Shortcuts to All Blog Posts

Why It’s Important to Inform Nonprofits About Your Planned Gifts

Illustration of man shouting and informing

It may seem silly, but it’s true — and it’s a step many donors forget. A 2019 Special Report from Giving USA found that just 4 percent of donors always report their planned gifts to organizations, and 38.7 percent sometimes inform the organizations.

Read MoreJuly 11, 2024

The Numbers Don’t Lie: Planned Giving is a Lifeboat Against Inflation

Numbers Don't Lie

A new report from Giving USA shows that despite charitable giving reaching a new high for 2023, inflation took a hefty toll. It proves what we've been saying all along: Planned giving works, and it's a lifeboat in the stormy waters of inflation.

Read MoreJune 27, 2024

10 Important Reasons Why You Need a Will

Gathered family and children with dog in the middle all sitting on a sofa

Over 60 percent of all Americans are missing a critical legal document: Their last will and testament. While there are a lot of important reasons to create a will and keep it updated, here are the Top 10.

Read MoreJune 26, 2024

The Big DAF Gaffe

Handwriting note late at night by candlelight

A lot of donors are leaving undistributed assets in their DAFs — defeating the intent of a donor-advised fund. What's the solution before a government crackdown? Here are some answers.

Read MoreJune 17, 2024

A Mountain of Evidence: Donor Stories Work

Everyone Has a Story - Movie Board

First-hand accounts back it up. The data proves it. And numbers don’t lie. But despite hearing over and over again that donor stories sell, they still remain one of the most under-utilized tools in planned giving.

Read MoreJune 12, 2024

Sometimes, the Same Old Thing Is a Good Thing

Two men ducking a revolt / complaints from public

As marketing guru Seth Godin says, repetition builds trust, and consistency stands out. Have you ever been annoyed at a company just because it made a change to its marketing or advertising campaigns? Maybe it was a business that switched its slogan for no reason; or maybe it was a firm that did a complete about-face and changed its name to something ridiculous or created a brand-new ad campaign, when the old one was working quite well.

Read MoreJune 11, 2024

The End of an Error: How to Write an Email That Gets Read

Laptop illustrating netiquette on screen

The convenience of sending all those digital communiques zipping through cyberspace with a mere keystroke has caused us to forget some basic rules and best practices about emails — and good communication in general. Here are a few tips that will help your next email not only get read, but make a good impression and maybe even inspire your reader to take action.

Read MoreMay 31, 2024

Football, Fumbled Estate Planning, and a $45 Million Tax Bill

The words "Fumbling" written on a brick wall.

If you’ve ever wondered just how important good estate planning is, take a look at this terrifying tale of high-net-worth horror about a family that lost $45 million—nearly half their estate’s value—to federal taxes. The worst part? The massive tax loss could have easily been prevented with some foresight, planning, and expert advice.

Read MoreMay 28, 2024

Seniors, Technology, and Wealth

Elderly Woman Online

As long as technology has existed, there’s been a perception that seniors are not just slow to adopt it, but resistant to use it. Some fundraisers still say things like, “Our donors are all older, so they aren’t online.” Well, we dug into the facts and figures about seniors and technology in 2024 ... and what we learned blows those skeptics completely out of the water.

Read MoreMay 15, 2024

A Little Known Tip for Harvesting Gains and Avoiding Taxes (Legally)

Stock Bar Chart

As you are likely aware, you can avoid long-term capital gains tax while maximizing tax deductions through charitable stock gifting. Read this article to see how the tax savings can stack up.

Read MoreMay 13, 2024

The Blended Gift Is Here. Are You Prepared?

Variety of Flowers Depicting Major and Planned Gifts

To fully empower our donors, fundraisers must consider the long-term within the major giving sphere. Think about it - You cultivate, you discover. You steward, you engage. You ask ... and you receive!  You thank … and then what? You drop and move on to the next prospect, the next check?

Read MoreMay 5, 2024

The Verbal Promise

Hand bump — the new handshake

A donor makes a verbal promise to include a planned gift for your organization in their will, but they never send you a signed intention form. Then the donor dies. How do you ask the family if the gift was included in the donor’s estate plan? This type of situation happens frequently.

Read MoreApril 22, 2024

Giving Excels at the Speed of Trust

People give to people they trust.

Sometimes a board member or nonprofit will ask us, “Why planned giving? People are giving us annual gifts and we don't want to impact that source of revenue.” Unfortunately, this is the logic that keeps among the 99% of nonprofits that do not pursue planned gifts. Here's how to join the top 1%.

Read MoreApril 19, 2024

Why Planned Giving?

Growth over time

Making a difference can seem daunting. The good news is you are not alone in being the change. There are more than 1.8 million nonprofits registered in the US working toward your same dreams. Your estate planning and other heavily taxed assets can be your greatest tools (and your greatest savings) in partnering with nonprofits to make the change you want to see. Planned Giving is for You — Yes, You.

Read MoreApril 17, 2024

Donors Flock to Reliability, Predictability, and Trust

Son trusts father as he dives into his arms from above height.

It’s tempting to think about marketing as a collection of traditional outreach. Sure, part of it is which we have been offering for years. Display ads, postcards, surveys, tag lines, digital media, videos — the list goes on. But marketing is more than that. Marketing also includes things you might not immediately think of.

Read MoreApril 15, 2024

A Really Tough Planned Giving Conversation

"Can we talk?" word bubble in a red background

What would you do if you had a verbal commitment for a planned gift—and the donor died before putting it into writing? It happens more often than you’d think. Here’s a real-world example of how stewardship can save the day. 

Read MoreApril 11, 2024

IRA Qualified Charitable Distributions

Couple on beach watching sunset

Sometimes the IRA Qualified Charitable distribution is referred to as an IRA Rollover gift. This is a sloppy and misleading term, because an IRA Rollover is another distinct process. Better to use the term IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD).

Read MoreApril 7, 2024

Educating Donors on Making Planned Gifts That Work For Good – and For Their Heirs

Navigating the complexities of estate planning and charitable giving can be daunting, but with the right tools and guidance, you can help donors make a meaningful impact and ensure that their legacy endures for generations to come.

Read MoreMarch 16, 2024

Is AI Dumbing Us Down?

AI and Intelligence

AI is smart enough to discover names of people in your organization. Legitimate-looking emails come in with the line, “see attachment” — which, when opened, launches malware. Others request sensitive business information or for you to fill out an RFP behind a password. I wrote back to one such bot, and it responded so convincingly I almost fell for it. Be very careful — two friends lost between $4k and $7K at work through such an attack. Only one was reimbursed.

Read MoreFebruary 21, 2024

Why Your Nonprofit Should Steer Clear of AI

Face and numbers depicting artificial intelligence

AI might look enticing, but when you strip away all the hype it’s a ticking time bomb. AI-created content has created some serious problems for its early adopters. Do you really want to lose donations over an easier way to write a caption?

Read MoreFebruary 15, 2024

The Power of Endowments

Compass With Needle Pointing Word Vision

An endowment sends a motivating message to the world, as well as to your board, staff and donors. It says your organization is going to be here for the long run. It creates respect, trust, authority.

Read MoreJanuary 28, 2024

Nonprofits Did Not Do Well Last Year

Life saver in ocean floating

2023 was another tough year in the nonprofit industry. Although all the numbers aren’t in yet, it’s on track to be on par with 2022 — perhaps worse. And what’s even more concerning is that this seems to be part of a larger downward trend.

Read MoreJanuary 25, 2024

Only 1% of Nonprofits Take Planned Giving Seriously

Top 1 Percent

Do you want to join the top 1%? Are you a tire kicker or a Formula One driver? Be the exception!

Read MoreJanuary 17, 2024

Give Donors Community

People Community Progress

When raising funds, talking with coworkers or even with family, remember that we all want to belong. We all want to feel part of something. In everything you do look for ways to give your donors and staff community and you will succeed.

Read MoreJanuary 9, 2024

Thank “You.” Who Gets Gratitude?

Thank you acknowledgement card

In any given year, donors may give you thousands quarterly via a mailed check or an online donation for $0.12 that you are not sure was on purpose. It begs the question – is a gift, a gift? Does everybody at your nonprofit feel the same about these two examples? Has your organization ever stopped to consider exactly which donors get what thank-yous at your nonprofit? Take time in the new year to outline the expectations and procedures for thanking at your nonprofit to establish an essential best practice.

Read MoreJanuary 8, 2024

Make Planned Giving a New Year’s Resolution

New year's resolution: Get fit

According to Forbes Magazine, here are the top five New Year’s resolutions for 2024: Get fit, lose weight, and three more. This article will surprise you!

Read MoreDecember 19, 2023

Up Close and Personal with Viken Mikaelian

Viken Mikaelian Q&A

Giving Tomorrow editor Karen Martin grills our founder and CEO on the industry, the state of planned giving, and even his first job. She also gets a little personal.

Read MoreDecember 16, 2023

Accept Real Estate: Risk Free

Real Estate

Is Your Nonprofit Accepting Gifts of Real Estate? If not, you’re missing out on a very large untapped donation market. Consider this: While most nonprofits focus on cash gifts, that cash comprises less than 10% of America’s wealth. Meanwhile, about 43% of the nation’s wealth is held in real estate … yet only 3% of that […]

Read MoreDecember 8, 2023

Live Well, Leave Well.

Older generation handing golden key to future generation

How do you want to be remembered? Someone who left chaos or left a legacy? 

Read MoreNovember 22, 2023

How to Focus your Fundraising in January

Hello January with a cup of coffee on desk

After the fundraising marathon of November and December, thinking about another development strategy in January may seem like going overboard. However, a built-in requirement for every nonprofit in the United States provides an inspiring place to add extra stewardship at a key time of year.

Read MoreNovember 15, 2023

Planning for Mortality

Prompting people to consider their mortality is not easy, but these conversations are deep and important. Everyone needs an estate plan.

I’ll never forget the first time my wife and I met with our lawyer to create our estate plans. When do you pull the plug if a partner is terminally ill? What happens if we both die in an accident at the same time? Who do we trust to be an executor? It was, in many ways, a grim task, and I could see why so many people put it off.

Read MoreNovember 15, 2023

Online Will Planners: Should Your Nonprofit Have One?

Online Will Planners: Should Your Nonprofit Have One?

Online will makers are everywhere you look these days. From FreeWill, Rocket Lawyer, Trust & Will and GivingDocs to the comprehensive LegacyPlanner, it feels like everyone is offering their own version. And sometimes it seems like they all just appeared overnight, too. But the truth is, the industry has been around for decades — both US Legal Wills and LegalZoom had online versions more than 20 years ago.

Read MoreNovember 14, 2023

2023: Year-End Deadlines for Charitable Giving

Year End

If you’re making a charitable donation to your favorite nonprofit, make sure you’re eligible for an income tax deduction for the current year by meeting these important dates. Some other criteria apply, too.

Read MoreNovember 12, 2023

New Year, New NPO! Popular Nonprofit New Year’s Resolutions

It’s almost 2024! To celebrate the crest of another year, here are five of the most potent New Year’s resolutions for nonprofit professionals. Enjoy these quirky resolutions for the nonprofit professional in your life. From losing weight to falling in love.

Read MoreNovember 8, 2023

Make Your Words Work for You

Father and son communicating

We can have the greatest product, mission, or idea in the world, but if no one hears it, what good is it? At the same time, we can whisper a good idea, and it can change the world.

Read MoreNovember 7, 2023

Keep Your Gift Acceptance Policy Strong

Policy Folders

The idea of your organization receiving a windfall may seem like only the stuff of dreams. But with stories of nonprofits experiencing unexpected major gifts happen all the time. When a donor chooses to give their wealth to your organization, will you be ready?

Read MoreNovember 2, 2023

Steer the Boat or Chart the Course?

Leadership vs management

Managers care about titles. Leaders care about people.​ If you dare to be a leader, this is a must-read article by Wayne Olson.

Read MoreNovember 2, 2023

Average Gift Amount: A Fundraising Key Performance Indicator

Key Performance Indicators Bar Chart Illustration

A few essential pieces of data help fuel a powerful development department. These metrics, often called Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, help fundraisers gauge the health of their activities. Another essential KPI for fundraisers is the Average Gift Amount.

Read MoreOctober 29, 2023

Choosing an Executor or Trustee

Older male thinking of choosing executor and trustee

You’ve finally decided to create an estate plan instead of taking the path of Abraham Lincoln, Bob Marley and Aretha Franklin. Congratulations! But how do you choose an executor or trustee? We have a few tips that will help.

Read MoreOctober 25, 2023

Planned Giving is “Hot” these Days

Future opportunity

As more uncertainty rattles the markets and the economic downturn deepens, donations will dry up. Even your most consistent donors will reevaluate their charitable giving as the threat of a recession looms. And the Wall Street roller-coaster will affect stocks as well as cash.

Read MoreOctober 20, 2023

5 Steps to Make Charitable Giving Part of Your Estate Plan

People helping people for good causes

There are good causes with plenty of people and projects in need of support as they strive to make the world a better place. You might like to consider supporting them as part of your estate plan, making a charitable donation with the wealth you leave behind. This can be a wonderful way to give something back to the world, leave a positive impression, and support a cause that matters or means something to you personally. It also feels great, which is why so many people opt to add a charitable donation to their estate plan. But how does...

Read MoreOctober 19, 2023

Take the Cranky Calls

Elderly man complaining on phone

We all know them. The phone rings and the caller ID shows this is a call from someone who we know will be trouble. He or she is calling to complain, and it will not be pleasant. Around the room, people suddenly get busy so they will not have to take the dreaded call. Accelerate your career by taking the call!

Read MoreOctober 14, 2023

Shrinking Congregations, Smaller Donations

Cross on top of a mountain during sunset in background, for a planned giving article on church fundraising.

American churches may be facing a fundraising reckoning. The word “recession” is on everyone’s mind. The stock market looks like a roller coaster. Fewer people are in the pews, and fewer dollars are in the collection basket. An entire generation of older, more generous parishioners is passing. And so far, “The Great Wealth Transfer” has […]

Read MoreOctober 7, 2023

Don’t Raise Money. Sell a Dream.

Woman sitting on bench in front of a lake contemplating and dreaming

There’s something that some fundraisers don’t get that good marketers know instinctively: You’re not selling a product, gift plan, or naming rights. To paraphrase Steve Jobs, “You’re selling a dream.”   It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a Ferrari or Ford, a Rolex or a Timex, diamond earrings or cubic zirconia, a villa on a […]

Read MoreOctober 2, 2023

How to Soften the Death Undertones of Planned Giving Marketing

Man in a dark path depicting death

Planned giving can present a unique challenge for marketing, because the unspoken message is that a death must occur for a gift to be fully realized. Here are two ways to alleviate the macabre undertone.

Read MoreSeptember 29, 2023

Major Ask Calculator

Number 1 people

This will sound familiar. A fundraiser has a good relationship with a donor and wants to prepare to make a major gift ask. Extensive research has been collected about the donor. It includes a philanthropic capacity estimate from services like iwave and DonorSearch, and whatever else could be found online. Notes from conversations, street research from people who know the donor, and the donor’s giving history to her organization are also gathered. Despite all of the research, the fundraiser has an uneasy feeling that whatever ask amount is settled upon, it will, at best, be a guess.

Read MoreSeptember 22, 2023

Seven Easy Ways to Become a Better Facilitator

Facilitator — woman facilitating a project

We have all unfortunately been there. A meeting that could have been an email. A lengthy meeting that left all attendees confused about what was accomplished. A brainstorming session where personalities derailed the discussion. What these situations all needed is an effective facilitator. Learn how to run respectful and productive gatherings with these basic facilitation tips.

