Planned Giving practitioners and theorists stress donor-centered fundraising. But some with an interest in Planned Giving are out to push products, irrespective of whether they’re right for your donors. Don’t let your charity, your program–and your donors–be compromised by these folks.
This has been bothering me for nearly four years, when I started to see it trending upward. The “it” is people who sell financial products calling themselves “planned giving consultants” or something similar.
In fact, they aren’t consultants at all. They’re salespeople. Typically their products are life insurance or commercial annuities, but the menu may vary. Some sell multiple products.
What offends me most about this community of salespeople is that “donor-centered” to them means “Your donors all need the financial product I sell.” It’s just amazing how a seminar led by a life insurance specialist of this ilk will conclude that everyone in the audience needs more life insurance. I’ve been in such programs.
Amazing too that in meetings with a charity’s leadership, life insurance forms the basis of the “planned giving” program these “consultants” pitch. I’ve been in such meetings, screening for self interest to protect my clients from those offering to help the Planned Giving programs I’ve created. This kind of help my clients don’t need.
What I’m describing does not impugn all financial product brokers. Most are ethical and don’t purport to be any type of fundraising consultant. I regularly include a life insurance broker in panel programs I manage for clients.
Life insurance and other commercial financial products certainly have their place in the discussion of estate and retirement plan charitable gifts.
Here’s my point: those who sell the products are not Planned Giving consultants.
Protect your charity’s reputation. Protect your program’s integrity. Protect your donors’ plans. Give a gracious “No thank you” to specious offers of help from people whose real interest is selling financial products.