6 ways to start a planned giving conversation

by | Dec 10, 2020 | Charitable Gifts, Planned Giving

How do you start a planned giving conversation with a longtime donor?

As fundraisers, we work hard to improve our relationships with donors. With a donor that has a history of giving to our organization over several years, we may want to start a planned giving conversation about types of gifts that our donors may not have considered.

What questions should you ask a donor?

First, you need to understand that donor and their interests and passions that relate to your organization. Which elements of your programs or services does the donor feel most passionate about? Do they support your children’s backpack feeding program, or your community food distribution? How did they first become involved in your organization? Was there a particular person that introduced them to you? What is it about your work that excites them most? Where do they feel their gifts can have the greatest impact on the community?

Once you’ve learned more about that donor, here are 6 questions to probe for donor interests and intent:

  1. What aspect of our work do you find most impactful or interesting?
  2. Have you considered making gifts with assets other than cash?
  3. Do you use charitable giving tools like a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) or a private foundation? How does that work for you?
  4. Many longtime donors to (our charity) have chosen to include us in their estate plans. Would you be willing to consider placing us in your plans?
  5. Are you aware of the advantages of giving appreciated assets like stock or real estate?
  6. Are you familiar with the advantages of naming (our charity) as the beneficiary of your IRA or other retirement plan assets?

Be patient

Most planned gifts happen over the course of months or years, with a donor that has supported your organization for five to ten years or more. You will probably have a series of interactions and purposeful conversations that lead to a planned gift, rather than one conversation. Continue building the relationship over time, and strive to serve your donor well by focusing on her interests, passions, and ways to make a last impact on the community. Have a genuine curiosity about your donor and work to learn more about her over time.