Read MoreSeptember 20, 2023

The Impact Of Waiting For The Generational Wealth Transfer

Wealth Transfer

We’ve all read the breathless projections of up to $140 trillion of wealth that will be inherited by Gen X and the Millennials over the next number of years. And as professionals in philanthropy, I expect we’ve all been waiting for that transfer to begin and make the great impact on charities we’ve imagined it will. But I admit my hair is getting grayer — and disappearing — as I wait for the great reward of this promised inheritance.

Read MoreSeptember 7, 2023

What is an Endowment? Learn the Basics of This Powerful Planned Giving Strategy

Roman Columns

Endowments are most often associated with institutions of higher learning and huge nonprofits like hospitals. But an endowment may be a great fit for one of your prospective planned giving donors.

Read MoreSeptember 6, 2023

Top 3 Tools for Major Donor Prospect Research

Establishing a major donor strategy is arguably one of the most effective ways to establish a significant, long-term funding source for your nonprofit. Ideally, major donors and nonprofits enjoy a long, mutually-beneficial relationship where the donor uses their resources to make big things happen at an organization they cherish. But how do you begin to build this strategy? How do you discover the giving potential of those in your community? Below are three top tools to help complete donor prospect research.

Read MoreSeptember 5, 2023

Supercharge Your Corporate Sponsors

Sponsorship Splash Banner

Corporations and businesses continue to adopt philanthropic strategies as consumers attempt to make more ethical purchasing choices. This makes corporate sponsorships a wonderful major gift partnership between businesses near you and your nonprofit. Whether your organization resides near some corporate headquarters in a major city or a rural area with family-owned businesses, corporate sponsorships can provide a helpful fundraising boost and open up possibilities for mutually beneficial partnerships.

Read MoreSeptember 4, 2023

Three Effective Ways to Use Testimonials in Major Gifts Fundraising

Testimonials

Maybe you’re stuck drafting a new appeal. Or perhaps your website looks a little flat. It may be that your social media is lacking engagement. When you’re unsure what to do next with your nonprofit messaging, the answer is usually: try a story. Nonprofit storytelling using a testimonial leaves an impression on donors.

Read MoreAugust 31, 2023

Do I Need a Mentor? Fresh Ways to Get Inspired

Mentor

Having a professional mentor sounds like an inspiring boost to anyone’s professional development. Being able to benefit from the wisdom and expertise of someone you trust sounds like a fantastic way to learn essential lessons and plan your next moves. But how do you find a mentor? What makes a healthy mentor relationship? Can a non-traditional mentorship still provide similar benefits? Read on to learn practical ways to infuse priceless expertise into your professional development.

Read MoreAugust 27, 2023

Board Governance Committees: What Do They Do?

Nonprofit Board Members

A board governance committee serves as a powerful tool for nonprofits who wish to boost their board recruitment and better prepare for an organization's inevitable “rainy days”. This committee, along with others like a finance committee and development committee, are vital sources of support for nonprofit leaders.

Read MoreAugust 24, 2023

Master This Planned Gift: Donor-Advised Funds

DAF — Donor Advised Fund

Planned giving donors can choose from several different kinds of giving vehicles to leave their legacy with your organization. One of those vehicles is a donor-advised fund. While these different tools may sound complicated, you can learn the basics of these tools to help guide your donors. Donor-advised funds are a dynamic planned giving vehicle that can provide a major gift to a nonprofit while also delivering peace of mind to your major donor.

Read MoreAugust 20, 2023

Writing Exceptional Emails for Planned Giving Donors

Young woman reading email laughing

Post-pandemic donors are responding to email at greater rate than ever before. Savvy fundraisers can use this digital momentum to capture an emerging source of tremendous potential: planned giving donors.

Read MoreAugust 14, 2023

Is Your Mission “Hard to Explain?” Five Questions to Ask.

Illustration of man deciding future direction

It’s no understatement that the purpose of many nonprofits is to solve the world’s most urgent and challenging questions, often with the fewest resources. Issues like hunger, economic development, poverty, addiction, affordable housing, animal neglect, education, environmental hazards and more are often the core of our organizations’ purpose. But when your cause is so big and complex, how do you discuss it with an audience experiencing a shrinking attention span and more charitable causes to support than ever?

Read MoreAugust 11, 2023

Ask Yourself One Question to Discover Your Nonprofit’s Culture of Philanthropy

One Question

A culture of philanthropy is that elusive, undefinable goal of every nonprofit. So how do you know you have a culture of philanthropy?  Ask yourself one question about your employees and key volunteers:

Read MoreAugust 8, 2023

How to Get More Money For Your Planned Giving Budget

Male nonprofit executive worried about budget in front of laptop

“But they cut my budget this year!” It’s the same story, year after year, no matter what the economy’s doing. People blame their inability to “do planned giving” on a lack of money. After 25 years in the planned giving marketing world this complaint comes in consistently. So what else has changed? I hear this in the corporate world, too.

Read MoreAugust 2, 2023

5 Common Planned Giving Myths

Busting Myths Envelope

Planned giving often ranks as one of the most intimidating forms of fundraising. However, planned giving is a sleeping giant, capable of directing significant donations to your nonprofit through donor-advised funds, bequests, and other planned giving vehicles. Help planned giving pay off for your organization by avoiding these five common mistakes in the planned giving sector.

Read MoreJuly 31, 2023

Make These 3 Adjustments to Your Nonprofit Before 2024

December 31 Year End

Believe it or not, we’re officially at the halfway point to this year. As we continue to advance our missions in the months ahead, there are a few key tips that will set you up for success in 2024. Before we get swept up in year-end campaigns and Giving Tuesday efforts, take a moment to check in with these simple ideas for the months ahead.

Read MoreJuly 29, 2023

The Second Worst Marketing Mistake

Marketing Concepts

Of all the marketing mistakes I’ve seen nonprofits make in planned giving, perfectionism is the second-worst. The first-worst is not doing any marketing at all. If you wonder why your planned giving program is inching along at a snail’s pace, perfectionism might be the problem.

Read MoreJuly 22, 2023

Nowhere To Go But Up

Attitude Changes Everything

If you follow philanthropy news, you’ve seen the headlines: "2022 Worst Year Ever for Fundraising!” “2023 Shaping Up to Be Even Worse!”

Read MoreJuly 20, 2023

Do You Really Need a Planned Giving Website?

Website Construction

A planned giving website gives our “silent donors” (the ones who choose not to tell us about a planned gift) a place to go for information. Even the oldest prospects are online these days — they’re connecting with friends and family on social media; getting news from their favorite network’s website; and learning more about the causes they love by visiting them online. An online presence for your planned giving program is a 24/7 tool.

Read MoreJuly 17, 2023

What is the Donor Bill of Rights?

Balloons Rising With People Cheering

Transparency and building trust rank near the top for values fundraisers must cultivate. With competition for donor dollars increasing year after year, adopting a clear and validated set of professional values will boost donor peace of mind. The Donor Bill of Rights delivers a widely-accepted list of basic expectations between donors and their chosen nonprofits. Consider adopting these guidelines to lend legitimacy to your organization. This document will also help you observe the building blocks for a well-functioning development department.

Read MoreJuly 14, 2023

5 Elements of Effective Fundraising Appeals

Fundraising Appeals

For many nonprofits, the fundraising appeal provides the backbone for year-end, fiscal year-end, and annual campaigns. The appeal, often a direct mail letter or e-blast, frames the most important concepts surrounding your nonprofit and encourages donors to join the cause. Because an appeal is so essential, fundraisers must begin with a solid foundation for this fundraising strategy. Follow these five elements of effective fundraising appeals as a useful template for all of your upcoming appeals.

Read MoreJuly 13, 2023

Beneficiary Designations

I didn't take it with me; I had it delivered cartoon.

Bequests and Beneficiary Designations make up over 92.5% of all planned gifts. And it’s a very simple gift for your supporters to make since it does not affect their cashflow or lifestyle during their lifetime.

Read MoreJuly 11, 2023

Copywriting and Branding Essentials

Light Bulbs Depicting Brand Marketing Copywriting

We’ve all seen those late-night TV infomercials by high-energy pitchmen selling the same old products year after year since the ’90s: “Just set it, and forget it!”, “Operators are standing by!”, “But wait, there’s more!” Regardless of what you think about their advertising styles, many of those companies are still around and enjoying hefty bottom lines by selling Showtime Rotisserie Grills, ThighMasters, Snuggies, and Ginsu Knives. And their success rates can be traced to one common denominator: consistent branding.

Read MoreJuly 11, 2023

Why You Need a Planned Giving Website

Planned Giving Websites

It’s time for a reality check: Your donors are on the internet—and your planned giving program should be, too. The argument that older donors aren’t computer savvy just doesn’t hold water anymore.

Read MoreJune 18, 2023

Done Beats Perfect

If You Wait for Perfect You'll Never Get Anything Done

As a young ambitious person I remember boasting, “I’m a perfectionist.” And I was! I believed there was a right way to do everything. And I was downright obnoxious about it to the point that I would teach an employee how to hold a pencil. But now I know better.

Read MoreJune 17, 2023

Dementia in Family and Friends

Image depicting dementia

It’s been two years since my mom died. But in my mind, she had already passed away seven years ago, with the onset of dementia.

Read MoreJune 14, 2023

Five Key Tips to Become a More Active Listener

Hear What People are Really Saying

Being an active listener ranks highly as a skill valued in any profession. However effective listening skills prove even more useful in a relationship-building job like fundraising. In fact, becoming an empathic listener is one of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. A few simple tips can help you retrain yourself into becoming a better listener. Read on to learn the top five habits to help you build active listening skills.

Read MoreJune 12, 2023

Energize Your Board with a Board Mentorship Program

Mentor with new board member

Sometimes it seems like every nonprofit is currently searching for engaged, committed board members. You may live in a place where the usual CEOs, entrepreneurs, and political figures’ list of board assignments is already too lengthy to ask them to add your nonprofit too.

Read MoreJune 1, 2023

Master This Planned Gift: Charitable Gift Annuity

Charitable Gift Annuity Income Stream

Charitable gift annuities are a dynamic planned giving vehicle that can provide a major gift to a nonprofit while also delivering peace of mind to your major donor.

Read MoreJune 1, 2023

Engage Major Donors with a Commissioning Club

Involve engage sign

The textbook definition of a commission is, “a fee paid to an agent or employee for transacting a piece of business or performing a service.” However I prefer to think of a commission, in terms of the nonprofit world, as connecting inspiration with financial and community support. Commissioning clubs provide a uniquely inspirational way to connect major donors intimately with the cause they care about.

Read MoreJune 1, 2023

Don’t Build a Major Gifts Program Without a Culture of Philanthropy

Culture of Philanthropy

A culture of philanthropy ranks as one of the most vital foundations to a successful development department. Nonprofits looking to boost fundraising and build substantial relationships with major donors should first measure the strength of their organization’s culture of philanthropy.

Read MoreMay 31, 2023

Should My Nonprofit’s Board Set a Minimum Gift?

Minimum

Many nonprofits choose to set a clear fundraising expectation from each member of their nonprofit board. However some nonprofits choose to let their board members decide the amount of their gift to the organization each year. Others permit board volunteers to give in ways that aren’t financial. But what are the risks and rewards of setting a minimum board giving level?

Read MoreMay 27, 2023

One Place to Never Use AI in Major Gifts Fundraising

Artificial Intelligence Human and AI hands

Artificial intelligence is today’s most relentless buzzword, as teachers, bosses, online daters, and everyone else learns the advantages and disadvantages of allgorithm-predicted answers in our daily lives. But there is one place in your development department where AI does not belong.

Read MoreMay 19, 2023

Difference Between Charity and Philanthropy

please give

Philanthropy is a longer-term option for making gifts to help people in need over multiple years’ time while charity focuses on immediate relief to the needy.

Read MoreMay 15, 2023

Five Reflections on Philanthropy Formed Over 20 Years

Reflections on Philanthropy

I’ve been fortunate to have had a long and varied career in philanthropy. And over the last 20-plus years, I’ve noticed five recurring, consistent themes that, for me, sum up what philanthropy is all about.

Read MoreMay 11, 2023

Web-Based Will-Making Software

Online Will Planning

One of the cleverest recent developments in planned giving are online solutions allowing donors to create their own will, at little cost and with no legal intervention. Is this a good idea? What are the advantages (or disadvantages) for nonprofits and development pros?

Read MoreMay 5, 2023

Emotional Intelligence: The Key Ingredient to Major Gifts Success

Emotional Intelligence

I have experienced many rewarding moments among top philanthropic donors and nonprofit leaders. If you are reading this article, you likely fit within one or both of these populations and understand that, as Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Read MoreMay 5, 2023

How Do You Measure Fundraising Success?

Measure Success

We’re asked this question often. And since marketing is such a complex field, the answer can certainly be complex. In fact, the definition of success is subjective – and sometimes it is all over the place. But as you know, I believe in not just simplifying, but oversimplifying. So I’m going to answer in trademark PlannedGiving.Com fashion and break it down into basics.

Read MoreApril 24, 2023

Harvard Would Love What Your Church Has

Worshippers

Pastors have a captive audience every Sunday. I can think of more than one fundraiser who’d probably be willing to commit a mortal sin for that kind of setup!

Read MoreApril 6, 2023

King David’s Planned Gift Built The First Temple

King David playing the harp

In anticipation of this great construction project, King David accumulated immense quantities of gold, silver, bronze, precious stones and exotic woods. Then, knowing he was serving a higher power, he bequeathed those assets to his son Solomon, along with God’s instructions for the design of the temple. (Even in Biblical times, donors were particular about how their planned gifts could be used ...)

Read MoreMarch 30, 2023

The Man Who Died Without A Will

Judge Legal Image

Thousands of other Americans don’t have a will. Meet with an estate planning attorney, or use our LegacyPlanner™ for free to create a simple, legal will that’s valid in all 50 states.

Read MoreMarch 27, 2023

Now’s Your Chance to Save The World!

It’s not too late to make a difference—perhaps a much bigger one than you thought possible—if you have a will.

Read MoreMarch 24, 2023

Getting It All Together: Making Your Will

Happy Couple Making A Will Together

Making a will is a lot easier than you probably think. But like anything, you have to start with the basics. These are the documents you need to get started creating your will; the things you absolutely must account for; and a few things you’ll want to consider.

Read MoreMarch 22, 2023

You Had Me at Bequest

You Had Me At Bequest

Too often, once a prospect has documented his/her bequest intentions, the donor acknowledgment period lasts through several months of standard thank-you letters, a holiday greeting or goodie, and perhaps a recognition dinner (depending on level of gift). The donor’s name is summarily noted in recognition reports, on walls of fame, etched onto a plaque or mug, and whisked away into a legacy giving society. Then, it drops off the crevice into the deep, dark hole of “no further action required.”

Read MoreMarch 17, 2023

Final Invoice

Government Agent

The good news is, by creating a will and preparing for the first, you can reduce the burden of the second — both on yourself, and on your heirs. That’s because creating a will gives you the opportunity to put your affairs in order and ensure you’re in control of your own legacy.

Read MoreMarch 15, 2023

Don’t Worry, You Don’t Need a Will

Judge

Live Well … Leave Well. Make a difference even after you’re gone. Plan your estate for those you love and leave a legacy, not a mess.

Read MoreMarch 13, 2023

An Estate-Planning Guide Just For Women

Grieving Frustrated Woman

Did you know that on average, women live five to seven years longer than men? This means any changes in finances, inheritance, or guardianship can complicate the estate planning process. It also means women often spend more time and resources on long-term or end-of-life care.

Read MoreMarch 9, 2023

How to Launch a Simple Bequest Program

Coffee mug with note pad reading what legacy do I want to leave?

