Have you planned for planned giving?I’ll go out on a not-so-long limb and say that most nonprofit managers (even fundraisers) wake up in a sweat when they hear the words “planned giving.” Too bad. Planned giving can be your best friend, especially if you have any kind of track record in direct mail solicitations. Planned giving isn’t about understanding complicated tax law, it’s about understanding how to relate to people at a deep enough level so that they trust you with their eternal legacy. And you know who usually makes planned gifts? Long term annual fund donors. Time to check your pledge cards and web site. Do your donors know that your organization can go in their will?
Is it all about you? This is going to be hard to take, but I know you can: to your donors, it’s not about you; it’s not about your executive director; or even your organization. It’s about your mission. Today’s a good time to look at your marketing and fundraising material and ask yourself whether it looks like it’s about you and your organization, or why the donor really gives, to make a difference to your mission. So whether you save kids or cats, or preserve forests or fruit, your material needs to show how without your donors your mission would suffer – not your organization.
What’s your case? Have you reviewed your case for support lately? Your case is the reason why anyone should give to your mission. Every organization has a case for support (whether it’s written or not.) It can be in your executive director’s head, or written one page or written on several pages. This isn’t just an “academic” exercise. The most effective fundraising organizations have case for support committed to paper and apply it throughout their organization and throughout their solicitation cycle. A case can guide anything from annual fund solicitations to planned giving efforts. So get on the case – write your case.
#2 tries harder: Have you identified your “second ask” projects? A “second ask project” is what you solicit for once you get a gift in response to your primary ask of the giving cycle. For example, if you’re a relief organization and your primary ask is for child sponsorships, once you get a donor’s sponsorship, ask him or her for money for school books or clothing. The idea is that your current donors are your best donors – so keep them engaged through their next solicitation. Make your list of “second ask projects” and get those letters ready.