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Planned Giving Is Part Of Your Fundraising Team

Image courtesy of lumaxart on Flickr
Image courtesy of lumaxart on Flickr
Fundraising is a team sport and Planned Giving should be a team player.

Whether you’re a devoted Planned Giving officer or a solo fundraiser occasionally talking to a PG prospect, you can support the bigger effort in several ways.

Ask for annual appeal gifts. When you meet a prospect or donor, or have a “meaningful contact” of any sort, thank them for their annual gift. If appropriate, ask for an increased gift. For the person who doesn’t participate, ask why. Perhaps you can overcome their objections to giving annually.

Ask for help with corporate giving, corporate sponsorship and foundation giving. If your prospect is connected, inquire about possibilities. If they’re with a company–and after coordination with the appropriate gift officer, if there is one–ask about corporate support. As you prepare for a meaningful contact with someone who sits on a foundation board or has a private foundation, consider what might be a good funding match and raise that possibility with your prospect.

Share relationship info back at the office. A meaningful contact almost always yields new information: unknown relationship; a new grandchild; a home for sale; recent illness; a stock windfall or loss; business news; extended vacation; a new car. Whatever you find out gets entered into your relationship management database and shared with those who need to know. Data points are valuable to relationships and you need to preserve them.

Share info with administrative services staff. This won’t apply at smaller shops. If you expect a transfer of stock by DTC or cash by wire, let the staff know in advance what to look out for. DTC transfers come without easily recognizable identifying information, like the donor’s name. If your staff knows to expect 50 shares of Apple, you’ll make their job much easier when it arrives. Wired cash comes with identification, but let those supporting your work know you’re thinking of them. I guarantee they’ll thank you.

Share your knowledge. If you’re a Planned Giving pro, lead in-house training. You want as many people as possible leading you to potential prospects, so explain over a brown bag lunch who makes a good prospect and how to ask if suspects have included the organization in their long-term plans. Train other gift officers, program officers and receptionists–every person who has contact with potential donors.

Your Planned Giving work should support the entire fundraising team.