Steps in Creating a Planned Giving Program

Planned giving is simply a method of securing gifts designated to be given so they will comply with the legal requirements necessary to qualify for estate and/or income tax benefits. As always, it is wise to consult with estate planners and lawyers in the process of creating your own planned giving program. The following is a brief outline of the steps involved in the process.

  1. Enlist the support and commitment of your board and organization to the creation of the planned giving program.
  1. Begin and/or continue to build relationships with attorneys, accountants, and other financial professional and make sure they are very familiar with your organization and its mission.
  1. The board should create a planned giving committee or a sub-committee under an existing development committee to work on the plan.
  1. The Planned Giving Committee (PGC) should create investment and gift acceptance policies for full board approval that will provide the structure for accepting gifts. They should also consider all types of gifts as many are not simply money. They may also include stock, art work, property, etc.
  1. The PGC will also establish a “marketing plan” for this endeavor to include community presentations, brochures and other related materials, etc.
  1. Board and staff will work to identify potential donors, many of whom often come from the list of regular or long-standing donors to the organization (but not always). Prospects should then be invited to attend events, tour your facility, and receive materials about the program. This is part of the general marketing of the program.
  1. The most likely prospects will be visited by a board member and the person with the connection to the prospect during the solicitation process. These meetings may not be a “one shot” occasion as some prospects take more time to decide. Based on the answer from the prospect, the organization will either get the gift or schedule another time to meet with the prospect at a mutually agreeable time.
  1. Follow up is important no matter the outcome of the prospect meeting. This type of giving takes time and the follow up is critical.
  1. The use of professionals to market your program is also important. Informational packets with material about your program can be delivered to: lawyers, CPAs, financial planners, insurance agents, and even funeral home directors. These professionals are in a position to offer a potential donor information about your organization that can result in a gift even when you do not have a relationship with them.
  1. Use your social media to market the planned giving program. A “legacy button” should be on every page of your website. Some organizations also put verbiage on their business cards such as “Remember us in your will” or “Talk to us about leaving a legacy.” Seeds must be planted to bear fruit.
  1. Make sure your local community foundation is aware of your planned giving program. Many donors who are unfamiliar with your organization will learn about it from the community foundation, so get on their list.

Diversified Funding Sources

All nonprofit fundraising should begin with a development plan that includes a wide variety of methods for generating revenue. Putting all your eggs in any of these “baskets” can be problematic. A good fundraising plan should be developed annually to ensure that the organization has the financial resources it will need to carry out the programs and services aligned with its mission.

How well is your nonprofit doing in this area? Write the approximate percentage of revenue generated currently in each area. If you have no revenue from a particular area, simply put 0%.

If several of these areas are not currently being utilized, work with your fundraising personnel and the appropriate board committee to begin expanding the types of revenue your organization pursues. Explore those that will give you the biggest return on your investment of time, and remember that some will take more time to show a return on that investment, but the payoff may be larger than other sources.

Refer to the resources sheet in your handouts for books and Internet sites that can help you learn more about these and other revenue methods such as: cause-related marketing, corporate sponsorships and more.