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.

Much of the data in the table below comes from Kevin Johnson’s The Power of Legacy and Planned Gifts (2010, John Wiley & Sons). It shows to whom donors went for advice in 2006 and 2008. The far right column shows the net change over that time period.

Source of Information 2006 2008 Net Change
Fundraisers/nonprofit staff 40.2% 26.0% -14.2%
Peers or peer networks 35.9% 16.1% -19.8%
Accountant 26.6% 44.3% +17.7%
Financial/wealth advisor 16.6% 27.8% +11.2%
Attorney 16.4% 44.9% +28.5%
Foundation staff 15.1% 14.8% -.3%
Bank or trust company staff 8.7% 16.5% +7.8%
Broker 7.1% 9.9% +2.8%

Now numbers like these can excite all kinds of interpretation, but let’s be conservative and look only at the most general trend: the drop in the numbers of people seeking advice from fundraisers, NPOs, and peers, and a corresponding jump in those going to accountants, attorneys, and professional financial advisors.

These numbers should remind us of the importance of relationship-building with prospects.

While the professional advisors offer donors an advantage in technical areas, we fundraisers possess the unique advantage of a mission which has special meaning to the prospect. In addition, we offer special knowledge of how to ensure the donor’s charitable wishes are carried out exactly as they wish.

That’s how you guarantee yourself a seat at the table when gifts are discussed: Relationship building, selling the mission, and the unique ability to fulfill the donor’s wishes.


The numbers in the table above are derived from two studies from Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy:

  • Bank of America Study of High Net-Worth Philanthropy: Initial Report, 2006
  • The 2008 Study of High Net-Worth Philanthropy: Issues Dividing Charitable Activities Among Affluent Households, 2008

Categories: Planned Giving Marketing, Relationships

Share This Article

Legacy Planner Logo

Making Estate Planning Accessible, Simple, Personal, Secure and FREE!

Empower your donors to plan their will and invest their legacy in the cause they support the most.

[Webinar Recording]

Online Estate Planners: An Interview With Viken Mikaelian

Are you curious about the proliferation of online will makers? Wondering if utilizing one is the right move? Find out what PlannedGiving.Com CEO Viken Mikaelian thinks in a straight-talk Q&A. He answers questions about their sudden popularity (they’ve been around for more than 20 years, after all), whether nonprofits should offer them at all or just advise donors to visit an attorney, and more.

We're the Authority on Planned Giving Marketing:
  • Planned Giving Websites
  • Planned Giving Direct Mail
  • Surveys
  • Brochures
  • Planned Giving in a Box
  • Electronic Marketing
  • Advisor Content

Leave a Reply

Reach out! We look forward to hearing from you soon.


We value your privacy and keep your
information private. We do not spam.