10 Guiding Principles for Any Ask PART III | npENGAGE

10 Guiding Principles for Any Ask PART III

By on Nov 23, 2010


I’ve been sharing Laura Fredrick’s “The 10 Guiding Principles for Any Ask,” and have prompted you to consider them in your own fundraising efforts.  Laura’s principle for planned gift solicitations is an important one:   Any organization’s planned giving program must be coordinated with all other fundraising programs.

Was your first response to her statement an enthusiastic “Of course it must!”  Or, did you instead, ask yourself “Why?”

A planned gift, while sometimes considered confusing, is nothing more than a gift – a person’s last gift.  Most likely, it is the most thoughtful gift given and it has the potential to be the largest gift most donors will ever make.  As development professionals, we should see the progression from entry gift to loyal gifts, to larger gifts, to final gifts as a natural series of events.  When we do this, the promotion of planned gifts falls into place.

Planned gift marketing and cultivation messages easily follow cultivation for current gifts, campaign gifts and special project gifts.  When we coordinate planned giving messages with our other fundraising programs, we are extending our invitation to donors to be a part of the organization in perpetuity.  Isn’t that what we really want?

Take a few minutes to answer these questions and review your fundraising program messages:

  • Are you focused on fundraising one-year-at-a-time?
  • Does your fundraising plan also promote planned (or legacy) gifts?  If not, is it because you think you don’t know enough about planned gifts?
  • Did you know that 90% to 95% of all planned gifts are a gift of cash in someone’s will or trust?
  • Would you be more willing to promote planned gifts if you had some marketing examples to follow?

If you think you’re ready to make planned gift promotion a part of your fundraising program take a look at the marketing examples located at www.leavealegacy.org and read the Blackbaud white paper “How the Right Marketing Strategies Can Enhance Your Planned Giving Program” and you’ll be ready to take action.


Katherine Swank, JD, senior consultant at Target Analytics, a Blackbaud Company, helps nonprofits apply statistical analytics and donor research to their fundraising efforts with an emphasis on planned gifts. She has raised nearly $250 million for mission funding during her nonprofit development career. Katherine is a retired affiliate faculty member of Regis University’s master of Global Nonprofit Management degree program, where she taught courses on wealth and philanthropy.  Along with writing for publications like Advancing Philanthropy and Philanthropy Journal, she is also a frequent presenter for industry conferences such as NACGP, AFP, APRA, and bbcon. Having grown up in a tourist destination in Colorado, Katherine has become an avid world traveler and is exploring her way through the 1,000 places to see before you die, albeit slowly.  Connect with her on Twitter @KatherineSwank.

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