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How To Start A Nonprofit Planned Giving Program

How to Start a Nonprofit Planned Giving Program

Planned giving is an important—but often easily ignored—component of every nonprofit’s fundraising program. The reality is this: Charitable organizations tend to focus on raising money today through their Annual Fund or major gala event. The funds raised through those efforts usually end up in the nonprofit’s bank account immediately or within a month or two. By contrast, “planned gifts” from donors often take more time to secure, and sometimes don’t pay off until the donor dies—which could be decades from now.

These gifts’ longer timeline make them easy for nonprofits to discount. However, that’s a mistake. Planned gifts to nonprofits tend to be quite generous. In fact, just one such donation could end up being many times the amount your donor gave to your Annual Fund during his/her entire lifetime.

If you’re a board member or staffer for a nonprofit organization, here are some ways to supercharge your organization’s planned giving program:

• Learn the basics. Rest assured that your staff and board of trustees don’t need to become experts in the technical aspects of planned giving. However, they do need to generally understand the kinds of options—such as charitable trusts—that might be available to donors. They also should understand how these choices might fit with an individual donor’s philanthropic goals and values. A financial advisor and/or attorney familiar with planned giving can help answer many questions your team might have, or even offer a short training session on planned giving options.

• Reset board members’ expectations. In addition to understanding planned giving options so they can talk with donors, board members also need to have reasonable expectations of how planned giving works and how long it can take to come to fruition. Your executive director, staff and perhaps a professional financial advisor can help educate your board.

• Share successes. Tout planned giving achievements to your board, staff and potential donors. When they see the typical size of a planned gift—they’re often amazingly generous—your board members will become zealous supporters of your work. Donors are also more likely to consider a planned gift once they see peers do something similar.

• Create marketing materials. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Many fundraising firms can provide you with quality informational materials at a reasonable cost. Using outside experts can also help ensure that your materials (website text, brochures, etc.) keep up with changing tax laws. In keeping with “Share your successes,” consider creating a regular feature in your donor newsletter that highlights different kinds of planned giving options and shares actual donor stories.

• Target potential donors. Your board can help you greatly with this step. Look for donors who have been involved with your nonprofit for several years. They may have the potential to go to the “next level” by setting up a charitable trust or making your nonprofit a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement plan. Plan several different types of events that allow a staffer or board member to briefly introduce the idea of a planned gift without turning it into a hard sale pitch. Your donor might actually be relieved at the end of a lunch to hear that you’re talking about a future gift rather than a $5,000 check today!

• Establish a circle of professional advisors. You need legal, tax and financial planning experts who understand planned giving and can help your donors with the more technical aspects of setting up their gifts. Teams like RegentAtlantic’s Neighborhood Nonprofit Group, which are passionate about working with both nonprofits and individual donors, may often have more expertise than professionals who only deal with philanthropic issues once in a while.

In a future blog, we’ll highlight some of the actual strategies your donors can use to establish a planned gift. In the meantime, give us a call if you need additional information, training or hands-on help.


Important Disclosure Information

Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, including the loss of money invested. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Therefore, it should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy, including the investments or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by RegentAtlantic Capital, LLC (“RegentAtlantic”) will be profitable. Please remember to contact RegentAtlantic if there are any changes in your personal or financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing our previous recommendations and services, or if you wish to impose, add, or modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment management services. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for your review upon request. This article is not a substitute for personalized advice from RegentAtlantic. This information is current only as of the date on which it was sent. The statements and opinions expressed are, however, subject to change without notice based on market and other conditions and may differ from opinions expressed in other businesses and activities of RegentAtlantic. Descriptions of RegentAtlantic’s process and strategies are based on general practice and we may make exceptions in specific cases.

Important disclosure information

Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, including the loss of money invested. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Therefore, it should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy, including the investments or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by RegentAtlantic Capital, LLC (“RegentAtlantic”) will be profitable.

Please remember to contact RegentAtlantic if there are any changes in your personal or financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing our previous recommendations and services, or if you wish to impose, add, or modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment management services. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for your review upon request.

This article is not a substitute for personalized advice from RegentAtlantic. This article is current only as of the date on which it was sent. The statements and opinions expressed are, however, subject to change without notice based on market and other conditions and may differ from opinions expressed in other businesses and activities of RegentAtlantic. Descriptions of RegentAtlantic’s process and strategies are based on general practice and we may make exceptions in specific cases.

RegentAtlantic does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult with a legal and or tax professional of your choosing prior to implementing any of the strategies discussed in this article.

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