An evangelist is an enthusiastic advocate, someone zealous about a cause. I’m an evangelist for Planned Giving, and I highly recommend the work. Want to join my crusade?
This is what I think it takes:
- Love Planned Giving. Believe deeply that this type of giving can transform nonprofits–whatever their missions–and help donors make their ultimate gift to the charitable works they love. Recognize that a nonprofit without some form of Planned Giving program is hurting its future and leaving money on the table.
- Spread the word. You love it so much you want everyone to share. When you’re at events, in kitchen table donor meetings, with colleagues, in front of a board, in the web, you exude the value of planned gifts to build endowment; expand other giving; secure financial futures; create lifetime donor relationships; bring families closer; and save the lives of the people you serve.
- Be unashamed. You beam when you solicit planned gifts, never asking humbly or apologetically. And that’s how you spread the word, with a slight swagger and a good dose of pride, but never haughty or overbearing. You’d love for people to understand, you know they need to understand. You love what you do and want others to know why. You spend your time with those receptive to your message.
- Be a lion, not a sheep. Do what others don’t. Rethink the ordinary and typical. Is there an entirely different way? If not, can the same be done better? How can you improve your annual donor seminar? Make it a panel discussion. Make it a webinar. Serve drinks. Make it shorter, more to the point, and part of a larger event. Host it outdoors or in a donor’s living room. Hold a few and make them more intimate. Consider with an open mind that it may not be worth doing. What do you want to re-imagine?
- Fill needs. I started a company because no one provided comprehensive, onsite, start-up Planned Giving for nonprofits. I wrote a book on Charity Registration because there wasn’t a comprehensive guide for nonprofits that want to get into compliance. I created a radio show because small and mid-size nonprofits struggle with the same issues that big nonprofits hire experts to help resolve. What void, gap, need, unfulfilled demand makes you lose sleep and shake your head? Finish this sentence: “There really should be . . .” Now go out and make it.
You can be an evangelist for anything, not only Planned Giving, or even fundraising and philanthropy. I think you should be an evangelist for whatever you spend your time doing.
For me, it’s Planned Giving (and my other pursuits).
Join my crusade–or kickoff your own–and enjoy the feeling.