Planned Giving is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Planned Giving is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Planned giving isn’t about quick wins. You can mail out a brochure or add a checkbox to your donation slips asking if donors are interested, but taking those short steps won’t get you anywhere in the long run. 

Making phone calls is a great start, but once you’ve asked about estate planning once, where do you go from there?  

Giving up after a couple of asks is like giving up halfway through a marathon because you haven’t reached the finish line.  

It’s possible that you’ll see some quick returns on the easy short-term options. Someone is bound to include your organization in their will at some point, though you might not know it until it’s too late to cultivate a closer relationship. Mailing out a brochure or a one-and-done calling initiative might turn over an estate gift or two. 

Getting a bigger return on your planned giving investment requires a long-term strategy: deeper understanding of your donors, ongoing conversations with them, and strategically keeping the idea of a planned gift in front of them.  

People create or update their estate plans when something happens—the birth of a grandchild, the death of a loved one, or a new diagnosis. When life events get a donor thinking about their legacy, your long-term relationship with them will keep your organization top of mind when planning gets underway. 

Giving USA emphasizes the importance of investing in a long-term plan. “Be proactive in the current climate, both with your donors as you market vehicles for philanthropic consideration, and with your governing boards who often need to be reminded that financing this area of advancement is investing in the health and longevity of your organization—even if times become lean.” (Giving USA, 2023)

Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Time to approach the starting line! If you need help, contact us for a free 15-minute consultation.


Looking for a comprehensive resource? Download the FREE Planned Giving Growth Plan to learn about goal setting, identifying prospects, following up on leads, and tracking your progress.