Enter Now to Win a Free Planned-Giving Book

I always find January to be a bit of a let-down. By contrast, December is very festive with Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and New Year’s Eve. But January? January is dark, cold, and filled with post-holiday malaise.

So, I thought I would do something to bring a bit of fun into January.

In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service (January 16), publisher John Wiley & Sons and I will be giving away one free copy of my book, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing.

MLK Day recognizes the birth of King while encouraging citizen action. Many in the nonprofit sector have embraced this day to promote volunteerism. Since my book helps nonprofit organizations secure much needed resources, I thought a planned-giving book give-away would be just one small thing I could do at this special time of year.

In a moment, I’ll tell you how you can enter to win. First, I want to say that I think planned giving is a very attractive way for individuals to support favorite charities, especially during challenging economic times.

A few years back, I was trying to explain to my oldest, childless aunt what it is I do for a living. I tried explaining planned giving. Grasping what I was saying, she asked, “Why on Earth would someone give to a charity after they’re dead?” I asked her, “What charities do you support now?” Among the organizations she supports is an animal welfare group. I then asked, “Who’s going to take care of the little puppies and kittens after you’re no longer here to keep writing checks?” Her eyes widened and, in that moment, I think I might have lost my inheritance.

Planned giving allows people to continue to support organizations they are passionate about after they are no longer here to keep writing checks. In addition, planned giving may help donors lower their taxes, pass money and property on to heirs in an efficient way, generate an income, or provide major gifts to organizations without making any sacrifice during their lifetime. All of these benefits of planned giving are magnified during challenging economic times.

For these reasons, among others, I strongly believe that now is a great time to talk with people about gift planning. Today, given economic uncertainty, individuals might be uncomfortable making a significant financial gift out of current cash. However, those same individuals might be perfectly willing to provide some type of deferred contribution or life-income gift.

Only 22 percent of Americans over the age of 30 say they have been approached by a nonprofit organization to consider a planned gift, according to a survey by the Stelter Company. Imagine how much more revenue would be generated if more nonprofit organizations asked more people for a planned gift.

Now, let me tell you how to enter the book give-away.

For your chance to win a free copy of Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing, simply comment below.

Tell me whether or not you think this is a good or bad time to talk with prospects about planned giving and, very briefly, why. Everyone who comments will be entered into the drawing on January 23. A sentence or two is all it takes. If you already own a copy of my book (Thank You!) and you win, I’ll be happy to send the copy to your favorite colleague or your favorite nonprofit organization with your compliments.

Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing is on the official CFRE International Resource Reading List. For my work on the book, I received the AFP/Skystone Partners Prize for Research in Fundraising and Philanthropy. This is the first time in more than a decade that an author has been presented the AFP/Skystone Prize for a book about planned giving.

H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, the entrepreneur and philanthropist who is a member of the Bill Gates Giving Pledge, wrote the Foreword to the book and said, “I would like to see nonprofit leaders, fundraisers, and their key board members embrace the essential knowledge this book contains on how to create and improve a most critical component to every organization’s development effort—a donor-centered planned gift marketing program.”

Tanya Howe Johnson, CAE, President and CEO of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, wrote, “The number one training topic requested by PPP members is planned gift marketing. Michael Rosen answers that need with a well-organized approach, interesting anecdotes, a reader-friendly writing style, and a wealth of practical information.”

The book provides a fresh step-by-step guide for identifying your nonprofit’s planned giving prospects and inspiring them to give generously.

Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing helps nonprofit organizations move beyond traditional marketing techniques that have historically yielded only modest results and reveals how putting the focus on the donor can produce the best outcomes for all. Nonprofit organizations new to gift planning will learn to market effectively from the start while those with established programs will discover ways to enhance their efforts. You will learn about various donor-centered marketing channels and techniques, as well as how to generate internal support for an improved planned gift marketing effort.

If you’d like to learn more about the book, check-out reader reviews, and purchase a copy, you can visit The Nonprofit Bookstore (powered by Amazon) or your favorite bookseller.

So, comment below to enter the contest, and check back on January 23 (when I update this post) to see who won. To receive notification about new posts and updates, be sure to subscribe on the far right of this page.

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?

UPDATE (January 23, 2012):

The winner of the free book contest is Rhonda Huber from Provena Health. I thank everyone who participated in the contest, and I congratulate Rhonda!

