Planned Giving Websites

Gain Instant Authority and Credibility

Watch the video on the right and read an opinion from a planned giving officer formerly at Furman University.

Here’s our opinion on the traditional planned giving newsletter. Postcards can be quite effective — and we offer a number of them that you can customize.

Less than 5% of our clients use a planned giving calculator online. Some do not accept life income gifts; some feel calculators confuse donors; others do not want to risk the donor making a mistake and then being surprised when final numbers are different. Remember that 92.5% of all planned gifts are Beneficiary Designations and Bequests. These do not require calculators.

All this said, if you have savvy donors you should give them the opportunity to calculate life income gifts. 

All videos will be customized to carry your logo and contact information (except for the Micro Website). The language “inside” (throughout) the video can also be customized for an additional fee. Note that custom video production is quite costly — in the majority of instances, our videos will work perfectly well as-is.

Yes. We take your branding seriously. (Note: the introductory Planned Giving Micro Website has some limitations. Please read the FAQs at the bottom of that page carefully.)

Our content is written by professional copywriters who have a marketing background. It is then scrubbed by attorneys. Copy changes hands (often, and with polite altercations!) to make sure both sides are happy with the outcome.

As answered in the above question, all development and client servicing are done in-house. Edits can be made fairly quickly. Here’s our team.

All development and client servicing are done in-house. Here’s our team.

Direct mail, along with display ads in your publications, is a good way to begin. Remember: consistency is key. Here’s a comprehensive outline on marketing and a quick guide to launching your program.

All LegacyPRO planned giving websites have submission forms, so that your donors can tell you about their planned gifts.

Yes, up to 8. You can also have any number of links that point to special pages on your institutional site.

Absolutely, if you are a LegacyPRO client. In fact, we recommend it. A Legacy Society encourages others to give.

We own the trusted domain, and all our nonprofit partners are hosted as a subdomain. This URL conveys more authority and creates a better “magnetic” SEO pull. It’s like a built-in search engine optimization “supercharger.”

Your initial draft will be ready in less than two weeks. You can declare it live at that time, or spend a few more weeks with us enhancing it. We suggest declaring it live ASAP instead of laboring over details. You can always enhance it, even after it is live. All our revisions are done in-house, so changes can be made fairly quickly—in a few days, not in weeks. Sometimes even overnight if absolutely necessary.

All we need from you is to fill out an onboarding form (20 minutes) and supply us with your donor stories. Any type of donor will do — they do not necessarily have to be a planned giving donor. No donor stories? We can help. After your site is live, you simply need to send us any critical changes or new donor stories — that’s it!

Professional gift illustrations should be printed by your finance department only to transact or facilitate a gift. We’re in the marketing business, and not back-office operations. Several gift illustration calculators are in the marketplace today.

Yes. Our gift comparison chart is a popular feature our CEO developed back at the University of Pennsylvania in 1988. We updated it into an electronic platform in 2006. Our LegacyPRO planned giving websites come with this feature built-in.

We do not save any donor information, as we like to play it safe. Any donor information passes through to you directly. Only the LegacyPlanner™ stores donor information—and that’s with their permission.

During our onboarding session we collect all your pertinent data, including where these forms should be submitted to. They can be delivered to as many staff members as you wish. We recommend you create a special email that serves as a distribution list (a general mailbox) and use that one email only. This is helpful in case of job changes, promotions, etc.—you will not need to update your main email address every time staff changes are made.

This is a two-part answer. 1) Our fees are based on royalty. To develop such a website from scratch would cost far more than we charge. For example, a one-time fee of $54,000 would be appropriate for a LegacyPRO planned giving website. Since most nonprofits’ budgets are smaller, we “finance”/amortize our websites over time, to help you. So look at our yearly fee as an “installment.” 2) We perform behind-the-scenes improvements, as well as security updates, that you’ll likely never notice. We also stay abreast of tax-law changes and fundraising best practices, and make any respective updates as needed. We’re also available to address any of your questions or concerns as they arise. It’s like buying a car, and getting a service plan included in the price.

You are notified only when there’s a major tax law update. We routinely make improvements to your planned giving website, and place timely banners on the home page to inspire your donors—a major one being on Year-End Giving. Should you decide not to have such a banner, just let us know. But remember, that’s what you are paying us for.

Any major tax law updates are announced. You also receive copy you can use to promote the updates free of charge.

Yes, interviewing donors and writing their stories is a service we provide. Donors love, it as we make them feel like a hero. Your board will love it because donor stories are social proof that inspire more donations. Here’s more information on donor story writing services.

Absolutely. 96 percent of adults aged 50 to 64 use the internet, and 75% of Americans 65 and older use it, too. U.S. seniors are the fastest-growing sector of the PC-purchasing public. They also hold the majority of the wealth in the U.S. and are your main market. In the digital age, you need to be on the internet to meet them there.


