Planned giving is not about death and taxes

Encouraging donors to make planned gifts is a high-stakes, super-important part of your job as a fundraiser. A vanishingly small number of your donors are going to take you up on it, and in most cases you won’t see a dollar for many years — but those donors are critical to your success.

Are you “selling” planned giving right?

MarketSmart thinks you might not be: Your planned giving offers need to change.

The main point: It can’t only be about death and taxes.

It’s easy to get caught up in the complexity of planned giving vehicles, and spend all your time explaining them.

That’s not what motivates donors to say yes!

Here are some of the topics that actually get donors thinking about planned giving:

  • the meaning of life
  • how to deal with their digital inheritance (choosing digital heirs)
  • how to pass on their legacy (ethics, morals, lessons learned, etc.)
  • how to have a catharsis while thinking about lessons learned
  • how to tell your story (memoirs, autobiography)

    In other words, you need to talk less about the features of planned giving and more about the benefits. Like any other kind of successful marketing or fundraising.


  • Comments

    6 responses to “Planned giving is not about death and taxes”

    1. It’s also about the vision of the organization and the signatory: legacy prospects want to be able to hitch their eternal wagon to a star they trust and believe in… a star that shares their values.

    2. It’s also about the vision of the organization and the signatory: legacy prospects want to be able to hitch their eternal wagon to a star they trust and believe in… a star that shares their values.

    3. Thanks for sharing my blog post Jeff. Much appreciated!

    4. Thanks for sharing my blog post Jeff. Much appreciated!

    5. P.S.- Your new book is fantastic. Everyone should buy at least two copies!

    6. P.S.- Your new book is fantastic. Everyone should buy at least two copies!

    Leave a Reply

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    The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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    Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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    The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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    About the blogger

    Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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