I also want to thank Chris Kirchner, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, for agreeing to draw the winning entry. PCA is an organization that brings justice and healing to the victims of child sexual abuse, a crime impacting one in four girls and one in six boys.

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing, you will find it at your favorite book retailer or by clicking the link which will take you to The Nonprofit Bookstore (powered by Amazon).

96 Responses to “Enter Now to Win a Free Planned-Giving Book”

  1. Now is a very good time to talk to prospects about bequests! I may be wrong, but I don’t think there is such thing as a bad time to talk to someone about the wonderful, important, truly special decision that is planned giving. It is something to celebrate as soon as possible!

    • Rochelle, congratulations on being the first person to enter the giveaway contest! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. However, I do want to disagree with one point you made: “…I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad time to talk to someone about…planned giving.” Actually, there is a bad time: after the prospect has already died! 🙂 Sorry. I couldn’t resist. I obviously really do agree with you.

  2. There are no bad times to talk about planned giving, but I suppose there are plenty of tacky times (funerals and first dates come to mind). 🙂

  3. Now is a great time simply because most people have never been asked. As with your aunt, the conversation has to take place – and few others are providing the education needed.

    • Dan, thanks much for commenting. Competition for annual fund dollars is fierce. That’s not the case with planned giving. So, as you’ve observed, for those with the courage to ask, it’s one more reason why this is a great time.

  4. With 40 new planned gifts recorded last fiscal year worth approx. $6MM, and 19 so far this year worth approx. $3.5MM … it’s a GREAT time to be focused on planned gifts. As the uncertainty about the economy continues to cast a long shadow, I’m finding that folks are hanging onto their income and assets with a firm grip, but display a willingness to provide testamentary support thru simple bequests from wills or trusts, QRP or life insurance designations, or other revocable options.

  5. I feel there is no time like the present to keep bringing our mission to our donors and to keep the conversation unfolding to this level of committment. Thanks for the chance to enter to win your book. This wonderful resource would help me “get in the game” and grow our program now!

  6. This is a perfect time to talk with people about planned giving for exactly the reasons stated in your article. I look forward to reading your book!

  7. I think now is the perfect time to start talking to prospects. If we don’t, someone else will beat us to it. Unfortunately, others in my organization don’t quite see things the same way. We need to make it a priority, as there is so much potential in our donor base, and they just don’t see it. The book would be a great read for all of us. Thanks for this blog. It’s so helpful!

    • Angela, thank you for your kind comments. As I was working on the book, I quickly understood that I needed to include ideas for “selling” planned giving internally before the message could go out to the public.

      I once met with a college Chief Financial Officer who was focused exclusively on current cash gifts. I tried to explain the value of planned giving. I made every arguement I could think of. I was sure to point out that not all planned gifts are deferred. But, he stuck to his guns. Sometime later, I had a chance to share this story with Gerry Lenfest, a Giving Pledge philanthropist. I asked, “Gerry, you’ve served on the boards of a number of nonprofit organizations and have chaired some of those boards. If you had had that conversation with that CFO, what would you have said to convince him of the importance of planned giving?” Gerry thought for a moment and then said, “I’d ask him, ‘Do you like your job?'” Ah, the advantages of being a mega-philanthropist!

  8. I couldn’t agree more.

  9. Though the weather in January and February may prohibit travel it is a good time to visit. Many of our donors and prospective donors are older and do not go out as much due to weather; this is a wonderful time to visit and help ease the boredom and darkness of the winter months.

  10. Everyday is a good time to talk to others about philanthropy of any kind, including planned giving. Being fortunate enough to be able to give is such a blessing and once you learn that, you truly understand the meaning of, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”


    • Marianne, thank you for your comments. You implied that planned giving should be part of a holistic conversation about philanthropy. I agree with that. I think taking a holistic approach rather than a siloed approach to development often makes perfect sense.

  11. I agree with Rochelle – both tough economic times and the end of life force people to think more strategically and to appreciate the ephemeral nature of material wealth. All of the factors that make an ask for an immediate gift tougher during hard times are reversed when discussing a planned gift. The discussion turns the focus away from the immediate and to the ultimate

    • Richard, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Our ability to help people achieve their philanthropic and personal aspirations, despite a rough economy, is one of the things that I think makes development such a rewarding profession.

