I recently vowed that I was going to stop telling stories with my blog posts, but, since my job affords me extensive opportunities to interact with organizations across the country, it seems logical to share insightful tips and suggestions.  So thank you in advance for your indulgence.  You might find this one intriguing!

In talking with a health care development officer about her organization’s various annual giving efforts, she lamented that their staff campaign had stalled in recent years.  She explained how many of their employees were younger and low-paid, or, increasingly, older and certainly not well-paid.  In describing the second group, she indicated that giving had “plateau-ed”, adding that many of these folks were dedicated long term employees who had been loyal, but small, donors.

She stopped short and looked at me. Nearly simultaneously we both smiled and exclaimed, “Planned Giving!”  We realized, as she was characterizing this group, that these devoted employees were perfect planned giving prospects. Yet, within the structure of their current employee giving program, this wasn’t presented as an opportunity.  She rushed to explain that one of their long term employees actually had notified her of the individual’s bequest intentions, but she had never considered the possibility of including this as a giving opportunity for their staff campaign.  To tell you the truth, neither had I.

It’s an interesting proposition to say the least.  I’ve informally polled a few colleagues about whether they have ever organized or been asked to participate in a staff Planned Giving campaign or encouraged to make a Planned Gift as part of the staff appeal.  Without exception, the response has been no.  I have heard a few anecdotes from colleges and universities that they have had alumni who are employees make planned gifts, but never that it was an option within a staff campaign.

It definitely got me thinking.  It makes a lot of sense in many ways.  We encourage other loyal donors to explore the potential of a bequest or other deferred gift, so why aren’t we routinely doing the same with employees?  Many of these individuals would clearly “match the model” of prospects we actively cultivate for these gifts.  Consider the possibility that all of us might just be missing a golden opportunity.

Does your organization invite employees to participate in the staff campaign via a Planned Gift?  If so, I would love to hear from you. Post a comment to this blog or email me at laura.worcester@blackbaud.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Worcester, senior consultant at Target Analytics, joined Blackbaud in 2001.In her current role she advises nonprofits on utilizing screening results in identifying and evaluating best donor prospects. In 25+ years of fundraising experience, Laura has served as the chief advancement officer for numerous organizations and managed her own consulting business, providing grant writing services to arts, educational and health care organizations. She’s presented at development conferences and has been a regular contributor to Blackbaud’s blogs with selected posts being reprinted in journals such the NonProfit Times. A traveler since her study abroad days in Denmark, Laura’s committed to passing this enthusiasm on to her teenage daughters. Her family’s travel adventures were just featured in a neighborhood magazine in her suburban Milwaukee community. Contact Laura by email.

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