Bequests are the most popular planned gift. They're also the easiest to receive. And a bequest program is the perfect way to segue into closing other gifts. Bequests Make Up 92% of all planned gifts! Planned Giving, at its most basic, is simply a gift made from a donor’s estate to a nonprofit. And of […]

Read MoreMarch 6, 2023

Considering Social Media for Planned Giving?

Planned Giving and Social Media

The No. 1 enemy of a social media program is figuring out how to monetize it. How do you measure ROI, when — as is the case with planned giving — you might not ‘see’ results for years? That is not a question we can easily answer — at least, not honestly — because it depends on factors unique to your organization.

Read MoreFebruary 14, 2023

We Want Your Stories

Share your story

We’re looking to compile the largest-ever collection of bequest-related stories — and give you and your nonprofit some publicity at the same time. We will be publishing the stories on PlannedGiving.com, MajorGifts.com and on Bequests.com (which we just acquired). Our goal is to teach and inspire. Some of these stories may even be used as examples by presenters nationwide (with […]

Read MoreFebruary 11, 2023

Planned Giving Power Words That Work

granddaughter whispers into grandfather's ear

While the planned giving world isn’t exactly the wizarding world of Harry Potter, believe it or not, there really are some magic words — “power words,” if you prefer — that can make bringing home the endowment bacon a lot more likely.

Read MoreFebruary 9, 2023

Little Jessica

Mother carrying daughter at sunset on the beach

Before she became ill, I used to see Jessica every Sunday night when her parents came to play in the little mixed-couples pickup basketball league at the gym. At that time — and this was thirty years ago — Jessica was about one year old. Cute kid. An only child who was barely talking yet.

Read MoreFebruary 8, 2023

Online Will Planners: Interview With Viken Mikaelian

Online Will Planner on iPhone Tablet

[An Interview With Viken Mikaelian.] After seeing vendors like Freewill, Nonprofit Docs, LegalZoom and other vendors popularize an online will planning module, it just made sense for us to develop our own. After all, we’re in the planned giving marketing business, and this is just one more way we can help our clients succeed.

Read MoreFebruary 7, 2023

Online Will Makers: Eliminating the Stigma

concerned people

I’ve always felt that encouraging donors to create a will is in the best interests of any nonprofit. After all, they can’t leave you a planned gift without one.

Read MoreFebruary 7, 2023

Monthly Donors Should Be On Your Planned Giving Prospect List

Monthly Calendars

Many nonprofits have found a welcome source of revenue through monthly donors in the years since the pandemic. These repeat donors are your best planned giving prospects. Why? You are always on their minds.

Read MoreFebruary 1, 2023

Initiating the Legacy Conversation

Two Men Having a Difficult Legacy Conversation

My Dad never wanted to talk about creating a will. “Don’t worry,” he’d say, “It’s not like I’m going to die tomorrow.” Then he’d change the subject—usually to the tomatoes he was growing—because he found talking about planning his estate too uncomfortable. Guess what? My Dad died without ever making that estate plan.

Read MoreJanuary 27, 2023

Secure Act 2.0: Legacy IRA (Lite)

Tax Law Secure Act 2.0

It has taken nearly twenty years of persistent lobbying by a handful of key players in the nonprofit sector, and in the end they had to accept some steep compromises, but as of January 1st, if you are age 70-1/2 or older, you can make a direct "rollover" from your traditional IRA into a charitable remainder trust or a gift annuity contract.

Read MoreJanuary 25, 2023

Encourage Donors to Ensure Their Beneficiary Designation Forms are Up to Date

Estate planning

If you’ve named a charity as the beneficiary of an asset such as an insurance policy or retirement account, you know that the beneficiary designation forms typically request that charity’s name, address and tax identification number (TIN).  And if there's a mistake?

Read MoreJanuary 15, 2023

A Triple Impact for the CGA in 2023

Roll of Dice All 6

Do you know what CGA's are? Is your non profit offering them? The donor benefits are even more attractive than before, so if your nonprofit is not currently offering CGAs, now is the time to start!

Read MoreJanuary 9, 2023

Ways for Your Nonprofit to Remain Relevant

Relevance and Influence

In this fast-paced ever-changing world, the nonprofit landscape can ebb and flow on a year-to-year basis. So how does your nonprofit remain relevant while navigating the internal and external opportunities and pressures that impact the organization?

Read MoreJanuary 5, 2023

New QCD Rules: The Fine Print…

The Fine Print

Some people will be able to postpone taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) to a later date. Once we reach a certain age, we must begin taking distributions from our retirement accounts, such as IRAs, 401(k)s, and 403(b)s. The amount of these distributions is determined by a specific calculation that takes into account our age and the total balance of the account. Generally, the older we get, the larger these distributions get so that the account is as close to $0.00 as possible when we die.

Read MoreJanuary 3, 2023

Online Will Planning: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Planning your will online

Over the past few years there has been a proliferation of online will planners, spurred on in large part by the number of people who adopted a no-contact, do-it-yourself approach to everything they could during the pandemic. Some are embracing the wave, some are despising it. Join our webinar to find out more.

Read MoreDecember 16, 2022

10 Ways to Boost Your Nonprofit Fundraising Strategy

Boost your fundraising strategy

There are thousands of fundraising tactics out there—hundreds of ways to find donor, to communicate with them, and to ask them for money. There are some things that every nonprofit can be doing to raise more money and boost their development program. Here are ten ways to boost your nonprofit fundraising strategy.

Read MoreDecember 16, 2022

How to Write an Amazing Major Donor Thank You Letter

writing a thank you letter

Great donor stewardship is essential for your non-profit. The stewardship process starts with the thank you letter. If your supporters don’t feel properly thanked, it is highly unlikely that they will continue to give. In this article, we’re going to show you how to write an amazing major donor thank you letter for your non-profit organization.

Read MoreDecember 13, 2022

Cat Got Your Tongue? Learn How to Start the Planned Giving Conversation

cat got your tongue

Even seasoned fundraisers sometimes have trouble initiating a conversation. However when you possess the ability to have an effective, engaging conversation, your prospects suddenly turn into donors; your donors turn into repeat donors; planned gifts increase, along with major and annual gifts; and your reputation grows (along with your career).

Read MoreDecember 9, 2022

Are You Ready for Year-End Giving?

365 Opportunities Year End Giving

The year-end giving season is coming fast, and there’s a lot to get done if you’re a fundraiser. After all, at least half of all nonprofits receive the majority of their annual donations during the holiday season. And according to studies by Network for Good, 12% of all giving happens in the last three days of the year! Use these tips to learn how to build a great year-end fundraising strategy for your non-profit.

Read MoreNovember 19, 2022

Online Will Planning Does Not Replace Planned Giving Websites

multi channel marketing

Online will planning is the latest tool in fundraisers' arsenal—and it’s taking over the internet by storm as more nonprofits realize its potential. But online will planning tools can not replace your planned giving website. Instead, focus on using both tools as part of an integrated planned gift strategy for your non-profit.

Read MoreNovember 17, 2022

Tax Planning and Charitable Giving: What to Consider for Year-End and Beyond

Tax Planning

Year-end gifts usually make up the bulk of most nonprofits’ yearly cash donations (about 31% in December; 12% in the last three days of the year). Which is why it literally pays to keep your donors up-to-date on tax-law changes. Now, more than ever, helping your donors stay up to date with their tax planning can have huge year-end fundraising benefits for your non-profit.

Read MoreNovember 15, 2022

If You Don’t Write Your Will …

Don’t write your will and when you die, you’ll be declared “intestate” ... a fancy word that essentially means, “they didn’t think a will was important, so now the government gets to decide what to do with all their stuff.” Read this article to learn why you should write your will today!

Read MoreNovember 8, 2022

Stop Wasting Billions Every Year – Give Your Life Insurance to Charity

Stop Wasting Billions Every Year

When charities refuse to accept donations of life insurance, they miss out on a multi-trillion-dollar asset class and a valuable alternative to cash gifts. Likewise, when policyholders surrender or sell their insurance policies, they often miss out on the opportunity to support charities that they care about.

Read MoreOctober 4, 2022

The Importance of Estate Planning

Importance of Estate Planning

Do you have an estate plan? Many people think estate planning is unnecessarily complicated - but it doesn't need to be. A qualified estate attorney or easily accessible online tools can help you create a will that will make things easier on your heirs and ensure that your wishes are known to those who follow you.

Read MoreOctober 2, 2022

Wake Up and Smell The New Paradigm

Blocks and sunlight depicting paradigm.

Not so long ago, the outlook for fundraising reflected the sunny optimism of the overall economy.  Our donors had secure, well-paying jobs (often two per household); the value of their McMansions and vacation condos was projected to follow an endless upward arc; and when they opened their retirement-plan statements, the ending balance was always gratifyingly larger than the previous month’s.

Read MoreSeptember 20, 2022

The Most Frightening Words in Nonprofit Fundraising — and What We Do so You Don’t Say Them

Fundraising Image with Growing Plant and Money

I’ve written before about the dangers of the DIY (do-it-yourself) mentality in nonprofit fundraising. The most frightening thing is the amount of time you’ll spend doing everything but meeting with donor prospects. Here's how you can make your fundraising more successful by outsourcing some of your development needs to outside fundraising experts.

Read MoreSeptember 20, 2022

Workus Interruptus

Workus Interruptus

Endless texts, tweets, emails, calls, chats, IMs, Facebook updates… What do all these things have in common? They're all fundraising work interruptions! When it comes to development, you need to put the hours in. Here's how to avoid all the interruptions that are stopping you from raising the money your nonprofit needs to thrive!

Read MoreSeptember 18, 2022

The Human Moment: Why Human-Centered Fundraising Matters

Human-Centered Fundraising

Today, fundraisers are faced with a battery of e-marketing tools. They are tempted to put their hands on everything they can get. "I can contact 2000 prospects with the push of a send key. And it's cheap!" Well, not quite that cheap. Too much reliance on fundraising technology can hurt your development program. That's why you need to focus on human-centered fundraising!

Read MoreSeptember 16, 2022

Getting Advisors on Board (Cole Eason Q&A)

How to get Advisors on Board

Cole Eason, JD, is Vice President of Advancement at the Truman Heartland Community Foundation, where he works with donors and advisors to encourage philanthropic partnerships. We recently sat down and chatted with Cole about the ways in which financial, legal and tax advisors can help clients create tax-efficient charitable gift plans that achieve their client’s philanthropic goals while still allowing advisors to manage that client’s portfolio.

Read MoreSeptember 8, 2022

15 Donor Conversation Starters

15 Conversation Starters With Your Donors

Even the most socially adept among us need a little help to get the conversation started. That’s why we’ve developed these 15 donor conversation starters along with the "why" behind each one. Use them the next time you meet with a donor or prospect. They’ll help break the ice, establish trust, and get you started on the path to building a meaningful, mutually beneficial relationship. 

Read MoreAugust 22, 2022

Planned Giving is “Hot” These Days

Strike While the Iron Is Hot

As more uncertainty rattles the markets and the economic downturn deepens, donations will dry up. Even your most consistent donors will reevaluate their charitable giving as the threat of a recession looms. And the Wall Street roller-coaster will affect stocks as well as cash.

Read MoreAugust 14, 2022

Look at All Those Poor People Who Died Without a Will…

Who died without a will?

Why do only rich people have wills? Because they have the luxury to afford it. NOT. I think you’ll be surprised at the number of rich and famous people who died without a will —or didn’t have an updated will—when they left this earth. Each eventually left behind a fortune, but millions (and millions!) of dollars was wasted on lawyers, avoidable taxes, and lawsuits.

Read MoreJuly 13, 2022

Why Church Planned Giving Programs are Essential

Church Planned Giving Programs

Many churches focus only on the collection plate... meaning they are leaving millions of dollars on the table. Major donor efforts (and church planned giving programs) are essential to the financial health of your congregation. Read this article to learn why planned giving is essential for your church.

Read MoreJune 13, 2022

Does a Planned Gift Donor Need a Lawyer to Draft a Will?

Planned Gift Donor

One of the most frequently asked questions in planned giving is whether or not a planned gift donor needs a lawyer to write their will. In this article, we answer the question, and give some important fundraising tips for your non-profit.

Read MoreApril 17, 2022

Trust is The Most Important Element of Fundraising

Trust is The Most Important Element of Fundraising

Achieving trust doesn't happen overnight. Yet it is the most important element of fundraising for your nonprofit organization. Building trust takes time, persistence, consistency, and dedication. It also takes audience awareness of your “brand.” And creating that awareness means consistent marketing — an investment far too many nonprofits are afraid to make.

Read MoreMarch 24, 2022

The Major Gift Metrics You Need to Track

The Major Gift Metrics You Need to Track

On average, 88% of a nonprofit’s revenue comes from the top 12% of its donors. This shows how crucial major gifts are to an organization’s overall fundraising strategy. Additionally, major donors not only provide nonprofits with sustained financial security but are often co-creators of many programs and initiatives. Learn how to track major gift metrics to succeed with your major donor program.

Read MoreMarch 23, 2022

Nonprofit Video Marketing is Your Organization’s New Best Friend

Video is Your Nonprofit’s New Best Friend

Studies consistently show that businesses using video marketing have phenomenally increased their lead generation. Your nonprofit can enjoy the same success by using video to market your planned and major gifts programs. Here's why a nonprofit video marketing program is so important for your fundraising efforts.

Read MoreMarch 16, 2022

Can Donors Use an Online Will Planner to Draft a Will?

Online Will Planner

Many fundraisers and advisors hold a deeply rooted belief that donors should always use an attorney to draft their wills. Yet many wealthy (and not-so-wealthy) individuals have had success with using an online will planner to handle their estates. This article looks at whether online will planners can be used for creating wills and bequests that support your non-profit.

Read MoreFebruary 23, 2022

Donor Stories Motivate and Inspire Others to Give

Donor Stories Motivate Others to Give

Donor stories are among the most effective ways to reach and engage with your audience. That's why it’s important to have a system in place to pursue, record and share donor stories. Use the tips in this article to help you effectively utilize donor stories for fundraising at your non-profit.

Read MoreFebruary 21, 2022

Gifts for Donors or Legacy Society Members

Gifts for Legacy Society Members

Personally, I don’t want another paperweight, it just makes my trashcan heavier. But if someone brought me the best baklava money can buy, that would go in my belly quickly — and be greatly appreciated. So what are some of the best gifts your nonprofit can send to legacy society members and other key donors? Here are some ideas.

Read MoreFebruary 21, 2022

Well-Managed Oil and Gas Interests Can Fuel Non-Profit Endowments

Non-Profit Endowments

Your donor gave you an in-kind gift that you thought had nominal value, but when it was appraised, it was worth a lot more? This kind of pleasant surprise is not uncommon for charities that accept in-kind gifts of oil and gas interests. Non-profit endowments benefit when they accept more than just cash gifts.

Read MoreFebruary 18, 2022

Postcards From the Edge of Fundraising Agita

Postcards From the Edge of Agita

How do you thank your alumni donors? We give them gifts. Every year. These can range from the mundane (a printed calendar) to the ridiculous (a bobble-head doll), to the more expensive-and-mundane (an engraved glass mug or paperweight.) Here's how to end the agita and understand how to best steward and recognize your alumni givers.

Read MoreFebruary 2, 2022

Do-It-Yourself Fundraising Analytics to Boost Planned Giving AND the Annual Fund

Do-It-Yourself Analytics to Boost Planned Giving AND the Annual Fund

Fundraising analytics are important for the health of your non-profit's development program. Without basic wealth and demographic information, you won't be able to effectively fundraise from those in your non-profit's CRM. If your database doesn't provide basic fundraising analytics, you can, with a little work, do it yourself. Here's how to do it effectively.

Read MoreJanuary 19, 2022

Finding Your Best Planned Giving Prospects

Finding Your Best Planned Giving Prospects

Whether you're kicking off a fledgling planned giving program or you're comfortably positioned with a legacy society, it doesn't take a data scientist to help you find your best prospects. It DOES, however, start with your donor data. This blog explains why data is essential.