  12. When you can help someone do something good that makes them feel better, elevates the life or lives of someone else, and in at least some way makes the world a better place – the only bad time can be later.

  13. I agree…now is the perfect time! During these uncertain economic times, people are less likely to part with their money (rather prompted by fear from the media and just lack of knowing how to do it). By sharing with them ways to defer a gift (and sometimes even combine with an outright major gift), you can leave the legacy to heirs and their favorite charity. Everybody wins!! So…you’re aunt could still keep you in the her estate planning and save those puppies….Just saying 🙂

  14. I think now is a terrific time to talk to prospects about planned gifts. I think there’s an increasing awareness of bequests, especially as a way for donors with a more modest income during their lifetime to make transformational gifts to the charities that they love.

    • Lisa, thanks for your comment. I agree that planned gifts can be the major gifts of the middle class. Part of the fun of being in the development profession comes when we can show people how they can support their favorite charity at a level that the prospect never imagined would be possible.

  15. Great idea! I already have a copy of the book and it’s excellent!

    • Steve, thank you for your comment and for reading my book. I appreciate it. Folks should also be sure to check-out your book, Effective Telephone Fundraising. Readers can also read your guest blog post, “5 Things You Should Never Do in Your Phone Fundraising Calls.”

  16. Well said Rochelle and nice tongue-in-cheek Michael. I believe there is the opportunity for a very respectful and empathic discussion to plant the seed during a time of reflection after the passing of someone connected with the organization or perhaps well known in the community. It’s not a marketing approach but a friendraising approach you would make to an acquaintance.

    • Gary, thank you for your comment and for appreciating my sense of humor. You’re right. Being respectful and empathetic are two key elements of being donor centered. When we’re donor centered, we’re better able to achieve win-win outcomes.

  17. I have found that talking about continuing their support for a cause donors passionately support works very well. Whether that is through an outright gift or by setting up an endowment that will continue their annual support, it is something people understand well and resonate to.

    • Mary, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Some development folks think that planned giving is somehow separate from other types of fundraising; they take a silo approach to fundraising. However, I agree with you that planned giving should be a natural part of a philanthropic planning conversation. Good philanthropic planning includes an examination of all appropriate methods of giving. The goal should be to discover how best to help a donor fulfill his or her philanthropic aspirations.

  18. Here and now is the best time to begin the conversation so as to grow the relationship and develop an understanding of the donor’s objectives. Depending on where you’re at in the arc of the relationship, now is also a great time to ask – while donors are still feeling warm and nostalgic coming out of making year end gifts and also practical because they are now focused on filing tax returns. Thanks Michael for the opportunity to comment and thanks for your inspired posts!

    • Brenda, thank you for your comments. I appreciate your kind words about my posts.

      You’re right. Just like all other development activities, planned giving really does come down to building relationships. Thanks for reminding folks of that.

  19. Michael—talking to prospects, especially current donors during tough economic times is a perfect way to keep them engaged with the organization. We have a small shop, but I actually began setting aside budget to market planned giving for the first time in more than a decade last year. Many of those close to us have felt bad—even apologized that they have been unable to support us to the same degree they had in the past because they do not feel as financially secure now. Planned giving has offered them other options to support us.

    Thank you for writing a book about donor-centered planned giving marketing – for years, I’ve kept a Peter Drucker statement on the wall beside my desk. It reads, “The typical nonprofit goes around telling donors, ‘Here is our need.’ But the ones that attract and build a fund constituency say, ‘This is what you need. This is what we can do for you.’ The essence of the strategy: it always starts out with the other side.”

  20. January is a good time to talk about planned giving because people take stock of their lives and set new goals at the beginning of a year. And with the chaos exhibited by our government, it’s becoming quite clear that it’s up to us as ciitizens to take care of our communities. I already have this practical and reassuring (“yes you can”) book so if I win another copy, it will be added to the library of the “Hub” at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, a resource center for nonprofits.

    • Elizabeth, thank you for your comments. When you wrote, “And, with the chaos exhibited by our government, it’s becoming quite clear that it’s up to us as ciitizens to take care of our communities,” I was reminded of a book by Marvin Olasky, The Tragedy of American Compassion. He demonstrates, with historical analysis, that whenever the government pulls back, citizen action steps up, often more efficiently and effectively.