Are Seniors Using the Internet?

Seniors and the Online Revolution (PDF)

Simple. The best tracking system is Google Analytics, and it is “hard wired” into your planned giving website. You can check your analytics at any time. Just remember that the numbers will not make sense unless you are also marketing planned gifts. It’s like your phone system: it will not ring unless you are getting the word out. The best time to check analytics is usually a week or two after a mailing, or a day or two after an e-broadcast. Random spot checks should also be done.


Consider making direct mail part of your marketing campaign.

We handle this for you—you don’t need to lift a finger.

An organization’s website should be one of the best sources to direct donors to their planned giving pages online. The link should be easy to find, highly visible, and in more than one spot—typically, at the top and bottom of the home page, and also somewhere else, such as a text link in the page’s content.

Start by developing a custom, user-friendly URL and promote it yourself. Work closely with your colleagues in IT to create logical links from the main site to planned giving.

Now ask for/insist on/bribe your webmaster for a link on your organization’s home page, plus any pages that tell visitors about the good work your organization is doing. The link should say something like, “Creative Ways to Support Us” and lead to your gift pages. Throughout your institution’s website, find interesting stories about new projects or memorable events. Work on embedding a line or two within those stories that hyperlink to planned giving. For example, “You can help support this new research endowment with a gift that costs nothing during your lifetime.” (links to giving through a will).

Never simply announce that you have a new planned giving website. Instead, drum up excitement by wrapping news about your website into a larger fundraising message. It thanks your prospects for past support and encourages them to explore ways to give that benefit their and their family’s welfare while also benefitting your organization. It then directs them to your planned giving website, where they can learn more.

Send that letter/postcard out several times a year. There’s something called the “stickiness factor” in consistent direct mail. Remember that fewer than a third of your letters will be read, and that fewer than 5% of the people who did read the letter will remember what it said 4 months after receiving it. So, send the same letter again — don’t reinvent the wheel (or, even worse, send out just one marketing piece and then drop the campaign).

Yes! Just like successful for-profits, you should work hard to establish your nonprofit’s unique, identifiable “brand” or public image. Using a boilerplate or AI generated website means that you can’t achieve those same standards of brand identity for your nonprofit. Why would you want to look just like another nonprofit, instead of showing your personality and appealing to your specific audience?

At PlannedGiving.Com, all of our planned giving websites are completely branded to your nonprofit and make your presence unique. We take branding very seriously.

Domain registration services are a commodity. Just Google the terms “domain registration” and you will have plenty of choices. Popular ones are GoDaddy.Com, NetworkSolutions.Com, and 1and1.Com, among many others. We can help you acquire a unique URL. One thing you should consider in a domain name is built-in SEO. That’s why we own several top-level, philanthropy-specific domains that we can use to incorporate your URL into. Please inquire.

Search engine registration should be on your to-do list, but it shouldn’t be your top priority. We have consistently found that a well-advertised (and easily remembered) URL is a much better tool to direct visitors to a planned giving page than investing a fortune in SEO efforts.

“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first,” says artist and business mentor Wendy Piersall — and she’s absolutely right. Market your planned giving website to your prospects, and the visits will come.

Don’t put off the benefits of marketing to your most motivated prospects. Put your planned giving web site up now, and incorporate it into an overall fundraising site when that’s ready to go live. Having a presence on the Internet will give you exposure to a medium that has become integrated into the daily life of your prospects.


Any files requested from the server (including files that are graphics and scripts). The word “hits” actually refers to the total number of files that are requested from the server. Therefore the number of hits to a site is always going to be significantly higher than the actual number of visits to the site. This is because a typical visit to a website will include “hits” on a number of pages. Not only is each page counted as a hit, but all the graphics and scripts on every page requested are also counted. Given the number of graphics on a typical webpage, the difference between hits and visits is substantial. It would not be uncommon for a traffic report to show ten or even twenty times as many hits as actual visits.


Also known as a web page, a page is defined as a single file on a web server. For example, a page could be an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) document, an image, a java applet, a CGI script, etc. Any file that is neither a gif nor a jpeg is considered a page.

Unique Visitor

A unique visitor is an IP address that has made at least 1 hit on 1 page of your website during the current period shown by the report. If this host makes several visits during this period, it is still counted only once.


Number of visits made by all visitors. Think “Session” here: When a unique IP accesses a page and then requests three others with less than an hour between any of the requests, then all of the “pages” are included in the one visit. You should expect multiple pages per visit and multiple visits per unique visitor (assuming that some of the unique IPs are logged with more than an hour between requests).

Usually the more activity you have, the more people will contact you. If this is not the case, it could be that the high number of visits to your planned giving website is resulting from you or your staff members visiting your pages. Ask your webmaster (or planned giving website vendor) to make sure your visits do not count — there’s a simple setting they can change. We automatically do this for all our client websites.