Read MoreJanuary 17, 2022

Donors Don’t Just Give; They Invest in a Nonprofit

Donors Don’t Just Give; They Invest

Donors like to do more than just give -- they like to feel like they are investing in the nonprofits they support. Investing means feeling like they are part of the organization and partially responsible for its success. If you want donors to give more to your organization, you need to find ways to help them feel as though they are investing, not simply making a donation.

Read MoreJanuary 10, 2022

Did You Know – Whining is Good for Donor Retention?

Whining is Good for Donor Retention

Did anyone ever tell you, "Quit your whining?" Complaining is practically second nature for most of us, and some people have been known to raise it to an art form. The thing is, no one likes a whiner, right? Well, think again. In this article, you'll learn why letting your donors complain can actually be GOOD for your donor retention efforts!

Read MoreJanuary 7, 2022

How Collaboration Builds a Better Fundraising Team

How Collaboration builds a better team

Collaboration draws upon the unique skillsets of individuals to achieve a common goal among a group. But for specialization to work, teaming up (aka, collaboration) with others who have complementary skills is critical. And I am happy to see that’s becoming the norm in philanthropy. Putting processes in place to increase collaboration at your non-profit will help you build a stronger fundraising team.

Read MoreJanuary 2, 2022

That’s No Way to Treat a Donor

That’s No Way to Treat a Donor

Like dating, you have an ongoing relationship with your donors, and there is a right way and a wrong way to treat a donor— to keep them happy; to show you truly appreciate them; to “keep the romance alive.” Here's how to treat your donors the right way to make sure they keep giving again and again!

Read MoreDecember 29, 2021

A $500 Million Estate …. And No Estate Plan

A $500 Million Estate And No Estate Plan

Did you hear that former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh died intestate? Now his family, friends, and business associates are apparently fighting over a bunch of deals and agreements that were scribbled on thousands of sticky notes plastered all over the walls of his Utah mansion. Don't make the same mistake. Don't die without an estate plan that keeps your legacy intact!

Read MoreDecember 22, 2021

The Best Prospects Are Still Loyal Donors

The Best Prospects Are Still Loyal Donors

Loyal donors are more likely to make a planned giving. Nurture your loyal donors who give once or twice, and they will give lifetime. In order to nurture your loyal donors, you need to thank them, recognize them, and steward them the right way!

Read MoreDecember 19, 2021

What’s My Planned Giving ROI?

What's My Planned Giving ROI?

One of the most important concepts in fundraising is return on investment (ROI). You need to know the ROI of every activity to carry out in your development program. Use the tips in this article to learn the basics of calculating the planned giving ROI for your organization's planned gift program!

Read MoreDecember 17, 2021

Cost of Inaction vs Fundraising ROI

Cost of Inaction vs Fundraising ROI

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. There's a very real cost to failing to take action - it directly impacts your fundraising return on investment (your fundraising ROI). Learn more and see how to combat inaction today!

Read MoreDecember 17, 2021

The Golden Age of Philanthropy

The Golden Age of Philanthropy

Many people think of last century as the golden age of philanthropy. They think of the huge bequests and foundations (Pew, Carnegie, Mellon, etc.) - but the truth is that today - right now - we are just entering the true golden age of philanthropy. Is your organization prepared to adjust for the new era?

Read MoreDecember 3, 2021

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

Do you have any resolutions for the new year? Your non-profit does great work and needs to raise more money in order to do more good in the world. Maybe it's time to create some new year's resolutions to help you think big - and dream big - at your non-profit this year!

Read MoreDecember 2, 2021

Engage Donors Establish a Legacy Using LegacyPlanner ™

Engage Donors Establish a Legacy Using LegacyPlanner ™

Fact: More than 60% of Americans do not have a will. That means they’ll have no say in how their estate is distributed. It also means they won’t have an opportunity to establish their legacy by leaving your nonprofit a transformative planned gift. But you have the power to change all that. Learn how, using the power of our LegacyPlanner tool!

Read MoreNovember 29, 2021

“But My Donor Prospects Are Different”

"Sophisticated Donor?" Your Prospects Are Human

If you feel your prospects are “really different,” chances are you’re hanging out with a few sophisticated (and detail-oriented) donors and making assumptions about the rest. My hunch is that you are alienating a majority with financial advice and high-brow messaging. Most donor prospects want simple, down-to-earth messaging that makes them want to get involved with your nonprofit!

Read MoreNovember 28, 2021

Enter Your Donor’s Financial Advisor

Focusing on Your Donor's Financial Advisor

Your donor's financial advisor can play a key role in determining when (and if) your donor gives to your organization. An advisor-centric approach in your non-profit can also pave the road for prospective donors. Is your nonprofit doing enough to build a network of financial advisors?

Read MoreNovember 24, 2021

4 Misconceptions About Gift Planning

4 Misconceptions About Gift Planning

Don’t let gift planning misconceptions get in your way.  They’re just an opportunity for a conversation about what gift planning can really do for your nonprofit. Here are the most common misconceptions about charitable gift planning, and how you can handle them quickly and effectively with your donors.

Read MoreNovember 17, 2021

The Countdown to Generational Wealth Transfer

This is a unique time for nonprofit organizations. Generational wealth transfer is in full swing. Is your organization prepared to make changes to accommodate the sudden influx of millennial wealth? If you're prepared, this could be a momentous time for your nonprofit.

Read MoreNovember 7, 2021

The Importance of Endowments to Nonprofit Longevity

The Importance of Endowments to Nonprofit Longevity

As nonprofits grow and improve their fundraising capacity, they may enter into the stage of considering endowments. While investments may seem intimidating for new organizations, experienced nonprofits know that their longevity depends on them. How strong is your nonprofit's endowment fundraising system?

Read MoreOctober 22, 2021

The Nonprofit Marketing Roadmap

The Roadmap to Marketing A Nonprofit’s Mission

Now more than ever, effective marketing is critical for a nonprofit to survive and grow its mission. Learn the fundamentals of nonprofit marketing, including branding, market research, finding your target audience, developing criteria to measure a campaign’s success, and earning your donors’ trust.

Read MoreOctober 13, 2021

Estate Plans: What Are Advisors Telling Your Donors?

Financial-Advisor-Clients-Donors

Now that the SECURE Act is law, donors are (or should be!) reviewing their estate plans, retirement strategies and philanthropic strategies to see if they should make changes. But what advice are they getting from their financial advisors — and how could it affect your charity? Here's how to be prepared for the new reality.

Read MoreOctober 11, 2021

Contemporary Women and Wealth

Contemporary Women and Wealth

Which would you choose: buying yourself a pair of Jimmy Choos, or the opportunity to help someone else buy much-needed shoes? In this article, we discuss women and wealth... and in particular, how your non-profit can raise more money from the women, who statistically outlive men and thus control the wealth of most families during prime planned giving years.

Read MoreOctober 10, 2021

Love, Family and Estate Planning

Love, Family and Estate Planning

My father hated estate planning. The words conjured up technical mumbo-jumbo he preferred not to think about. This was a big mistake, as he left his family with an estate plan. Here's why estate planning is so important for you, your family, and the causes you care about.

Read MoreOctober 1, 2021

Beauty is in Ear of the Beholder

Get In Touch With Your Tone

The tone of your voice matters. That's true in business, in life, and in fundraising. Have you given much though to how you sound to other people, and how they perceive the tone of your voice? If not, now is the time to start.

Read MoreSeptember 28, 2021

Just Say Yes (to Gifts of Real Estate)!

Gifts of Real Estate

Did you hear about the $20 million dollar gift that went elsewhere? All it took was one misguided sentence: “We don’t accept those things, ma’am.” Don't let fear of complicated gifts prevent your non-profit from thriving. It's time to put a plan in place to accept gifts of real estate, and so much more!

Read MoreSeptember 25, 2021

A Small Nonprofit’s Best Friend

Smart-Dog

Most smaller charities and almost all Americans do not understand the importance of a Community Foundation and how it serves the public. Here's why community foundations are so important, and how they can help your non-profit thrive.

Read MoreSeptember 17, 2021

Money Mistakes You Need to Avoid in Your Lifetime

Planning your future

Personal finance is largely about taking a proactive approach to planning your future. Along the way however, it’s also about avoiding common mistakes that typically result in unnecessary financial stress. Here are some hard-won tips for planning your future (and your legacy).

Read MoreSeptember 14, 2021

Six Strategies to Prevent Job Burnout

Job-Burnout-Frustrated-Male-Fundraiser

Does your life feel unbalanced? Are you tired or exhausted most of the time? Do you feel like work consumes you? You may be experiencing job burnout. Here are some important ways to prevent job burnout and care for yourself and your career.

Read MoreAugust 23, 2021

Preparing for a High Profile Major Gifts Job Interview

CEO-Lovel-Job-Interview

With a high profile job interview coming up, it's important to practice some effective, job-winning strategies that can help you outshine your competition. Use these tips and strategies to prepare for - and win - the job of your dreams.

Read MoreAugust 16, 2021

Mission Positioning During Tough Times

Mission-Positioning

Figuring out your mission positioning can be tough during down markets and time of economic uncertainty. Cutting marketing activity right now is risky, contrary to what you might think. You'll save on the short term, but lose in the long-term.

Read MoreAugust 11, 2021

Staying Productive Working From Home

Staying Productive

If you once performed like an expert gymnast nailing every routine, you might have found that you’ve become a bit wobbly since you started working at home. Sure, there have been advantages—less time commuting, fewer office interruptions. But it can also be hard staying productive. Here's how to score a perfect 10, every time.

Read MoreAugust 6, 2021

It’s All About Endowment

Ancient Columns

Does your nonprofit need and endowment? The answer is almost certainly "yes." In this article, we discuss the reasons why endowments are so important and the different ways you can help your organization succeed by building an endowment starting this year.

Read MoreAugust 4, 2021

The Crypto Revolution is Here. Is Your Nonprofit Ready?

Cryptocurrency

What’s crypto? A massive untapped opportunity for your nonprofit. And Planned Giving has an exclusive scoop on a risk-free gifting vehicle potential that could launch your organization into the stratosphere. Learn more about how to use cryptocurrency at your nonprofit!

Read MoreAugust 1, 2021

The Planned Giving Appeal Letter

planned giving appeal letter

The planned giving world is inundated with so much legalese and technical jargon, a simple planned giving appeal letter usually reads like a privacy statement sent out by a credit card company. It’s enough to send a corporate lawyer straight to sleep — and those are the folks who write privacy statements! Appeal to emotion.

Read MoreAugust 1, 2021

Planned Giving Newsletters That Work

Planned Giving Newsletters That Work

Traditional planned giving newsletters were great in the 60's. Today, these Mesozoic tools will soon be extinct.

Read MoreMay 27, 2021

Too Much Donor Information

planned gift program

Has something like this ever happened to you? You’re at a development conference, sitting at a table with a stranger. You introduce yourself … and the person takes your friendliness as an invitation to go all in. Next thing you know, they’re telling you about a recent operation (including all the gory details) and finish it off by yanking up their shirt for a grand reveal of a very large incision scar. The same thing can happen when a nonprofit tries to track down donor information - you don't need to know every little thing! Here's how to find...

Read MoreMay 24, 2021

Death by Overwork

death by overwork

We've all known someone who collected stuff in his garage. Always parked his car outside because he had no space. Eventually, he built a second garage for his car. Of course, over time he filled the second garage with more “junk,” too. Work can be like that-- you can fill your days with so much busywork that you need to add another hour, then another hour... and so on and so on, until your days are gone!

Read MoreMay 24, 2021

Cryptocurrency: The Next Gifting Frontier

Crypocurrency-Nonprofit-Gifting

Ethereum. Doegecoin. Ripple. Litecoin. Stellar. Bitcoin. Unless you’re familiar with cryptocurrency, those names probably look like something straight out of a science fiction story. But it’s no fiction: Cryptocurrency presents a huge—and largely untapped—opportunity for nonprofits.

Read MoreMay 6, 2021

A Letter from Viken Mikaelian

Opportunity and Growth

To say that the last year-plus has presented challenges for the philanthropy world is the very definition of an understatement. Nonprofits across the country have been forced to close their doors. Others might not make it through 2021. Meanwhile, the need for nonprofits has risen sharply, driven by the pandemic, natural disasters, and a host of other challenges that seem, at times, never-ending.

Read MoreMarch 1, 2021

A Positive Attitude is Not Enough

fearless-asking

Will a positive attitude alone make you succeed? No. You need far more than that if you want to be successful. Here's why a positive outlook is worthless, unless you have more in your quiver.

Read MoreFebruary 26, 2021

Top Ten Mistakes that Discourage Donors

Discouraging-Donors

As fundraising professionals, we often make mistakes that discourage donors, instead of encourage them. Don't do that! Instead, inspire and engage them. Here's how!

Read MoreFebruary 7, 2021

Acknowledging Donor Mortality

Acknowledging Donor Mortality

For years, these individuals have been in the background dressed up at your galas. They have introduced you and your staff to their peers and professional colleagues and have assisted at the registration tables for your events. They highlight articles in newspapers or trade journals relevant to your sector and share them with your communications and development staff. They may even go out of their way to send you marketing materials from other organizations that solicit their hard-earned dollars. But you need to acknowledge donor mortality.

Read MoreJanuary 29, 2021

Pandemic Philanthropy

Pandemic Philanthropy

Valuable resource: Summary of Robert Sharpe’s white paper The Pandemic & Philanthropy: What Have We Learned and Where Do We Go from Here? Based on input from charitable organizations across the country and professional advisors for nonprofits and philanthropists. Here's what pandemic philanthropy has taught us...

Read MoreJanuary 27, 2021

Career Thoughts

Empowering Career Thoughts

I do not recall where I collected this information, but I just found it in the "back of my drawer." Good motivation to start off the week. Here are some empowering career thoughts for you!

Read MoreJanuary 24, 2021

Self Limiting Beliefs

Self Limiting Beliefs

Grown powerful elephants can be tied down in their place with a thin rope around their neck. It doesn’t seem to make sense. Is your nonprofit - like these elephants - tied down by self limiting beliefs?

Read MoreDecember 24, 2020

Nonprofit Board Meeting Agendas: A Quick Guide for Success

nonprofit board meeting agendas

Executive directors looking to host more productive board meetings at small to mid-sized nonprofits with budgets ranging from $1-$10 million. Overall, this will focus on how software can help engage leadership in board meetings.

Read MoreNovember 10, 2020

Donor Testimonials: What Can You Learn From Yelp?

Yelp-what-can-we-learn-from-them

Burgers and marketing: Years ago, you would have hopped in the car and searched for a restaurant with a full parking lot and plenty of local license plates. Now you start surfing the internet using Yelp and TripAdvisor. So what? Did you know that your donors are doing the same thing... going online, looking for donor testimonials?

Read MoreOctober 3, 2020

Keep the Romance Alive

Keep-the-Romance-Alive

How does your organization retain its donors? Do you stay in touch frequently, letting them know what’s happening in your quest to make the world a better place. Do you show them how their support is changing lives? Do you keep the bond you initially created with them strong? Do you send thank-you cards or postcards “just because?” Here's how to really focus on donor stewardship.

Read MoreSeptember 18, 2020

Just close a $1 million gift? You still need major gifts training.

Just close a $1 million gift? You still need major gift training.

Successful major gifts officers don’t stop learning. There’s a simple reason: the skills you need for major gift work never stands still. Here's why you need major gifts training -- and how to find the right training workshops for YOU!

Read MoreAugust 29, 2020

Powerful Legacy Society Names. Five Proven Tips.