      I also want to thank you for already owning a copy of my book. I’m honored that you valued it enough to gift a winning copy, should you win, to the Santa Fe Community Foundation library.

  21. It’s always a good time to talk about planned giving with your supporters.

    I work with a young charity, and we are in the process of establishing our procedures, policies, and goals to begin working on planned giving in a meaningful way in 2012. We’ve gone through a modeling exercise of our donor base and feel confident which supporters we’d like to target. I am looking forward to these conversations, and I know this will be a new rewarding aspect of my work as a fundraiser.

    We’ve worked very hard to integrate donor-centred values in all our programs over the last few years, and I’ve gobbled up books, white papers, blogs and more from the likes of Simone Joyeaux, Gail Perry, Adrian Sargeant, and so many others. I also read through Michael’s posts and tweets with great interest.

    I am confident that this book will help tremendously, provoke thought, and entertain, just as Michael Rosen Says has so consistently done, too.

    • Sean, thank you for your comments. Congratulations on your plans to take your organization’s planned giving efforts to a new level in 2012. I wish you and your colleagues the very best. The folks you listed as resources are certainly among the best to learn from. And, I’m honored to be included. I also appreciate your kind words about my book and blog. Thanks again!

  22. Today is a great time for fostering planned gifts. More than ever people want to foster their values and leave a legacy. A planned gift is an investment in a better world and an inspiring example to family and friends.

    Planned giving provides an opportunity for most people to make at least one large gift–even if it can only be done upon their death.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream for racial equality and justice. We each have been given a dream to champion, too.

    Happy MLK Day, Michael!

  23. I do think winter is the perfect time for planned giving discussions. Not just because it’s dark and dreary, but because people aren’t obsessing about writing those year-end checks, the pace is slower, and many have made New Year resolutions to get their financial planning in order.

    • Hannah, thank you for your comment. I agree that this is certainly a time of year when prospective donors are less distracted. That’s certainly one reason why this is a good time to talk with prospects. As for New Year resolutions, mine are more modest but more easily achieved. For example, one of my resolutions is to eat more chocolate. 🙂

  24. I agree with you, Michael. Our agency struggles with planned gift marketing. Out of sight… Out of mind.

    • Heather, thank you for your comment. Every nonprofit needs to develop a planned gift marketing plan that fits. The plan needs to make sense for your budget, staff resources, and market. Some components might be bold and pricey while other elements might be simple and zero cost. The key, as you’ve already identified, is to figure out ways to stay in front of prospects so that you’re not “out of sight.” I wish you the best!

  25. It’s always a good time to speak to donors about planned giving because you just never know what may happen to them. Too often I hear of charities who didn’t take the time to do so and have lost long-standing, committed donors who never knew they could have left a legacy to the charity. It’s also important to consider your own legacy gift to understand what it feels like.

  26. Michael,

    I am not sure if I have the experience to have an opinion as to whether January is a good time of the year or not. I have been in this field for a little over the year and I feel inadequate to comment. However, I will say that it would seem anytime of the year should be a good time to ask for a planned gift.

    • Wendell, thanks for commenting. I must apologize for apparently being somewhat unclear. When I was writing about whether or not now is a good time for planned giving, I did not mean January. I meant is now, this year and with a weak economy, a good time or should development pros hold back until some more rosey time in the future. As you’ve already mentioned, there’s no time like the present. So, if someone asks me in January if January is a good time for planned giving, I’ll say, “Yes!” If they ask in February, I’ll say, “Yes!” You get the idea. Thank you for giving me the chance to provide some clarification.

  27. There is no bad time to talk about planned giving…just consider the alternative…”unplanned giving.” That’s what’s going to happen if you procrastinate and leave it to governmental vultures to rob you blind! Planned giving, at its best, makes for a win-win-win situation, and allows donors to be pro-active, shrewd stewards of their hard work and planning.

    • Brad, thanks for commenting. I agree with you that planned giving can be a benefit for all parties. Your remarks reminded me of a promotional commercial that aired in the UK. The promo said something like, “Don’t worry. You don’t need to have a will. The government will be more than happy to decide what happens with your money.” With humor, they really drove home the point about the value of estate planning.

