That should be reassuring to small charities, because it means you don’t need fancy stuff and experts to get a program going–and to make it very respectable.
You’ll enjoy success in Planned Giving if you build relationships with your consistent donors who are around 55 and over. When you screen for consistency, ignore gift size. If a donor has been giving you ten dollars a year for the past 8 or 10 years, or more, the person is an excellent Planned Giving prospect.
There is a technical side to gift planning, but you don’t need it if you start your program with bequests. I wrote a series of articles for GuideStar explaining how to get started. Small- and mid-size charities can have a very respectable and appropriate program without needing expertise or spending a lot of money.
My background is law. I draw on my technical skills about 10% of the time for my clients. I can go deep, but it’s rarely necessary.
On the other hand, I spend a lot of time strategizing around people: how we’ll engage them; what different generations prefer; what a particular couple will prefer; who’s the best person to extend an invitation; who should sign the direct mail letter? Like all fundraising, Planned Giving is based on strong relationships.
Don’t let the technical side dissuade you from inaugurating a program. And don’t let the technical stuff drag you down if you’ve got a more mature program.
Focus on your prospects and donors and the planned gifts will come.