6 Ways to Encourage Planned Giving with Your Donors

6 Ways to Encourage Planned Giving with Your Donors

Planned giving is the most personal gift a donor can give you. After all, it’s been a lifetime in the making, through hard work, saving and investments. When a donor decides to give you a part of that, they are showing a lot of care for, and confidence in, your organization.

But even the most loyal, dedicated donors might need some encouragement. Not too many people enjoy contemplating end-of-life issues, so it’s pretty easy to procrastinate thinking about a legacy gift.

Here are six simple ways to get them thinking about it:

  1. Make it simple. Don’t confuse your donors with a lot of terminology, that’s what their lawyers are for. Just give them good reasons to support you in the long run, and give them the words to ask their lawyers to help them.
  2. Make it easy. Many older donors get frustrated with new technology, and they are skeptical of sharing personal information via the internet. Give them the confidence that it’s not a difficult process, that you will support them, and that they can trust you with the knowledge that they have named you in their wills.
  3. Just say it. “Please remember us in your wills.” And back that request up with good reasons to do so. Messaging in newsletters and other communications will keep the idea of a planned gift alive in their minds.
  4. Tell stories of legacy donors. With their permission, share what brought them to you, what they’ve experienced along the way, and why they made this important decision. Don’t focus solely on the biggest gifts; a small bequest is still an act of love to be celebrated. You can do this at fundraising events or in newsletters. This will remind other donors that your organization is important to them too.
  5. Honor past legacy donors. If a legacy gift has made a new initiative possible, make sure you let others know! In donor, volunteer, member or alumni communication, give credit to the donor. Something as simple as “this initiative as made possible by the legacy gift of Mr. John Q. Public.”
  6. Establish a legacy society. If you haven’t already done so, creating a legacy society will allow you to recognize people for the special relationship they’ve entered into with you. Offer unique opportunities to legacy society members, such as invitations to special events, pre-event receptions or planned tours of your offices just for them. Name them in as legacy society members in your programs and annual reports, if they choose. Seeing these things will encourage others to join as well.

You can do it! And we can help. Canopy’s low-tech, high-results program will guide you through it, from finding out who has already put you in their wills to uncovering the donors who want to do that. We’ll providing support, training and messaging at every step along the way.