Don’t Believe This Planned Giving Myth

Image courtesy of h. koppdelaney, Creative Commons license
Image courtesy of h. koppdelaney, Creative Commons license

“We have Planned Giving covered.” I hear it from CEOs, EDs, VPs, directors of development and board members. With “Planned Giving” as part of someone’s title, they’re confident the work is getting done.

They’re mistaken.

Unless it’s the full title and sole responsibility.

When Planned Giving is paired with any other job, as in “Director of Annual & Planned Giving” or “Director of Planned & Major Gifts,” the planned gift part will get short shrift. (Even if it’s the first responsibility in the title, which really means nothing.)

Every other method of fundraising has more immediate deadlines and payoffs. Let’s face it, planned gifts routinely take 15 or more years to realize cash to your nonprofit. A field like annual giving not only has quicker payoff, it has monthly production goals. In the fourth quarter it may have weekly goals.

Planned Giving won’t get the time it deserves competing against deadlines like that for the fundraiser’s scarce time.

The mistaken belief is that if PG represents half the title, then the person who wears the title is spending 50% of their time on it. I’ve never seen that. Planned Giving typically gets about ten percent. (Check out “4 Reasons Planned Giving Is A Jealous Mistress.”)

I once saw a job title which combined corporate, foundation and planned giving. With the strict deadlines and timelines around corporate and foundation giving, Planned Giving didn’t have a chance. The organization agreed when we looked at their outcomes, and they hired me to help them.

Don’t deceive yourself thinking Planned Giving is covered merely because it’s part of a title.

The reality is you’re leaving money on the table.


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