So, What’s In a Name? Plenty — especially when it comes to naming your legacy society. Choose the wrong name, and you’ll struggle to attract (let alone keep) members. Choose the right name, and your membership will grow and thrive.

Read MoreAugust 1, 2020

Investing in Social Media? Not So Fast.

Investing in Social Media? Not So Fast.

We worked with a client that’s a women's breast cancer foundation with over two million Facebook followers. This is very impressive. So how did they do it?

Read MoreJuly 15, 2020

Fundraisers and Donors: You Had Me at Bequest

You-Had-Me-at-Bequest

The relationship between fundraisers and donors is like dating. And, just like the dating world, in fundraising, there are duds, and there are keepers. Which kind of fundraiser are you?

Read MoreJuly 11, 2020

Ten Reasons Churches Should Have a Ministry of Legacy Giving

the-top-ten-reasons-churches-should-have-a-ministry-of-legacy-giving

In today’s economic environment, a legacy planned giving initiative helps you tap the hidden enormous potential of your loyal donors and transform the growth trajectory of your organization.

Read MoreJuly 2, 2020

People Need People – That’s How We Make a Difference!

People Need People

“I wonder how many churches and charitable organizations realize that community is one of the greatest gifts they have to offer ... and these things are so valuable that people are willing to make their resources available to sustain them. Fundraising must always aim to create new, lasting relationships.” That's how we make a difference!

Read MoreJune 28, 2020

Steps to Establish a Planned Giving Program (or… the Kid With the Kite!)

Steps to Establish a Planned Giving Program

It's true — a kid with a kite! There’s a lesson that fundraisers can learn from the history of Niagara Falls — specifically, about a suspension bridge that, from 1855 to 1897, connected the United States to Canada over the roaring waters. This clearly shows how marketing is behind everything. (And, in a roundabout way, the steps you need to take to establish a planned giving program!)

Read MoreJune 26, 2020

Your Final Invoice

Your Final Invoice

You know the saying, “The only two things certain in life are death and taxes.” Even after your lifetime, there are many taxes you can avoid. When it comes to taxes and funeral expenses (your final invoice), planning now will go a long way to help your family and friends.

Read MoreJune 22, 2020

Above the Line Charitable Deduction for Nonitemizers?

A Foot in the Door?

This could be the moment. After years of lobbying by the nonprofit sector, with multiple bills dying in committee, we might actually get legislation this year making permanent an above-the-line charitable deduction for nonitemizers.

Read MoreJune 21, 2020

How to Write and Design Effective Planned Giving Ads

How to Write and Design an Effective Planned Giving Ad

Any fundraiser can raise more and larger gifts by using our proven marketing tools, because they get the point across to your donors without stress or hassle. Use this article to learn how to write effective planned giving ads for your non-profit!

Read MoreJune 20, 2020

Let Donors Know: Philanthropy Is Here to Stay

Let Donors Know: Philanthropy Is Here to Stay

In 1900 they predicted that C, X and Q would vanish from our alphabet. 10 years later it was predicted we would have flying bicycles. The U.S. Congressional Calendar predicts that philanthropic incentives may be legislated out of existence sometime soon. That's not going to happen. Philanthropy is here to stay!

Read MoreJune 14, 2020

Leave the News on CGA Rates for Wall Street

Leave CGA Rate News for Wall Street

If you’re advertising that annuity rates are about to go down, you’re essentially shouting “Come and get it before it’s too late!” That makes you sound like you’re Kmart, running a Blue Light Special. Leave the CGA rates (charitable gift annuity rates) to wall street!

Read MoreJune 11, 2020

Is Your Planned Giving Website Up-To-Date?

Is Your Planned Giving Website Up-To-Date?

Your donors and prospects are online researching - And their numbers are growing. If you don't have a compelling web presence, you simply do not exist. Here's why your planned giving website needs to be kept up to date, and how to do it easily!

Read MoreJune 6, 2020

6 Tips to Energise The Power of a Good Donor Story

The Power of a Good Donor Story

An effective donor story elicits a natural identification in your prospects. "That's me!" is their response as they read it.

Read MoreJune 5, 2020

Are My Donors and Prospects Using the Internet?

Are My Donors and Prospects Using the Internet?

U.S. seniors use the Internet more than their younger counterparts and are the fastest growing sector of the PC-purchasing public. And according to Pew Research, four out of ten seniors now own smartphones, which is more than double than in 2013. And the rate of online adoption also increases with wealth.

Read MoreMay 30, 2020

Overkill Marketing

Overkill Marketing

Overkill marketing is a simple way to get your prospects tune you out without trying. Don't make that mistake. Here's how to market the right way to keep your donors giving year in and year out.

Read MoreMay 16, 2020

What Works and What Doesn’t in Planned Giving Marketing

What Works and What Doesn’t in Planned Giving Marketing

When you market planned gifts, you are trying to persuade people to do something that most of them don't even want to think about - permanently transfer assets away from their control and that of their families. Here's how to do planned giving marketing the right way!

Read MoreMay 15, 2020

Nonprofit Loyalty: Are You Worthy of Being Adopted?

Are You Worthy of Being Adopted?

The plain, unvarnished truth is that traditional wealth screening tools simply do not work in planned giving. Here's why nonprofit loyalty matters - and how you can gain it for your nonprofit!

Read MoreMay 15, 2020

Stop Multitasking… it Reduces Your Productivity!

stop multitasking

So you think you’re good at multitasking? You can talk on the phone, write an email and schedule a dentist appointment online all at once, can you? Scientific studies show that's not true. It's time to stop multitasking, before you destroy your productivity!

Read MoreMay 14, 2020

But My Fundraising Prospects Are Smarter and More Sophisticated

But My Prospects Are Smarter and More Sophisticated

When you hear fundraising advice that sounds to "salesy," are you someone who thinks, "golly, gee! My fundraising prospects are smarter than that!" Well, I've got news for you... they're not!

Read MoreMay 5, 2020

Learning to Love Fundraising Competition

Fundraising competition

As nonprofits share best practices and reveal their most coveted success stories, you don’t often hear the word “competition.” Wake up. Fundraising competition is here and it is only going to get more intense.

Read MoreApril 28, 2020

CARES Act Expands Tax Deductions for Charitable Giving

Here's a quick summary of the CARES Act, and how it relates to your nonprofit organization.

Read MoreApril 17, 2020

Top 8 Features of a Planned Giving Website

Planned Giving Website features

If you want your planned giving websites to do more than just take up space – if you want it to actually communicate with your prospects and motivate them to plan a gift – here are the features to look for, and the ones to avoid.

Read MoreApril 7, 2020

What Does the Fundraising Future Hold? A Bold Prediction.

What Does the Future Hold? A Bold Prediction.

As we settle into another month of staying indoors, a lot of people and so-called experts are making a lot of speculations about what’s next — for public health, for the economy, for our society as a whole. Here's what we think the fundraising future holds...

Read MoreApril 3, 2020

My Apple Tree

My Apple Tree

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. ~ Martin Luther

Read MoreMarch 21, 2020

Six Tough Planned Giving Facts

Six Tough Planned Giving Marketing Facts.

These six planned giving facts may sound a bit harsh, but they're the truth — and they're crucial if you want to succeed in the field.

Read MoreMarch 16, 2020

The Gift of Attention

The Gift of Attention

I called a longtime friend of mine and asked him out for coffee, and he said, in a very somber tone, “I’m so busy. I am so busy, I have so much going on.” This “busyness” is turning into an epidemic. Even children are now contracting this illness and developing anxiety in school. If you want to love your donors, give them the gift of attention.

Read MoreMarch 16, 2020

Getting What You Paid For: 10 Tips for Nonprofit Training

When you invest in nonprofit training, you want it to be a valuable experience. Here are ten things to keep in mind as you search for the best resources.

Read MoreMarch 15, 2020

Perfect English vs Marketing

Donor-Centric Planned Giving Marketing

If you want people to pay attention to your direct mail intended to raise money, let those who are “smart” in marketing have the final say, not attorneys or tenured professors. Invest in donor-centric planned giving marketing!

Read MoreMarch 10, 2020

I Just Found My 404 Page!

My 404 Page

Have you stumbled upon my 404 page? How does it look? Is it funny? Is it serious? Is it blank? Learn more about my - and YOUR - 404 page in this article!

Read MoreMarch 3, 2020

Fundraising Abundance: There Is Money Out There

There Is Money Out There

Does the economy have you down? Fear not! People still have money to spend. In fact, for nonprofits, it's ALWAYS a world of fundraising abundance!

Read MoreMarch 1, 2020

Rate Tables and Hard Numbers in CGA Ads

Rate Tables and Hard Numbers in CGA Ads

Fact: Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) rate tables or gift illustrations/examples really don’t work well. Non-profits want them in their CGA marketing pieces because they see them in everyone else’s stuff, but the reality is that they rarely bring in a gift.  Or bring in the wrong type of gift. Instead, focus on donor stories in your CGA ads and other marketing!

Read MoreFebruary 26, 2020

Don’t Defer Planned Giving!

Deferring the Deferred

"But we want the cash, now," we often hear. Well, we would have had the cash now if we had not deferred it in the first place. Get started now! Don't defer planned giving.

Read MoreFebruary 23, 2020

Fundraising vs. Friendraising

Fundraising vs. Friendraising

In philanthropy, rather than getting donors to raise cash, it is smarter to raise cash to get long-term donors. Sounds like a tongue-twister, but it’s not.

Read MoreFebruary 22, 2020

Planned Giving and the Church

Planned Giving and the Church

The congregation sighs and settles in for what the pastor knows is actually their least favorite Sunday. “Please take a look at the insert in your bulletin,” he continues. “You’ll see that we didn’t meet our budget again this year.” His audience knows where this is going: The church is struggling to accomplish its mission, but the congregation is not pulling its weight in terms of monetary contributions.

Read MoreFebruary 21, 2020

Given Lemonade? Just Add Sugar.

Given Lemonade? Just Add Sugar.

I recall one afternoon when the entire staff from the development office was running around like chickens with their heads cut off, screaming at everyone because a donor’s name was misspelled on the roster. Did the donor care?

Read MoreFebruary 10, 2020

The Donor will Never Know. Why Attend His Funeral?

The Donor will Never Know. Why Attend His Funeral?

“I really don’t want to go to that funeral. You think the family will notice if I’m not there? I mean, we’re sending them a thank-you note for her donation, and I already sent a sympathy card …”

Read MoreFebruary 6, 2020

SECURE Act Q&A

SECURE Act Q&A

Do you feel overwhelmed by all of the regulations affecting the planned giving industry? What compounds the situation is how others respond to new legislation such as the SECURE Act. What do they offer you? Subject matter genius attorneys who are super brilliant with tax laws.

Read MoreJanuary 25, 2020

I Learned A Lot Of Things From My Dad. Here are Three.

I Learned A Lot Of Things From My Dad. Here are Three.

Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately experience comes through bad judgment.

Read MoreJanuary 25, 2020

Fear of Failure. Risk Aversion. And Nonprofits.

Fear of Failure. Risk Aversion. And Nonprofits.

Famous ad agency uses pigeons to pitch private jets. It's true. Read on ...

Read MoreJanuary 24, 2020

SECURE Act / Note to Clients and Friends

SECURE Act / Note to Clients and Friends

Don't let legislation paralyze your planned giving marketing efforts.

Read MoreJanuary 13, 2020

SECURE Act / Webinar

SECURE Act / Webinar

Your donors will be asking about SECURE, so you’d better know the facts and be ready with the answers — all of the answers. You need to position yourself as an expert resource.

Read MoreJanuary 9, 2020

Convincing Your Boss and Your Board

Convincing Your Boss and Your Board

What fundraiser has not faced a boss who doesn’t understand how planned gifts work, doesn’t want to learn, and thinks that planned gifts are an “easy out” for donors who should have made an outright gift?

Read MoreJanuary 5, 2020

Create a Legacy You’ll Never See

Create a Legacy You’ll Never See

Planned Giving is a way to make an impact and grow a meaningful legacy — both for yourself, and for your favorite nonprofit — in ways that you likely had never imagined.

Read MoreJanuary 2, 2020

Trust-Based Fundraising

Trust-Based Fundraising

I'll be blunt: You can get lucky with lust, but you get married and stay married with trust. You’re probably thinking, “What does that have to do with marketing or fundraising?” Well … read on ...

Read MoreDecember 23, 2019

Do For-Profits Raise Planned Gifts?

Do For-Profits Raise Planned Gifts?

Do for profits copy nonprofits? Often. Does the nonprofit sector copy the for-profit sector? Not often enough. Read on how being challenged can help our sector.

Read MoreDecember 23, 2019

All You Need is Love

All You Need is Love

Extreme achievers (musicians, actors, artists, entrepreneurs, athletes ...) have a dark side we don’t often hear about, and sometimes don’t want to hear about. John Lennon was one of them.

Read MoreDecember 23, 2019

Secure Gifts With the SECURE Act

Secure Gifts With the SECURE Act

We are studying the SECURE Act and its effects on Philanthropy. We will release our take and advise effective ways you can shift your marketing focus to raise more and larger gifts.

Read MoreDecember 21, 2019

The Future of Planned Giving

The Future of Planned Giving

Six fundraising experts discuss the future of planned giving and the movement to merge planned giving with major gifts and principal gifts.

Read MoreDecember 13, 2019

The Planned Giving Newslet™

The Planned Giving Newslet™

Unlike the traditional planned giving newsletter that is challenging to implement, the Newslet addresses your need to deliver your message in an affordable and expeditious manner.

Read MoreDecember 9, 2019

It’s the Marketing, Stupid.

It’s the Marketing, Stupid.

Most nonprofits have a reversed Darwinian approach to new idea generation. Instead of survival of the “fittest” they strive for survival of the “safest.”

Read MoreDecember 8, 2019

Planned Giving: It’s About Legitimacy

Planned Giving: It's About Legitimacy

Everyone focuses on the importance of planned giving from a financial perspective. When in fact, it's about legitimacy and credibility. If you have both, the money will follow.

Read MoreDecember 6, 2019

Is December a Time to Plan for Year-End Charitable Giving?

Is December a Time to Plan for Year-End Charitable Giving?

Year-end giving appeals are often poorly planned and executed. The best time to begin is between July and September, and making sure that you have a series of "touches" and not just one mailing planned.

Read MoreNovember 27, 2019

Get Rid of Your Job-Hopping Habit Once and For All

Get Rid of Your Job-Hopping Habit Once and For All

Unfortunately, many in this industry are job hoppers. Why? Because truth be told, fundraising takes hard work and commitment, and many who land in fundraising tend to focus more on transactional duties than on doing their real job.

Read MoreNovember 21, 2019

CRATs, nOObs, and Other Acronyms

Start your week with a laugh:

Like cell phones, social media and text messages, acronyms have taken over our lives. But we had planned giving acronyms long before the birth of texts. What else does a CRAT stand for? Read and find out.

Read MoreNovember 18, 2019

You Can’t Do It Alone

You Can’t Do It Alone

Study shows what successful people have in common: they spent a lot of time with someone who had been successful. In other words, they learned how to be successful. They had friends, mentors, influencers and coaches.

Read MoreNovember 10, 2019

A Definitive Guide to Planned Giving Newsletters

The Definitive Guide to Planned Giving Newsletters

I am often asked, “Viken, do planned giving newsletters work?” Yes they do, but it is the wrong question to ask.

Read MoreOctober 25, 2019

Want to be a Better Fundraiser? Understand Money

Want to be a Better Fundraiser? Understand Money

Guess what. You're closer to a millionaire than a millionaire is closer to a billionaire.

Read MoreOctober 12, 2019

Copywriting Lessons from the Church

Copywriting Lessons from the Church

These funny headlines will make you laugh. And get inspired. Enjoy.

