Marketing Planned Gifts to Women | npENGAGE

Marketing Planned Gifts to Women

By on Jul 20, 2010


It’s estimated that women donors do now or in the near future, will control between two-thirds and three-quarters of all planned giving assets. According to a national study, a majority of charitable bequests and charitable gift annuity donors are women and slightly less than half of all charitable trust donors are women.

With the average planned gift ranging somewhere between $35,000 and $70,000 in the U.S., and around $30,000 in Canada, you can’t afford to overlook the power of legacy giving by women.

To understand the types of legacy gifts that would appeal to your organization’s women supporters, gather a group of female constituents to assess their willingness to consider making a planned gift to your organization. Over 90% of all planned gifts in the U.S. and 95% in Canada, fall within this area. Bequests are easy to create and easy to understand. Wills are among the first estate plans that most people create.  So, ask your donors if they would consider making a bequest or trust gift to your organization?  If their response is positive, make this predominate planned gift vehicle the basis of your marketing program and grow gradually from there.

Further, describe charitable gift annuities and other life income gifts to your target group and see if these methods also appeal to them.  Also inquire about gifts of stock and real estate, gifts from a retirement account or life insurance policy. If their response is overwhelming positive to one or more of these gift vehicles, test the marketing of these gift types for 18 months to 3 years. If you find that their enthusiasm at your suggestions exceeded the reality of making these gift arrangements, consider dropping or re-examining your promotion.

Fiscal conservatism and anonymity of completed planned gifts is not uncommon among women, and you may find this is true of your test group. If so, limit your promotion of planned giving products to those that reflect women’s need for stable, long-term income in addition to the promotion of bequest gifts. Consider marketing:

  • Charitable gift annuities both immediate and deferred;
  • An annual series of gift annuities to reach a specific total giving amount;
  • Perhaps, charitable remainder annuity trusts.

Finally, find out from these women in what manner they would like to celebrate their own gifts and find out about the gifts of others. Typically, women like to be part of a group and they do not want to be seen as giving more than their peers. Women often seek to be less public about their donations than men and traditional donor stories, media announcements and public recognition are not always desired (but will be accepted if offered).

The answers to these questions will guide you in your communications, gift solicitations and recognition/stewardship efforts with your women prospects.


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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