Let’s put that question another way: Do you absolutely need a planned giving calculator? The answer is “no.” In fact, a poorly designed calculator can do more harm than good. (That’s why, after seeing what others had to offer, we created our own planned giving calculators.)

Here’s the test: If you, yourself, have even the slightest difficulty in using a planned giving calculator, your prospect will not be able to use it at all. Confusing and poorly designed calculators will frustrate and turn off prospects.

However, the obvious “pro” of an online calculator is that it makes the financial benefits of a gift plan more tangible to donors and advisors alike, and thus can engage prospects in the gift process more deeply.

Here are some of the other “cons”:

  • Donors who use them may end up finalizing gift plans without talking to you.
  • A donor can easily choose the wrong gift plan to calculate.
  • What if a donor calculates a high payout rate and becomes disappointed when your organization can’t offer it?

If you choose to include a calculator, the solution is to ensure you also include a good disclaimer, such as: “These tools are for informational purposes only. Actual results may vary.”

You absolutely need donor stories, and your planned giving website should be updated with new stories (and pictures) as often as possible. You should even include stories from donors who have made large major or annual gifts. You should also share your stories on social media (if your nonprofit uses it) to reach a wider audience.

But when it comes to revolving tax content, news out of Washington, D.C., and other technical information, absolutely not.

Why? Because it’s not worth your time and effort!

Your planned giving website is not Entertainment Weekly or C-Span. Your prospects will not re-visit your planned giving pages for the “exciting planned giving news” of the day, or even the week. There are many vendors who push canned content and boring financial/tax news as “must haves” for your site. This drivel just occupies space that could be better used to showcase your legacy society; pictures from a fundraiser; mission-related updates; and the aforementioned donor stories.

The next time someone tells you they’ll generate repeat traffic on your website by delivering “exciting” revolving planned giving articles in online reading rooms, stop for a reality check. To the average citizen, planned giving is boring.  (“No one Googles ‘unitrusts’ first thing in the morning.”)

A prospect will visit your website once, twice, maybe three times over just a few days, not months, and then contact you. The site will always look fresh because it is a one-time-visit and is short-lived.

If you really want added benefits, add new and exciting donor stories as often as possible, and tease them out to your social media networks. Prospects will stop to read donor stories because they can relate to the people behind them.

First, let’s get a technicality out of the way. “Hits” should never be used to track visitors, because they are not an accurate gauge of success. A hit could be a search-engine related bot, an errant visitor, or someone on staff checking a page update.

Instead, sessions, page views and unique visitors should be your main gauges.

We are often asked, “How will we know how many visits our site gets?” The answer is easy to determine, but the question, by itself, is wrong — similar to asking, “How many times did the phone ring in the Office of Planned Giving last January 7th?” Ask instead, “How has the Internet been an integral part of our overall marketing strategy? ” Think about the unprecedented ways your site can expand your marketing reach and put your message in front of your best prospects when they are in their most receptive moods.
Tracking your overall website sessions is the best and most accurate way to determine your site’s performance. A session is a unique visit by a single individual. One session is recorded for each unique site visit whether the visitor looks at one page or every page on the site. Look for trends in visits, page views, and length of stay: Did you have a quick surge in visits after a mailing? (Remember, U.S. Mail is still the format prospects prefer for messages from you, not email blasts.) Activity on your planned giving website can be used to measure how your overall marketing is doing.

So, rather than worrying about how many sessions your site receives on a daily basis, it’s better to understand how your site adjustments and marketing efforts affect your site’s overall traffic patterns. Tracking session data from month to month and watching for jumps in the charts after a marketing piece has gone out are the most useful ways to analyze your website traffic reports. If your marketing is done properly you will see growth in your session traffic over time.

As Kevin Li, former head of Yahoo Growth, says, “If there’s one takeaway it’s that it’s okay to do small wins. Small wins are good, they will compound. If you’re doing it right the end result will be massive.”

Boring to whom? According to marketing guru Dan Kennedy, “A funny thing usually happens in the advertising business: a client will cancel or change an ad campaign that’s working perfectly well just because they got bored with it and assumed everybody else was, too. That’s a bad assumption. There are ad campaigns that sustain success for five, even ten years. These campaigns are old hat to their owners but are new to new customers who are paying attention to them for the first time. If it’s unknown to someone, it’s a secret — regardless of how routine it may be to you.”

This especially applies to planned giving, since your prospects will visit your website over a period of a few days before contacting you, and not visit month after month. Remember, the site will always look fresh because it is a one-time visit.

Yes, and it’s essential to make them feel comfortable enough to spend time exploring your website. Tell them that they are not being monitored, and mean it.

It can’t be done unless you are sending out emails that have codes relating to each individual in the link.

Maintaining the privacy and security of your visitors is integral to maintaining your supporters’ trust. A privacy statement is definitely a plus (it’s rarely read but it says you care).