Read MoreAugust 20, 2019

In Other Words…

In Other Words…

Again and again, Dr. Russell James found that formal and technical terms reduce the chances that a prospective donor will be interested in making a planned gift. And we've been saying that since 1998. Yet, many nonprofits still do not take the advice.

Read MoreJuly 31, 2019

You Need a Planned Giving Program

You Need a Planned Giving Program

If you're not pursuing planned gifts, the nonprofit next door is. If they win the heart of your donors, your cash gifts will follow out the door, too.

Read MoreJuly 29, 2019

Is Your Week Planned? Effective Time Management Will Make You a Leader

Is Your Week Planned? Effective Time Management Will Make You a Leader

Average people hate Mondays, and refer to Wednesday as "hump day" and then "Thank God it's Friday." If you are a leader, you should enjoy it all. The average consciousness lives for the weekend.

Read MoreJuly 24, 2019

The Planned Giving Productivity Quiz

stop multitasking

Planned giving productivity. It's not about learning calculators, CRUTs and CRATs. Here are 5, simple helpful tips for you career — and mental health.

Read MoreJuly 23, 2019

Developing Your Own Planned Giving Website

Developing Your Own Planned Giving Website

Recently, an IT functionary at a large Midwestern institution convinced the Development team to produce their planned giving website in-house. It took them 8 months.

Read MoreJuly 20, 2019

Planned Gifts Take Too Long!

Planned Gifts Take Too Long!

Planned gifts are not always deferred. Some provide immediate cash, some come in sooner than you think, and here are a few tips to accelerate them.

Read MoreJuly 20, 2019

How I Got into Planned Giving

How I Got into Planned Giving

People often ask me about my life. What’s my background? Where’s my accent from? Where did I grow up? Where did you meet your wife? One of these days I’ll get around to answering all that... But the most common question I get is, “Viken, how did you get into planned giving?” Answer: By Accident.

Read MoreJuly 15, 2019

What’s the True Measure of Wealth?

What’s the True Measure of Wealth?

Fundraising professionals focus on income as a measure of giving ability. The worried fundraiser thinks this way. “The prospective donor won’t give, because she won’t save money by being charitable. I won’t raise enough money to make my annual goals. My charity won’t accomplish its mission, and I’ll lose my job. What am I going to do?”

Read MoreJuly 5, 2019

Fearless Asking

Fearless Asking

What kind of “asker” are you? Confident, well-dressed, professional? Or more of a beggar? Someone apologetic, mincing their way through the ask? One type is going to succeed often, and the other will almost always fail. Can you guess which is which? You’ll find the answer — and other great advice on making the ask — on our blog in a guest post from author, public speaker and planned giving specialist Dr. Rebecca Price Janney.

Read MoreJuly 4, 2019

Philanthropy Landscape

Philanthropy Landscape

Becoming part of our network is a unique experience. You'll receive timely communiqués, learning opportunities, webinars, client hours, get to try out new tools. We're like a "central clearinghouse" for cutting-edge discoveries about marketing and other forms of intelligence drawn from thousands of thought leaders.

Read MoreJuly 3, 2019

New to Planned Giving? Check Out These Resources

New to Planned Giving? Check Out These Resources

If you're new to planned giving, you're lucky you found this page. Established program? It's a good refresher and has useful tips for your team.

Read MoreJuly 1, 2019

Quiz: Which is More Powerful?

Quiz: Which is More Powerful?

"Direct mail is too expensive," you say. Well, fine. Use something cheaper that does not work nearly as well.

Read MoreJune 27, 2019

Planned Giving for Smaller Nonprofit: 10 Reasons

Small Nonprofits Should Enter the Planned Giving Game

If you’re not going after planned gifts, the bigger fish next door is. And since planned gifts are gifts from the heart, they inspire more cash gifts, too. This means, if the nonprofit next door wins your planned gifts, your cash gifts will walk out the door, too.

Read MoreJune 20, 2019

What a Difference a “Comma” Makes

What a Difference a “Comma” Makes | Planned Giving

“Oh, you’re one of those people who care about the black squiggly marks,” the Director of Development told me.

Read MoreJune 19, 2019

Simplicity May Be Complicated, but It’s Key

Simplicity May Be Complicated, but It’s Key

You can’t believe how hard it is for people to be simple, how much they fear being simple. They worry that if they’re simple, people will think they’re simpleminded. In reality, of course, it’s just the reverse. ~ Jack Welch, CEO, General Electric

Read MoreJune 14, 2019

“Get a Charitable Deduction Now for a Gift You Make Later”

“Get a Charitable Deduction Now for a Gift You Make Later”

It's hard to explain how a Donor Advised Fund works to a donor. And when you try, they're yawning. This creative marketing copy helps them get the point.

Read MoreJune 12, 2019

Pigeon Poop. Lear Jets. Planned Giving Newsletters. Direct Mail. And More …

Pigeon Poop. Lear Jets. Planned Giving Newsletters. Direct Mail. And More

A direct mail campaign that's not so vanilla. Only in the for-profit world. Would you have had the stomach for it?

Read MoreJune 12, 2019

I Did Not Know This Planned Gift Existed

I Did Not Know This Planned Gift Existed

A donor can donate a house, get a deduction, live there for life, and receive an annuity from the donation for life. Hmm ... does not sound right.

Read MoreJune 11, 2019

Marketing, Boy Meets Girl & Planned Giving

Marketing, Boy Meets Girl & Planned Giving

I am amused when a client hires us and then tells us what to do. My favorite inquiry is, “We’d like to send out a planned giving postcard and see if something will happen.”

Read MoreJune 6, 2019

Tiger Woods, Defining Moments, Nonprofits, Lies and Life, Honesty

Tiger Woods, Defining Moments, Nonprofits, Lies and Life, Honesty

Remember when news broke that Tiger Woods was cheating — not at golf, but on his wife? The media jumped all over the story.

Read MoreMay 28, 2019

Planned Giving Stories Motivate Others to Give

Donor Story Writing Services

Are you nurturing your donors? One way to do it is by asking them to tell their story. People like to talk about themselves. It’s natural.

Read MoreMay 24, 2019

What We’re Up To These Days

What We’re Up To These Days

Some people in our industry have made planned giving so moribund that they can put a cat on speed to sleep. Vendors included.

Read MoreMay 20, 2019

Dumb Ways To Seek Donations

Dumb Ways To Seek Donations

Are you relying on dumb ways to seek donations? A few years ago, a darkly humorous Australian public service ad to promote railway safety went viral. Called “Dumb Ways to Die,” the campaign was set to a catchy song with lyrics including, Set fire to your hair. Poke a stick at a grizzly bear. Eat […]

Read MoreMay 15, 2019

“I am too busy to think about planned giving”

“I am too busy to think about planned giving”

  Too busy? Or are you placing Planned ­Giving on the back burner, again? So many fundraisers make excuses, claiming they’ve placed planned giving on the back-burner because of tight budgets, smaller staffs and not enough time. Bull. There’s an underlying ­reason that none of us wants to acknowledge: Four years ago we asked fundraisers […]

Read MoreApril 20, 2019

Who Made the First Planned Gift?

Who Made the First Planned Gift?

Most “experts” place the practice as having been birthed in the 1970s — or maybe as far back as the ’40s. So it’s safe to say the first planned gift must have been made sometime in those decades. Right?

Read MoreApril 6, 2019

How Far is Too Far?

How Far is Too Far?

"It's never government, the economy, or tax laws that are our enemy. It's ourselves."— A CEO of a healthcare foundation, remaining anonymous.

Read MoreApril 1, 2019

Annual Giving vs. Planned Giving

Annual Giving vs. Planned Giving

Annual giving tends to focus on immediate needs. Planned giving is more focused on long-term growth. Although we need both, focusing on long-term growth creates stability.

Read MoreMarch 30, 2019

Thinking of Switching Jobs?

Thinking of Switching Jobs?

There is a perception that many fundraisers are job-hoppers, never staying in one role or with one organization for long.

Read MoreMarch 26, 2019

The Vanilla Zone. Are You In It?

The Vanilla Zone. Are You In It?

What’s the most popular food served at conferences? You guessed it. Chicken. What’s the most popular flavor of ice cream? If you said “vanilla,” kudos again. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with chicken or vanilla. Although I do like both, I’m more of a seafood and habanero lover (yes, there’s even a habanero […]

Read MoreFebruary 17, 2019

Focus on Consistency

Focus on Consistency

Random acts of kindness? Pfui. How about consistent acts of kindness. Same goes for marketing... and that's why many nonprofits fail because a little bit of this and a little bit of that ...

Read MoreFebruary 17, 2019

Relationship or the Ask?

Relationship or the Ask?

I recently saw a post on LinkedIn mentioning that “it’s all about the relationship, not the ask.” If you want to be in the top 5% in your career, read on ...

Read MoreFebruary 9, 2019

Just Say Yes (to all kinds of planned gifts)

Just Say Yes (to all kinds of planned gifts)

  Personal preferences can’t interfere with gift acceptance. A while back I wrote an article called “A Gold Strike” about how non-profits should include “the ask” for gifts of mineral rights on their websites. Shortly afterwards, I received an email from an advancement officer who thought that no “self-respecting non-profit organization should consider a gift […]

Read MoreDecember 12, 2018

Street Smart Marketing?

Street Smart Marketing?

You do not need a Ph.D. All you need is Street Smarts. Look at what John Ready did at Valley Gives Back.

Read MoreDecember 10, 2018

Viken and Einstein Go Head to Head

Viken and Einstein Go Head to Head

It’s true. Planned gifts really can get complicated. That’s why we have professionals like Meredith Sossman, JD; Camilyn Leone, Esq.; and Scott Janney on our team. And it’s a very good team. But when it comes to effective planned giving marketing, all you really need is street smarts and commitment. Even Camilyn and Meredith above, […]

Read MoreNovember 24, 2018

Start With Their Dreams

Start With Their Dreams

Do you know how to tap into a donor’s motivation to give? Have you nailed “the Passion Question?”

Read MoreOctober 31, 2018

Yes. It’s Critical To Have One in Place.

Yes. It’s Critical To Have One in Place.

You have a planned giving program — that’s great! And you get those occasional gifts, and that's great too. But you're wondering if your donors know that you exist.

Read MoreSeptember 14, 2018

Do Planned Giving Newsletters Work?

Do Planned Giving Newsletters Work?

I just love Tom Ahern's sarcastic line: “Oh, goody! Look what’s come in the mail, honey. It’s the latest issue of our death brochure. Round up the kids!”

Read MoreAugust 17, 2018

It Is Hard to Be Simple

It Is Hard to Be Simple

You can’t believe how hard it is for people to be simple, how much they fear being simple. They worry that if they’re simple, people will think they’re simpleminded. In reality, of course, it’s just the reverse. (~ Jack Welch, CEO General Electric.)

Read MoreAugust 5, 2018

Thanks, But No Thanks.

How to Handle Sticky Situations Before They Happen

Legacy society member brings girlfriend to all organization events. She also attends events without him. She puts off other members by over-imbibing and being more outspoken than Whoopie Goldberg.

Read MoreJune 15, 2018

10 Planned Giving Excuses Debunked

10 Planned Giving Excuses Debunked

What’s the big deal about planned giving anyway? When it comes to things we don’t understand, or may be intimidated by, there’s always a reason to avoid taking a closer …

Read MoreJune 2, 2018

The Goldilocks Rule

The Goldilocks Rule

Nonprofit board members who serve on their investment advisory committees have a dual fiduciary role to perform: 1) They must protect the intent of the donor and the long-term viability of their organization; and 2) They have to manage endowment assets to provide a reasonable amount of income to support the causes that the funds are earmarked for.  

Read MoreJune 1, 2018

Are You a “Binge Fundraiser?”

Are You a “Binge Fundraiser?”

The classic cry of the binge fundraiser is "Oops... gifts are slow to come in. I guess I’d better send out a mailing." If you find yourself in the middle of a quiet spell, thinking that a few actions, a couple of phone calls and a mailing here and there will get things moving again, you need to rethink your strategy.

Read MoreMay 16, 2018

Are You Sending Out Death Brochures?

Are You Sending Out Death Brochures?

That canned “planned giving newsletter” you’re paying for is viewed by your recipients as a "death brochure" and is going right into the trash. Spend your money wisely. (By Tom Ahern)

Read MoreApril 27, 2018

Donor Events. Fun for Business?

Donor Events. Fun for Business?

  The Gala Gambit: How Much Did Your Donor Event Really Cost? It’s no secret that some fundraisers rely on elaborate gimmicks to separate money from donors’ wallets. In a Disney movie, Daddy Warbucks would come to the rescue, expecting nothing in return for his donation but a feeling of peace and goodwill at the […]

Read MoreApril 6, 2018

Estate Planning for Women

Wise Women Estate Planning

Women hold a large percentage of this nation's wealth, yet most don't have an estate plan. Show those who care about your mission the value of estate planning, and they’ll be encouraged to include a charitable gift to you. Simple ... donor and attorney friendly ... and to the point.

Read MoreMarch 28, 2018

Catholics and Wealth

Catholics and Wealth

Catholics are uniquely at odds with the accumulation of personal wealth. Perhaps, it is because the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles suggest a vocational lifestyle of communal frugality as the path towards salvation. The Acts of the Apostles, chapter2, verses 44-45 provides a microcosmic glance at the life of the early Church: And […]

Read MoreMarch 15, 2018

Yes, Virginia, you DO need a planned giving website

Yes, Virginia, you DO need a planned giving website

I saw a blog post penned by another planned giving vendor. Its sole purpose: To trash the idea that fundraisers need a planned giving website. Very interesting ...

Read MoreMarch 14, 2018

Simple Planned Gifts to Market This Year

Simple Planned Gifts to Market This Year

  Did you know that more than 90% of planned gifts are beneficiary designations? And by simply promoting beneficiary designations to your prospects, your organization will see its endowment grow by leaps and bounds. [Here’s a handy Beneficiary Designations Gift Planning Toolkit you can use.] Why? What makes this particular planned gift so attractive? It’s […]

Read MoreFebruary 6, 2018

10 Habits of Successful People

10 Habits of Successful People

Here are ten tips that I’ve developed by studying — and emulating — the habits of people who live the good life.

Read MoreFebruary 6, 2018

Future of Planned Giving

Future of Planned Giving

  Wondering What’s Ahead? Stop speculating and find out what the movement to merge planned giving with major gifts and principal gifts really means. Download our special report [PDF; instant free download]. Our panel of six industry experts covers topics including, “What are the pros and cons of a merge?” “What are the implications for […]

Read MoreJanuary 22, 2018

Philanthropy and Tax Reform

Will the new tax law doom your nonprofit? Or will it stimulate the economy and be a fundraising boon?

Read MoreJanuary 17, 2018

Advisors and Philanthropy

Advisors and Philanthropy

The face of philanthropy is changing: Researchers found that many donors want to talk with an advisor before they'll even approach a nonprofit to discuss their intentions.

Read MoreJanuary 11, 2018

Don’t Look at the Wall

Don’t Look at the Wall

Two great quotes from Mario Andretti: “If everything seems under control you are not going fast enough.” and “Don’t look at the wall.”

Read MoreOctober 17, 2017

I Want to Meet a Rich Guy

I Want to Meet a Rich Guy

What does wanting to meet (and marry) a rich guy have to do with planned giving? More than you think, and it all boils down to the meaning of the word "rich." This puts "I want to meet a rich donor" in a whole new light.

Read MoreSeptember 28, 2017

Your “Sophisticated” Donor

Your “Sophisticated” Donor

“Dad, you are sitting on Apple stock. Why don’t you donate some, avoid capital gains tax, get a deduction, and receive guaranteed income for life—some of it tax-free?” “Is that legal?” he asked.

Read MoreJuly 17, 2017

Is a Planned Giving Website Worth the Money?

