If you do not regularly ask for support, then it is very difficult to build loyal relationships with supporters over time. Without a group of regular supporters who are engaged in your mission and eager to see your charity continue its good works, it is very difficult to find planned giving supporters.
Imagine yourself as a prospective donor. A charity asks you to make an investment in their future, knowing that you will not be there to see if the charity uses the money for the purpose for which it was intended. Would you be more likely or less likely to make such a commitment if the charity was asking for current gifts and using them effectively? Almost everyone wants to see evidence that the charity is using past gifts well before committing to a planned gift.
Voluntary individual support is a necessary step for the success of all planned giving efforts. In seeking your best prospects for planned giving, the key determiner is loyalty.
It doesn’t matter how much these donors give; if they give you something every year, they should be your focus in cultivating planned gifts.
Identify the most loyal givers on that list – individuals who have given regularly for fifteen years, regardless of dollar amount. These are your best prospects. These are the supporters you want to cultivate first for planned gifts.
That’s the “pipeline” — you already have a line of prospects waiting to hear your compelling reasons why they should leave a significant legacy to your organization. As your annual giving effort continues to bring more supporters on board at the low-dollar, short-term level, your planned giving effort can select from them the most loyal donors and start them on the road to a significant gift.
When you harness all activities of your nonprofit to work together, you obtain maximum philanthropic traction. The most humble cash gift solicitation can start a giving relationship with a donor; cultivating that relationship and directing it towards ultimate gifts is what your planned giving program does. A simple rephrasing of this question would be: “Am I really serious about planned giving?” If you don’t have at least an hour a week, you’re not trying.
Not when that hour can mean so much in the way of revenue for your nonprofit, fulfillment for your supporters, and accomplishment for your career. And as some of you already know, the more time you dedicate to your program, the better results you’ll see.