donors, both as individuals and as a demographic group, is key to any
kind of sustained successful fundraising - particularly when
implementing a planned giving program.
are ready to proceed with your plan when you feel confident that your
organization should exist for the long haul and you know that at least
some of your donors really agree with you and are willing to put their
money on the line for you.
is the purpose of planned giving? The purpose is to build an endowment.
An endowment is an income-generating mechanism that involves setting
money (principal) aside to generate interest. The principal is never
spent. The interest income can be used as the organization wishes.
Interest income is usually used to offset administrative costs but can
be used as you wish unless the gift is restricted for a particular
program or service by the terms of the donor.
About Asking For A Planned Gift. Grassroots organizations rarely get
planned gifts and even more rarely ask for them. Grassroots groups are
too busy trying to meet monthly expenses to look that far ahead. They
often do not think of themselves as permanent institutions. The reason
these groups rarely ask for planned gifts is because many times they
feel awkward talking to donors about their money and death at the same
time. However, it is important to remember how much money comes from
planned gifts. Gifts from bequests are equal to the amount given by
foundations and greater than the amount given by corporations.
importance of a will. All planned gifts are made with terms laid out in
a will. Everyone should have a will because anything you own during your
lifetime you will also own after your death. Statistics show that as
many as 7 out of 10 people do not have a will. Introducing your donors
to planned giving is a service to them because it causes them to think
about getting their wills made or updated.
Donors To Make A Will. The first step in planned giving is to convince
donors that they need a will. The second step is to convince them that
your organization is worthy of their support upon their death. Most
people underestimate the value of their estate and overestimate the time
and cost involved in setting up a will. They do not realize the work
involved in getting an estate in order when there is no will. As a
non-profit you cannot be involved at all in the creation of someone's
will. You can encourage people to create a will, you can offer workshops
on wills with attorneys or estate planners as the workshop leader, you
can discuss what you know about wills with donors, but you must not get
involved in giving legal advice or helping people write their wills.
Whether paid staff or volunteers, people involved with a planned giving
program can run the risk of being accused of exerting "undue
influence." To avoid this you must avoid giving specific advice or
assistance. A donor should use their attorney or advisor.
can make a bequest. All that is required is that you are alive and of
sound mind when you make your will, and that you own something that you
can't take with you. Many small organizations think that bequests are
only for wealthy people but most individuals own something (a car, boat,
house, stocks, cash) that can be left to the organization.