Is a Planned Giving Website Worth the Money?

The other day a colleague from another nonprofit, a fairly small one, told me he was leaning away from spending money on a new planned giving website. This is not the first development person I’ve heard struggle with this decision.

Read MoreJuly 15, 2017

How to Bore Your Constituency

How to Bore Your Constituency

Creating marketing content yourself is an excuse of not doing your job. You can easily upset donors, board members and lose opportunities.

Read MoreMay 21, 2017

Where’s Your Elevator Pitch?

Where’s Your Elevator Pitch?

You get in the elevator to head up to the 12th floor. A prospect you’ve always wanted to talk to enters at 3. He recognizes you and says, “I’ve seen you before. What do you do for the institution?”

Read MoreApril 16, 2017

Let Testimonials Say What You Can’t

Let Testimonials Say What You Can’t

Testimonials by satisfied donors, or by recipients of your organization’s services, automatically carry more credibility than anything you could say about yourself. They are an important part of your planned giving marketing message because they tell a potential donor what you can't.

Read MoreMarch 24, 2017

Insights From 30+ Years in Planned Giving …

Insights From 30+ Years in Planned Giving …

With 30+ years of planned giving successes in my history, I’m now considered a thought leader in the industry. That's because I learned one crucial lesson: Planned giving is about people. Focus on the people and the rest is easy.

Read MoreMarch 10, 2017

Tell Your Heart Surgeon to Go Away

Tell Your Heart Surgeon to Go Away

If your administration does not realize the importance of planned giving, your job is to explain it to them. The money is there — and it shows up when people understand the need. Would you ever tell your heart surgeon that his fee is not in your budget?

Read MoreNovember 10, 2016

On Productivity, Planned Giving and Your Career

On Productivity, Planned Giving and Your Career

Do you set daily goals? Do you think multitasking is helpful? Do you know the difference between motion and action? These 8 hacks will get your productivity — and your career — energized.

Read MoreNovember 7, 2016

Biggest Planned Giving Marketing Challenge?

Biggest Planned Giving Marketing Challenge?

What's your biggest planned giving marketing challenge? Here's what 12 philanthropy professionals from 11 different parts of the country had to say about theirs.

Read MoreNovember 6, 2016

What We Don’t Do

What We Don’t Do

Companies like to boast about what they do. Apparently, many firms also like to do far more than they should. More and more in the planned giving community I see “marketing” firms promising their clients the world.

Read MoreNovember 5, 2016

Get Rid of Your CGA Program!

Get Rid of Your CGA Program!

Says the panicked board member… until you show him a better way to lower risk.  Has this ever happened to you? A board member or finance officer who is unfamiliar with gift annuities sees a big liability on the books and panics. “Why are we doing this?” they ask. Their concern is understandable. A charity normally pays a donor around […]

Read MoreNovember 1, 2016

How to Be Massively Productive

How to Be Massively Productive

What is the single biggest excuse people use to not do things they say they want to do? Wait for it... (No pun intended.) "I don’t have time." We’re about to blow that excuse away.

Read MoreOctober 29, 2016

Do You Know This Magic Key Question?

Do You Know This Magic Key Question?

My colleague was at her wits’ end with a donor we’ll call Philip. Everything about Philip screamed MAJOR DONOR OF THE HIGHEST LEVEL! He had all three As of a great donor prospect.

Read MoreOctober 28, 2016

Kill Your Print Marketing Campaign

Kill Your Print Marketing Campaign

Direct mail is king. But kings can be dethroned. Well-intentioned organizations do it all the time. Avoid these common mistakes to ensure your direct mail campaign is as kingly as it should be.

Read MoreOctober 25, 2016

Add Hours Back Into Your Week

Add Hours Back Into Your Week

If your idea of increasing productivity is petitioning the universe to add a few hours to the day, take heart. There are less cosmically improbable ways. Let’s glance at how technology can work in your favor and add hours back into your week.

Read MoreOctober 20, 2016

Marketing Planned Giving to Advisors

Marketing Planned Giving to Advisors

In a perfect world, all of your benefactors who receive your planned giving mailing will immediately decide it’s a good idea, call their advisor for the go ahead, and then make your institution a gift that changes not only the trajectory of your long-term revenue goals, but your career as well.

Read MoreOctober 18, 2016

Get Un-Stuck and Get Moving

Get Un-Stuck and Get Moving

There are many smart people walking around with brilliant ideas in their heads, but just a small few of them can manage to take action and make something happen.

Read MoreOctober 17, 2016

Prepare and Achieve

Prepare and Achieve

You know that feeling of spinning your wheels? That feeling you get when you are burning through time and exhausting yourself yet having little to show for it in the end? Preparation is critical, but what gives you bragging rights at the end of the day is the action you take

Read MoreOctober 16, 2016

Raise Your Hand If You Like Leftovers

Raise Your Hand If You Like Leftovers

For the really big gifts, ask for the residue. The $100,000 was appreciated. But the 8.2 million went elsewhere.

Read MoreOctober 16, 2016

Better Than Average

Better Than Average

Do you wish to be better than average in your career and in your life? If you do, then you need to behave in a better than average fashion. It's an obvious statement, but an endless number of people belie this sound reasoning.

Read MoreOctober 16, 2016

Does Your Career Need An Energy Shot? Consider Planned Giving

Does Your Career Need An Energy Shot? Consider Planned Giving

Two informal surveys we conducted indicate that those who even dabble in planned giving do significantly better in their careers than those who do not.

Read MoreAugust 14, 2016

Email vs. U.S. Mail

Email vs. U.S. Mail

Trying to save money by using eMarketing? Think again. According to the 2015 Response Rate Report by Direct Marketing Association (who also does eMarketing), direct mail outperforms all digital channels in a big way. The response rate for direct mail was 600% higher than that all of the digital channels combined. This number is too big […]

Read MoreAugust 14, 2016

3 Time Management Lessons from Mr. Brown

People are the best time investment you can make. The most common goal of executives who hire me for time management coaching is to free up time to invest in their teams and to spend with their families. Intuitively, they know that time spent with people forms crucial bonds, enables personal development and reduces fire drills. Yet, daily urgencies […]

Read MoreAugust 14, 2016

Married Couples and Gift Annuities

Q: When a husband and wife fund a gift annuity, is it always joint and survivor? 

Read MoreJune 24, 2016

Don’t Assume Your Donor Knows Details of His Gift

Don’t Assume Your Donor Knows Details of His Gift

Donors often do not know the exact structure or details of their own planning, charitable or otherwise. They depend on their advisors. This is one reason it is so important to partner with advisors when working with donors.

Read MoreJune 10, 2016

Donors as Prospects for Large Major Gifts

Question In your Strange Myths section in Giving Tomorrow Magazine, the statement is made that “Most planned giving donors are not prospects for large major gifts.” Did the word “not” creep in there by mistake? Answer This is a really good question and common misperception. Over the last several years there have been a number […]

Read MoreMay 6, 2016

Why Getting In The Will Today Matters

Why Getting In The Will Today Matters

Long-term study shows multiple benefits for charities to get in the estate plan sooner. We all know charitable estate giving is a big deal. In comparison, despite all of the media attention and conversation generated by corporate giving, annual estate giving has always been much larger. (In some years, charitable estate gifts are more than […]

Read MoreApril 15, 2016

Message from CEO

First, a Thank You For those of you who are reading this and are clients of mine, I truly thank you for your business. When I started in 1998, I did it with the goal to make planned giving accessible to your average prospect. At the time, planned giving was so bogged down with legalese and […]

Read MoreApril 11, 2016

Is It Okay To Use A Bequest For Operating Expenses?

  Question My nonprofit organization currently uses all bequest proceeds for operating expenses. The family of recently deceased donor has questioned this and wants us to designate the funds for endowment. What should we do? Answer Remember that the only funds that serve as true endowment are those that are restricted by the donor. Since […]

Read MoreApril 8, 2016

The 1% Challenge

The 1% Challenge

I wonder if anyone’s ever done a study to see when gyms are more crowded—in January (post new year’s resolution season) or in the spring (pre swimsuit season). I’d put my money on January.

Read MoreApril 1, 2016

What Are You Thankful For?

Our clients are some of the most successful, creative people in the planned giving community. We asked them what they’re grateful for, and here’s what they said. (Feel free to steal their ideas at your family feast on Thanksgiving.)

Read MoreNovember 24, 2015

What a Planned Giving Professional Can Learn from a Realtor

By Two Cent Steve, Planned Giving Director at one of PlannedGiving.com’s university clients Two hundred and fifty three brave souls signed on for a recent webinar with Viken Mikaelian and Tom Ahern. That’s two out-of-the-box thinkers with a habit of saying it like it is … bound to get interesting.

Read MoreJuly 30, 2015

Should Your Planned Giving Postcards Have A Reply Mechanism?

Clients and friends often ask if including a reply mechanism on their planned giving postcards is worth the added expense. It depends on the circumstances, but generally, I do not feel it’s worth it. As we all know, planned giving is a low-response business. So even with the most successful direct mail programs, we see […]

Read MoreJune 30, 2015

Why Jews Give

Two Hebrew phrases help explain why Jewish giving is so high. Two women pass a beggar on the street. Both women have the exact same income and expenses. The first weeps at the suffering of the beggar and gives him $5 out of the goodness of her heart. The second notices but rushes past. Later […]

Read MoreMay 5, 2015

The Sexiest Seven Words in Fundraising

Once upon a time in a market far, far away, I worked at FORTUNE Magazine. In retrospect, selling advertising in FORTUNE had a lot of similarities to fundraising. It was a great magazine with a specific editorial mission that competed for dollars with a lot of other fine magazines and newspapers. During my time there, […]

Read MoreApril 15, 2015

Your New Job Title: Philanthropy Coach

Donors typically support ten charities a year, with most of their giving focused on about four. Now I’ve never had the good fortune to work for somebody’s “favorite” charity. I really couldn’t afford to have that scarcity mentality, where a fundraiser thinks that the entire donor’s giving just has to go to their organization. I […]

Read MoreApril 13, 2015

Planned Giving vs. Gift Planning

Planned Giving vs. Gift Planning

It’s a decades-old dispute over which term, “Planned Giving” or “Gift Planning,” gives you the edge when reaching out to your prospects.

Read MoreApril 1, 2015

Asking Your Prospects for Their Email Addresses

Should you ask visitors to your website to provide their email? The answer depends on what you’re offering in exchange. I was perusing a nonprofit’s planned giving website and came across an option to download an eBrochure. “Great!” I thought. “Time to do some homework on the competition.”* I clicked the link, and was immediately […]

Read MoreMarch 10, 2015

The Mind Hates Confusion

Did you know that the average American in a major city is bombarded with over 3000 messages a day? Each day the Web grows by millions of pages. Wherever you travel, satellites are beaming endless messages a minute to every corner of the globe. We see rotating billboards on expressways, take calls from telemarketers, and […]

Read MoreFebruary 6, 2015

Edgy Marketing vs. Vanilla Marketing

You can play it vanilla, or you can be heard. What will you choose? Edgy planned giving marketing gets results.

Read MoreAugust 25, 2014

Are you a Binge Marketer?

The classic cry of the binge marketer is “Oops… business is slow. I guess I’d better do some marketing and send out a mailing.” If you find yourself in the middle of a quiet spell, thinking that a few actions, a couple of phone calls and a mailing here and there will get things moving […]

Read MoreAugust 15, 2014

Who’s Your Tom Bond?

You’d never guess by looking at Thomas Chandler Cruikshank Bond, III, that he battled drug addiction for two decades, that he was jailed half a dozen times, or that he spent four years living in abandoned houses in East Baltimore. In fact, even if you had met him during most of those dark years, you […]

Read MoreJuly 23, 2014

Google Uses Direct Mail Like Crazy

Google Uses Direct Mail Like Crazy

  So it’s settled. Direct mail is a good idea. My husband and I run a small business. A very small business. So I was a little surprised to find out that we’re on Google’s mailing list. I’d understand if they sent me an email, or maybe a personalized video pop-up on YouTube. But no … […]

Read MoreApril 17, 2014

Gifts of Appreciated Stuff Are Much Appreciated

  Don’t Keep Them Bottled Up! Some of you who never read Forbes Magazine might think it’s just a stuffy business periodical, but how stuffy can a magazine really be when it runs an article celebrating “investment-grade” Scotch whiskey, as Forbes recently did? Sounds whimsical, but it’s for real. And with dollar values per fifth […]

Read MoreJanuary 24, 2013

Year-End Giving 2012

  With the presidential election behind us and the status quo retained, what does this mean for charitable giving as we approach year-end? Over the last three months, this was the number one question on people’s minds – “What happens if after the election, we have the same parties in control of the House, Senate […]

Read MoreNovember 8, 2012

Comfort Zone Treadmill

Are You Sure You’re Ready to Excel? If you continue to do things in the same manner you have always done them, your results are not going to change. Continuing to do things the same old way basically puts you on a treadmill where continuous, ineffective effort and lackluster results flow in a endless loop. […]

Read MoreNovember 4, 2012

“Inoffensive” is the Wrong Star to Wish On

“Inoffensive” is the Wrong Star to Wish On

"The appeal letter has had a huge impact! We are starting to get in responses to the appeal ­— some very positive ... and some very angry. We can't do this again.”

Read MoreNovember 2, 2012

SEX. Would you do it to get the gift?

If you’re sitting on a bar stool in a big city hotel, stirring your Mojito, you might expect the person next to you to strike up a conversation. If the repartee is entertaining, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the person next to you extended an offer to move the party to a room […]

Read MoreNovember 1, 2012

There Is Money Out There

There Is Money Out There

But did you hear about the doggy hotel your nonprofit is competing with? $175 per night. Your pooch can enjoy a poolside room with a view ($50 extra), an evening backrub ($25 extra), and even a bedtime story ($20 extra).

Read MoreSeptember 27, 2012

Nonprofits Are Not Special

Nonprofits Are Not Special

That’s right. Being a charity doesn’t magically change business, economic, or marketing realities. So think like a business. Not like a nonprofit. Because the biggest problem among nonprofits is the “non.” There are quite a few people in the nonprofit world who do not want to hear this. In fact, our least popular webinar has […]

Read MoreSeptember 26, 2012

The Cocktail Party Test: Is Your Enthusiasm Contagious?

The Cocktail Party Test: Is Your Enthusiasm Contagious?

Fundraisers can make “civilians” a little nervous when they’re around. What comments do you get when you tell folks what you do? “Ugh, I could never ask strangers for money!” “Well, I hope you didn’t bring your begging bowl with you tonight – this is a friendly party.”

Read MoreSeptember 24, 2012

Are Fundraisers Missing Out on Gifts of Real Estate?

Ignoring gifts of real estate? You are definitely missing out.

Read MoreSeptember 17, 2012

Should Planned Giving be Denied Access to Annual Giving Donors?

We were recently asked: Is there any “benchmark,” or industry standard regarding the mechanics of “handing off” a loyal direct mail donor to the Planned Giving Department? Without airing too much “dirty laundry,” our in-house Direct Marketing Department refuses to give the Planned Giving Department access to the donor database out of fear that planned […]

Read MoreSeptember 15, 2012

Myths (& Facts) on Planned Giving

Myths (& Facts) on Planned Giving

Get your board on board and let them see the value of planned giving with these Myths and Facts. You can also purchase the expanded professional version of this post in PowerPoint. Perfect for your next board meeting or legacy society event. You can also evaluate your board’s readiness here. Engaging a board is critical […]

Read MoreSeptember 15, 2012

Are You Irresistible?

Are You Irresistible?

Sales and marketing are different things. Sales, or stewardship, is direct contact, and the point is to make a sale. Marketing is more about building awareness of your brand, your mission and your vision. Though it creates bonds in less personal ways than sales, marketing enables you to cast a wider net and create a sales funnel that directs revenue your way.

