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Fundraising Resources for Planned Giving



What comes to mind when you see the phrase “planned giving”? Do you see a grand mansion, expensive cars, and uber-rich people dripping in jewels? Do you see yourself cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding a planned gift? Or do you see yourself avoiding the whole thing with “I’m too busy…” “Our donors aren’t wealthy….” “Our organization is too small…” In other words, does planned giving intimidate you?


I’m here to ease your mind and put you on track to a planned giving program for your organization. There is so much information on the web about DIY planned giving programs for nonprofit organizations. There are steps and checklists, blogs, and free programs, and plenty of suggestions.


Here is what you need to know – most planned gifts are bequests. These are gifts from a donor’s will, trust, retirement account or life insurance.


Here’s what you need to do – learn the basics of planned giving. Unfortunately, only about four out of 10 fundraisers feel confident discussing planned giving concepts with their donors. Local chapters of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners offer low-cost or free programs such as their Leave A Legacy program. Or you could hire a consultant to educate your staff and train them on the basics of planned giving cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. The local Lone Star CGP Chapter offers monthly in-person programs.


The next thing to do is to let your donors and volunteers know that your organization would graciously accept their estate gift, planned gift, or legacy gift (these are all the same thing).

  • Use your newsletter and social media to talk about how simple it is to leave a planned gift to your agency through the donor’s will, trust, retirement account or life insurance.

  • Have similar messaging on your website.

  • Remind the donor that they can identify a dollar amount or a percentage of the assets to be given in their will.

  • When you receive a bequest, highlight that gift in your newsletter and/or social media, focusing on the donor’s story.

  • Reach out to board members and past board members and ask them to name your organization in their will.

  • Establish a legacy society to recognize those donors who have made a planned gift commitment. Celebrate these donors.


Studies show that simply talking with your donors makes a positive difference in receiving these gifts. So, keep things simple, learn the basics, let people know your organization would love to be part of a donor’s legacy, and celebrate!


Here are some resources:



Michelle Crim, CFRE


Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.


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