  28. Boy, Michael, am I glad you clarified what you meant by “now.” Since you posed the original question at 12:07 AM, I was all set to respond “Heck, no.”

    That would have really been embarrassing. Whew!

  29. Not sure I can add anything else to discussion since I agree with now is always the right time to talk about planned giving. In fact, I am going to talk about planned giving with my colleague right now, so I am ending this post.

  30. As several others have noted, those of us in cooler climates can brighten a donor’s day with a call or visit and almost always will “find” the donor at home (same opportunity in height of summer, when many donors do not venture out of their air-conditioned homes).

    A small concern this year: the presidential election. I avoid political discussions whenever possible, but hard to avoid with the extensive coverage of the Republican primaries. A few donors have made some rather startling pronouncements this month–respect for the President not part of their upbringing I guess or maybe they are just getting more opinionated with age–and I am prepared for more as the general election comes to a boil.

    • John, thank you for your comments. And, thank you for reminding everyone about the potential to step on a metaphorical landmine during the presidential campaign season. No one ever won an arguement with a donor. That includes political debates. I’m sure most development professionals know not to start a political conversation with donors or prospects. But, sometimes, donors and prospects just can’t wait to engage someone in a political discussion. Here are four ways to respond to such folks: 1) Agree with the person if you can do so honestly; 2) Side-step the comment and change the subject; 3) Find some other point of common ground; 4) Smile and nod a lot. It’s not always easy to converse with a fired-up, political donor or prospect. But, if we’re sensitive, respectful, and focused, we can keep the conversation on the correct track.

  31. Since starting my new position just four weeks ago, I have seen a reluctance by many Board members to discuss planned giving. I totally agree that this is a great time to talk about it before things get going on the event calendar. We are in capital campaign mode right now and with a slow economy there is no desire to start a endowment. However, we are putting aside some operating reserve funds to handle the increased operating cost of the new facility over the first couple of years. I am urging the Board that we strongly step up our planned giving efforts to ensure financial sustainability in the long run. I would urge anyone in a capital campaign to step up their planned giving efforts as well–it is a great time to do it.

    Great post, Michael! If I’m fortunate to win a copy of your book, I will insist that you sign it “To my good tweep Ian” -LOL


    • Ian, thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. It’s always great hearing from you regardless of the medium. However, I am sorry to hear that your Board is resisting the move toward more proactive planned gift marketing. While it is true that most planned gifts are deferred (i.e.: bequests), not all are. For example, Charitable Gift Annuities, stock donations, and real estate gifts are just a few examples of planned gifts that can be booked as current assets. Of course, even deferred gifts are wonderful as they help secure the future. My book contains some tactical ideas for selling the idea of planned giving internally.

      With persistence on your part, I’m confident that you’ll be able to overcome some of the emotional reluctance to explore planned giving. I’m reminded of a time when I served on the board of scholarship foundation. I wanted the foundation to offer donors an opportunity to establish a named scholarship fund. There was deep oppostion to my plan. But, with a good strategy and plenty of patience, we were able to get the board to adopt the plan. The opposition was not particularly happy. However, after we closed our first named scholarship gift, the leader of the opposition asked me, “This is great! What are we doing to get more of these?” Today, named scholarship funds account for a significant percentage of the foundation’s endowment. Good luck!

  32. I strongly agree that any time is the right time for nonprofits of all sizes to promote planned giving to their supporters. This was stated well in a recent Fundraising Authority e-newsletter, which said in essence: don’t wait until all other elements of your development strategy are in place to launch planned giving. Start with bequests and start promoting them today, especially to your consistent donors.

    • Geoffrey, thank you for commenting. I agree with you. One of the things I share in my book is that there is not a one-size-fits-all planned giving program. Planned giving programs come in all shapes and sizes. I was once at a conference when a nun approached me. She said her nonprofit agency was considering starting a planned giving program but was not sure if the agency was ready. I asked, “Do you receive in gifts from the wills of donors?” Sister responded, “Yes. We receive about six bequests per year.” I smiled and said, “Well, Sister, I’m not quite sure how to say this, but you already have a planned giving program. You just didn’t know it.” I went on to explain that a bequest program is a good place to start. Bequests are one of the easiest planned gifts someone can make. Once someone makes a bequest commitment, they also become a great prospect to talk with about other giving opportunities that might even better meet the needs of the donor as well as the organization. Almost any organization can have some type of planned giving program.

