Three Ways to Get Planned Giving off the Back Burner

By Randy Nyce May 24, 2023

When was the last time you checked on the back burner and all the important but less urgent projects that live there? For a lot of us, planned giving has been sitting in the back corner simmering for a while. With the pressures of the now — annual fund, major gifts, and capital campaigns—our best intentions don’t always develop into action.

Here are three tips to get that Planned Giving program moved forward and the temperature turned up:

Start small…but start

Executives: allocate time for your advancement team to commit to planned gifts and protect that. Start small—even an hour a week can get things rolling. Your fundraisers feel the pinch to make numbers now. They may need permission and accountability to allocate precious time to gifts that may not bear fruit for some years.

Development professional: talk to your boss about the need to plant seeds for that future gift. You may be the beneficiary of seeds someone else planted years ago. What seeds are you planting? Build an hour or two a week into your goals and protect that time.


Identify your “loyals”

Loyal support of your organization is the single biggest indicator that a donor will consider a planned gift. A recent study found that 78% of planned gifts came from donors who had given 15+ gifts to the organization during their lifetime. Don’t worry so much about the size of the gift; many people may not have the cash to give a big gift during their lives but have wealth to be shared through their estate. Bottom line—you likely already know your best planned giving prospects.


Relationships rule

Planned giving can be intimidating when you focus on the technical aspects of how. When you allow the relationship to rule, the question will begin with why. Henri Nouwen’s gem “The Spirituality of Fundraising” puts it this way, “We [fundraisers] have something to offer—friendship, prayer, peace, love, fidelity, affection, ministry with those in need—and these things are so valuable that people are willing to make their resources available to sustain them.”

“Moving your planned giving program from intention to action takes planning and discipline.”

The how is important—that’s where your planned giving partner like Everence springs to action. The why is the secret sauce. Your relationship with your donors is a gift to them especially as you help them navigate the path from intention to action in their planned giving journey.

That’s true for you, too. Moving your planned giving program from intention to action takes planning and discipline. Small steps build momentum. Start small…but start.