization is strengthened.

So instead of doing your own planned giving mailing, include legacy giving check boxes on the reply devices.  As a reminder, some of the ways to integrate your planned giving message with year-end solicitations are quite simple:

  • Include a postscript on the bottom of the solicitation letter 
  • Include a handwritten note on the letter for the donor who might be considering a large gift 
  • Include legacy giving as an option on your donate page
  • And as was witnessed most recently, include planned giving on your “Giving Tuesday” solicitation

Massachusetts General Hospital’s planned giving staff followed the strategy of adding messaging to the hospital’s general fundraising solicitations. They approached the MGH Fund staff about adding a planned giving message to the hospital’s Giving Tuesday email, and it was a win! Mass General received planned giving inquiries that would have been missed had they not taken action. So for next year, collaborate with your development and communication departments to make your year-end giving a success for all.



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