  33. We, too, are ramping up our planned giving efforts because in our eyes, one transformational gift can really be a difference maker for our hospital in this sluggish economy. It sounds like a terrific book. We launched a one-page planned giving e-newsletter last year to educate our public and recently, we received a $65,000 planned gift. It’s all about planting seeds. Thanks.

  34. I don’t believe there is a good and bad time to talk about planned giving. It depends on each relationship and where you are with them in it at the time. When you talk about it with alums it seems like a light goes on about estate planning, many never think of it although we try to put some kind of reminder in each of our pubs/mailings.

    • Kathy, thank you for taking the time to comment. You’re correct. On a one-on-one basis, the best time to talk about planned giving is dictated by the relationship. On a more general basis, it’s almost always a good time to promote planned giving. I like your use of the word “reminder.” Too often, development professionals think that they don’t need to educate their donors or “remind” their donors about planned giving. The assumption is that donors are fairly sophisticated and most know what they need to know. But, that’s not really the case. I once spoke to a donor who was going to write out a five-figure check. I asked her if she had any appreciated stock. She said she did, and want to know why I was asking. I explained to her how giving stock rather than cash could save her money. She was surprised. She vaguely recognized what I was saying, but had not given it a thought in the context of her gift. She told me that she did not need the savings. However, she did end up making a stock gift. And, she had her accountant calculate her savings so she could increase her gift by that amount! The donor was happier and the organization was happier.

  35. I recently graduated college and am in my first fundraising role, so I will be honest when I say I do not know much about planned giving!

    My inkling would be that whenever you decide to discuss a planned gift with a loyal donor, treat them like a loyal donor and ask in person.

    • Megan, thank you for your comment. Congratulations on recently graduating and for landing your first development position. You’re now part of an enormously rewarding profession. You’re correct when you say, “…whenever you decide to discuss a planned gift with a loyal donor, treat them like a loyal donor…” Being donor-centered is vitally important. However, while a face-to-face ask is best, it is not essential. Visiting with top-priority prospects is certainly a good idea. But, few if any organizations have the resources to meet with all of their prospects. So, direct response strategies can also be enormously beneficial when seeking planned gifts.

  36. It is my feeling that any time is a good time but especially now…new year, new hope, enthusiasm, etc. People at this time of year are optimistic about the future and willing to consider this more than at other times.

    • Ron, thank you for sharing your perspective. For every season, I can think of pros and cons related to having a planned giving conversation. The bottom line is that if you want planned gifts, you have to talk about planned giving. The surest way not to generate any planned gifts is to sit silently with your fingers crossed.

  37. Michael, thanks for putting planned giving on the 2012 horizon for small non-profits like mine. I came from planned giving in a hospice program but have not yet gotten a program underway with my current organization that focuses on children with cancer. Your post has moved it up on my To Do list.

    • Maureen, thanks for your comment. I’m glad that you found my post inspiring. Even small organizations can promote (inexpensively) and generate planned gifts. Promoting gifts through wills and stock gifts are a good place to start. While your organization might be too small to want to get involved with Charitable Gift Annuities, you might find that your local community foundation has a product/service that can allow you to market CGAs through it. I wish you well with your efforts.

  38. Planned gifts are the ultimate expression of ownership of mission and they should always be part of the conversdation. I agree with others–it’s always the right time. When CRTs don’t make sense, CLTs do. And it will change again, with bequests forming the bulk.

  39. Michael
    I am so glad to have found your blog posting. I have only recently begun my career in development, January 1st to be exact, and planned giving continues to be something that is talked about but no one has broken ground on it here in our company. I will be getting a copy of you book either way. Thank you.

    • Jamie, thank you for commenting and for your interest in my book. Congratulations on becoming part of the noble development profession! Once upon a time, I helped start a theater company and served as the organization’s first board chair. I have a love for theater. Sadly, I don’t have any performing talent. So, I have to gain my artistic fulfillment by finding ways to support those who do have the talent. I wish you the best as you help to support the talent folks in your community.