Read MoreJune 23, 2012

Making Mid-Level Prospects into Major Givers With “Legacy Life Giving”

  Tom Ligare and his colleagues at Planned Giving Marketing Solutions, LLC are promoting a gift type that helps build long-term endowment by making it easier for mid-level donors to engage in major giving. We decided to find out more about it…

Read MoreApril 26, 2012

Ever Heard a Kamikaze Success Story?

I don’t think so. If you think “having no limits” is part of your job description, think again. Everybody has limits. Even fundraisers.

Read MoreMarch 6, 2012

Gone Without Trace: Man Bequeaths $2 Million to Uncle Sam

I don’t think any of us would be in this business if we didn’t believe that philanthropy, giving, the act of charity – no matter how humble – ennobles everything it touches. But I don’t know whether to laugh or cry just now, because I learned recently that a man in Florida willed his house […]

Read MoreDecember 13, 2011

“Monkey See, Monkey Do” Fundraising:

E-Marketing Is Not the Answer If you really think you can run a planned giving program on autopilot with outsourced help that supplies electronic tools online such as tax reference libraries for prospects and financial advisors, articles on gift laws, automated email blasts, complicated calculators, etc., this article is for you. One of the scariest […]

Read MoreNovember 4, 2011

Headless Fundraising: Where is the Leadership?

I was invited to speak at a national charity conference with over 800 attendees. I know some of them were Directors of Operations and Chief Executive Officers. So where the heck were they hiding? The conference featured something for everyone, topic-wise — from operations and finances to strategies and fundraising philosophy, they had it covered. […]

Read MoreNovember 3, 2011

You Can’t Take it With You – Even if You’re Buried with It

There are all kinds of planned gifts — including those that allow you to leave personal property to a nonprofit. 

Read MoreSeptember 27, 2011

“Planned Giving” vs. “Gift Planning”

Our clients, friends and prospects often ask which term is better to use for their marketing efforts, “Planned Giving” or “Gift Planning”. This is a decades-old dispute and I am getting tired of it. So I decided to write this blog to end the argument. If anyone is ready to spar, sharpen your blade (well, […]

Read MoreJuly 9, 2011

Transparency Is Its Own Reward

“Transparency” is just a trendy term for “operational openness.” Openness can work in a nonprofit’s favor. It allows donors and prospects to see that your organization is being run responsibly. It assures them that the money it raises is being used to further its mission. But a charity that tries to keep too many secrets […]

Read MoreMarch 29, 2011

No Short Cut to Planned Giving Ethics

The idea of ethics, as an active, engaging, and permeating part of what we do, falls well short of where it needs to be in our daily routine.

Read MoreMarch 15, 2011

To Junk Mail, or Not to Junk Mail…Is That the Question?

Listen: there’s a grassroots rebellion against direct mail marketing. For example, CatalogChoice.Org, a nonprofit “do not send” registry for consumers and companies who want to stem the flood of unwanted catalogs and other junk mail they receive, has served more than a million individuals and businesses since its founding in 2007. And while — at […]

Read MoreFebruary 15, 2011

Prevent Fundraising Blackouts by Saving Donor Energy

The more you stress your prospect, the more demands you make upon them, the more likely they are bail on you. Here are some tips on how to keep ‘em sweet.

Read MoreDecember 1, 2010

Mr. Cameron Has Something to Tell You

William John Cameron (1879-1953) really lived the kind of life you would expect in an adventure novel or a Hollywood movie. We want to establish that to begin with, to counter any idea that he’s famous just for coming up with colorful aphorisms. The son of Manitoba pioneers, “W.J.” Cameron was one of 13 children […]

Read MoreNovember 24, 2010

Personalizing the Grey Flannel Suit — Part II: Seeing, Hearing, and Building Familiarity

Personalization is the key to attracting prospects, optimizing donor relationships, and maximizing the donations that result from them.

Read MoreNovember 17, 2010

Shouting at Nobody Are You Wasting Your Best Stuff on the Peanut Gallery?

A beautiful sunny autumn day in Southeastern Pennsylvania and the local strip mall was crowded with shoppers enjoying themselves… All except one.

Read MoreNovember 15, 2010

Personalizing the Grey Flannel Suit – Part I: Biographies Tell Who You Are

Donors don’t leave legacies to grey flannel suits. Donors want to see the face of the person wearing the suit — which is why fundraisers need well-written biographies.  

Read MoreNovember 10, 2010

Who Asks Who? Trends in Data Sourcing

From a fundraiser’s point of view, or course, a perfect world would include all prospects coming directly to the fundraiser or her organization for advice on giving. But numbers indicate fewer potential donors are seeking advice from NPOs and their personnel. They are turning instead to legal and financial professionals.

Read MoreOctober 22, 2010

How to Get More Done in a Day

It’s well-known that I value productivity. In fact, I’m a little obsessed with it. So much so, that I’m frequently asked, “Viken, how do you get so much done in a day?” (Sometimes, when I look back over the things I was able to accomplish, it’s a question I even ask myself.) But the truth […]

Read MoreSeptember 30, 2010

Parable: A River of Giving

A friend once relayed an interesting anecdote about simple, effective messaging that just so happens to be a perfect teaching moment for those of us in the fundraising world. It seems she was helping out an elderly couple who live down the hall of her apartment complex. The wife had a health problem that had […]

Read MoreSeptember 28, 2010

“Entry-Level Organizations”: Wave of the Past?

Recently I read online somewhere the following: [A nonprofit] is seeking a planned giving advisor. This is a junior position for a fundraiser with 3 or so years of experience who wishes to move into planned giving. Focus is on bequests, CGAs, and marketing.

Read MoreSeptember 23, 2010

Why Donor-Centered Marketing? Because talking to yourself is not an option.

Many years ago, for my sins, I did time on the editorial staff of a major urban “alternative newsweekly.” During that time I overdosed daily on badly conceived and written press releases. They were all hardcopy and they arrived via snail mail – that was the only game in town circa 1989. Every day I […]

Read MoreSeptember 20, 2010

Experience Proves: You Never Know

I was lying on the beach with my wife a few years back when a client buzzed through my cellphone, declaring in a sorrowful voice, “I’m going to have to apologize to all of them. In fact, I am writing the apology letter now.”

Read MoreSeptember 16, 2010

`Worse Than No Blog At All? Bad Blogs Prove “Something for Nothing” Never Happens

You’ll find it up there at the top of the list of disillusioning truths: “There ain’t no free lunch.” It’s true in fundraising, of course; but it can be obscured by the endless parade of miraculous “next big things” that tend to put our common sense out of focus. For example, the seemingly limitless marketing […]

Read MoreSeptember 14, 2010

Website Messaging That Works: The Library Sells Its Sizzle

There’s something graceful about smart marketing messaging. Maybe that’s why it works. And fundraisers competing for charitable dollars need every advantage they can get in engaging and persuading prospects.

Read MoreSeptember 9, 2010

Planned Giving: Simple Stuff or Just for Harvard Lawyers?

How do you view planned giving? Is it simple, or complicated? One of the biggest misunderstandings I see in the non-profit world is the mistaken belief that planned giving is complex and mysterious.

Read MoreSeptember 2, 2010

Every Dollar Looks Big to a Nonprofit

More than 40 years ago, comedian Steve Martin did an inflation routine that featured the line, “Gee, I got four dollars; I think I’ll throw it out into the street.” This came during the time of gas strikes and a recession in the 1970s, when many folks felt like their dollars weren’t going very far. […]

Read MoreAugust 16, 2010

Johnny Carson’s Philanthropy Is a Class Act

Johnny has done something more: He has contributed over $156 million dollars from his estate to a variety of charitable groups.

Read MoreAugust 10, 2010

Say Thank-You Right… And You’ll be Saying It More Often

“I don’t need to be recognized,” the donor commented, “but a sense of individual appreciation such as a personal thank-you goes a long way.”

Read MoreAugust 9, 2010

New Survey Terms iPad Owners “Selfish Elites”

  Is Altruism an Endangered Attribute? What if the “I” in “iPad” turned out to be Gordon “Greed is good” Gekko from the movie WALL STREET? While we don’t know if Gordon really has an iPad, we’re sure he’s out there, at least in spirit, because results from a recent survey of iPad owners by […]

Read MoreAugust 5, 2010

“We’re Not Sending a Year End Appeal This Year.”

The economy in 2008 was challenging. But what’s scarier than your 401k statement? Writing a year-end appeal to your donors and supporters in this economic climate, that’s what. Some of my non profit friends are telling me that they’re not putting a year-end letter in this year’s budget. They know donors are experiencing a cash […]

Read MoreNovember 15, 2009

Cutting Back on Marketing?

Do you cut back on food when times are tough? If that were the case, everyone would be slim and trim right about now. Marketing is the meat and potatoes (sorry, bad pun) of any fundraising operation, and cutting back, especially in a tight economy, is a recipe (sorry again) for problems down the road.

Read MoreNovember 12, 2009

Recognize Your Donors in Print

Recognize Your Donors in Print

We recently heard of a non profit mailing out its annual report with a notice inside that read “In an effort to keep our costs low and use our resources to provide more food, we have reduced the size of our Annual Report. Please go to our website for a list of donors, volunteers and community partners.”

Read MoreNovember 5, 2009

Practice Thinking Like Your Prospect

Practice thinking like your prospect. Who are they? What do they care about? What are their hopes, fears, dreams? What are their deepest desires?

Read MoreNovember 2, 2009

Your Enemy is an Overstuffed Mailbox

Have you ever wondered why your planned giving newsletters are not getting a good response? Because chances are they are not even getting read.

Read MoreOctober 27, 2009

There’s No Secret. It’s Common Sense Planned Giving

“People commonly use statistics like a drunk uses a lamp post; for support rather than illumination.” (Mark Twain)

Read MoreOctober 24, 2009

Age-Based Marketing: Rest in Peace

After a long and fruitful life, Age-Based Marketing is dead. Cause of death? The New Economy, youthful Baby Boomers and just plain old age. Once upon a time, Americans marched a predictable path: From high school to college to career to marriage to family to retirement and then the golf course in Florida. That’s all […]

Read MoreMarch 24, 2009

All Annuitants Are Women and They Lie About Their Age

All Annuitants Are Women and They Lie About Their Age

With the recent plunge in the value of investment portfolios, some chief financial officers and development professionals are wondering whether they should remain “in the business” of offering gift annuities to their donors.

Read MoreFebruary 28, 2009

It’s Now Or Never: A Seven Point Planned Giving Action Plan

It’s Now Or Never: A Seven Point Planned Giving Action Plan

Many development officers are wondering where to focus their efforts during these uncertain times. Whether times are good or bad, the answer may surprise you: It's planned giving.

Read MoreJanuary 31, 2009

Treat Your Prospects Like Donors, and Your Donors Like Friends

Treat Your Prospects Like Donors, and Your Donors Like Friends

People give when they are ready to give, not when you are ready to sell (i.e., "ask"). So, just because your lead is not ready to buy (donate) today, doesn't mean they aren't important. That's why we develop relationships.

Read MoreNovember 20, 2008

Get the Year End Going

Get the Year End Going

Helping your donors meet the December 31 tax deadline means that you can plan on staying longer and doing more than just about everyone else — except for your office’s gifts processor.  So plan a nice rest in January (Isn’t there a planned giving conference in the Caribbean, then? There should be...) and get ready for the year-end sprint.

Read MoreNovember 19, 2008

Why Most Planned Giving Marketing Fails

Why Most Planned Giving Marketing Fails

“Response rates from newsletters are down! Attendance at my annual seminar is way off...” fundraisers tell us.

Read MoreOctober 12, 2008

Find Your Audience, Then Find Your Money

Find Your Audience, Then Find Your Money

It’s my experience that your audience is the single most powerful and most important element in the mix. If your marketing campaign is to get results, whether you use direct mail, print pieces, or e-mail, you must first make certain that the right audience is getting your message.  As I see it, finding the right audience determines 60 percent of the outcome.

Read MoreJune 28, 2008

You Can’t Guess Direct Mail Response Rates

You Can’t Guess Direct Mail Response Rates

In planned giving marketing, it's virtually impossible to guess direct mail response rates unless you've had a control group you've been experimenting with for years.

Read MoreApril 22, 2008

How To Make Donors and Prospects Tune Out Without Trying

How To Make Donors and Prospects Tune Out Without Trying

With improper messaging you'll become an unwelcome pest instead of a welcome guest in your donors' mind.

Read MoreFebruary 20, 2008

Bourbon, Ethics, Fundraising

Bourbon, Ethics, Fundraising

Your organization helps teenagers with substance abuse. One of your board members announces he’s received a large inheritance from his grandfather and is going to donate $250,000 in his grandfather’s name. The local paper discovers granddad made his money from the sale and distribution of alcohol.

Read MoreNovember 22, 2007

Spam to Promote Planned Giving?

Spam to Promote Planned Giving?

Using spam for planned giving marketing? Think again.

Read MoreOctober 28, 2007

Who’s Visiting Your Planned Giving Website?

Who’s Visiting Your Planned Giving Website?

Measuring website metrics (stats) is not an easy task. It's also a science the very few can do. Unless you have someone who specializes in metrics, you are not going to get reliable data. This post explains why and how.

Read MoreSeptember 11, 2007

Law and Planned Giving

Law and Planned Giving

  You Don’t Need to be a Lawyer to Succeed in Planned Giving Most of us in planned giving started out doing something else. We were volunteers, annual giving officers, ministers, financial planners, insurance brokers, teachers. And some of us (including one of the authors) were — yes — lawyers. Initially, we faced an unintelligible […]

Read MoreJuly 18, 2007

Should I Develop People Skills, or Technical Skills?

Should I Develop People Skills, or Technical Skills?

Did you know that most companies base 80% of their hiring decision on technical skills, yet 85% of turnover is due to behavioral incompatibility?

Read MoreJune 26, 2007

Why are planned giving newsletters getting less response?

Why are planned giving newsletters getting less response?

Marketing noise: every day the average prospect is inundated with over 3000 marketing messages. In a large city, it’s over 5000. A battle is being fought for the eyes and ears of the world, and in most cases the enemy is an overstuffed mailbox.

Read MoreMay 25, 2007

Planned Giving Mass Emails (or Spam?)

Planned Giving Mass Emails (or Spam?)

Some vendors advocate sending out "weekly generic emails" to prospects and financial advisers. "Stay in their face," they say..

Read MoreMay 16, 2007

Counting Your Website Hits? The Real Scoop.

Counting Your Website Hits? The Real Scoop.

Most in philanthropy are not that tech-savvy. And if one does not understand the basics, it's much too easy to go down a misguided path by taking advice from someone not as much interested in his or her institution's long-term interest.

Read MoreMay 16, 2007

Online Will Planners

We recently interviewed Jordan Cassidy,  Co-founder & Head of Business Development of LifeLegacy, about nonprofits using online will planners for their constituency. Here’s what he had to say. Q: Is a will really an effective way to get planned gifts? A: A bequest giving tool like our free online will is great for engaging everyday […]

Read MoreJanuary 1, 1970

Use It Or Lose It: Charities that Limit Giving Options Limit Donations

A few weeks ago, I was approached by a charity with a donor who, at the end of 2021, had just retired from farming.  That means he has a harvested grain crop in the bin, which has yet to be sold to produce taxable income. But because he is no longer farming, he will not […]

Read MoreJanuary 1, 1970

It’s Easy To Find Success — You Just Have To Know Where To Look

By Dennis Haber It seems to be one of those fundamental laws: If there’s air travel involved, there’s a good chance you and your luggage will go your separate ways. So, I wondered, If you go to a lost and found when your luggage is lost, where do you go when YOU’RE lost? When your […]

Read MoreJanuary 1, 1970