  40. I like the others feel that engaging donors on deferred gifts is an anytime ordeal. However, my discomfort with planned giving is that there seems to be too much emphasis on life income vehicles, estate planning, and even supplementing retirement.

    It seems unfortunate that the impact of the gift takes a back seat and, as far as small organizations go, is anyone explaining to them both pros and cons of trying to market CGAs; for example, are they aware of their liabilities. I notice even in some of the training brochures and matreials from conferences and seminars, you still see “Pooled Income Fund” mentioned. Is anybody besides the colleges using them anymore? Most of us know the simple bequest is the best place to start and the majority of the gifts will be bequests.

    Transforming the lives of the constituents should be our major focus and introducing donors to ways they can make a difference.

    • Philip, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’d like to address some of your points. First, I think your use of the word “ordeal” is a bit of an unfortunate, perhaps unintended, word choice. While I agree that anytime can be the right time to talk about deferred giving, I also recognize: a) not all planned gifts are deferred; and b) when we can help a donor achieve his/her goals through a planned gift that benefits our organization, it is a joy rather than an ordeal.

      Second, you’re quite correct when you state that nonprofits need to be aware of the liabilities associated with a CGA program. I do touch on this matter in my book and share a way that nonprofits can mitigate their risk. As for PIFs, I don’t know of any organization that is actively marketing them, so I’m surprised you keep seeing them marketed. While some continue to exist and a few nonprofits might even still be promoting them, these are unusual cases.

      Third, I very much appreciate your last point. The job of a development professional is to facilate giving by matching a donor’s philanthropic interests with the organization’s needs and doing so in a way that benefits the donor. We need to remember that a donor will almost always have more money if they do not make donation than if they do. So, while income and taxes are certainly important issues for some donors, philanthropic intent is really the most important issue.

  41. I have always wanted a good strategic approach to planned giving… but I know the relational side is most crucial. Very interested to see how you make this blend. Thanks!

    • Ramblingrhino, thank you for commenting. I quite like your blog name. For planned giving to be successful, both for a nonprofit organization and its donors, there definitely needs to be a blend of the strategic and the relationship.

  42. I feel this is the best time to be discussing planned gifts. With the uncertainties of the economy, folks seem more reluctant to part with their cash or appreciated securities and seem more willing to discuss their estates, charitable lead trusts or gift annuities.

  43. I think now is a good time to talk about planned giving, especially because so few donors really know about the opportunity. I would love to learn more about the different types of planned gifts.

    • Heather, thank you for your comment. While it is useful to know about the range of planned giving vehicles, you should also keep in mind that the vast majority of planned gifts are bequests. Charitable Gift Annuities and gifts of appreciated securities follow. All other vehicles are far less common though they can generate significant gifts.

  44. Michael, my main reason for entering to win is (of course to take a good read through and expand the already great learning I’ve received just in knowing you these past months….) but mainly so that I can share your book with others!

    Is there ever a donor that doesn’t take into consideration the financial, personal, family and estate consequences of a charitable gift before signing the cheque, the payroll deduction sheet, the will, the securities transfer form, the beneficiary designation? In my mind, every gift – except for those silly times the cashier at Walmart or the grocery store wants me to add $2 to my bill for charity – is a planned gift if it is a donor-centered gift. At the end of my long winded reply, I guess the simple answer is it’s always a good time for planned giving!

    Best to you, Christina @GPtekkie

    • Christina, thank you very much for your kind words. I share your belief that virtually all donations are planned gifts. That’s why I think a holistic approach to development is the one that makes the most sense. Planned giving vehicles are just the tools we development professionals can use to help a donor fulfill her philanthropic aspirations while taking care of her financial and/or family needs.

  45. Because it’s never the wrong time to smooth the way to a person’s heart. We should think of everything we do to tell our story, whether it’s about the mission or giving, as cumulative instead of a transaction–even direct marketing. Understand that donors who are wiling to plan for the end of their lives do so in fits and starts, and not until they are ready to say, “OK, I need to prepare for the end.” That’s a development path that goes in fits and starts. Every kernal of info we provide along the way builds trust incrementally.

    • Ken, thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you raised the issue of transactional communications. Like you, I do not like transactional fundraising. I do not like planned giving efforts that focus on products. Instead, nonprofits would be far better served by focusing on donor needs and philanthropic aspirations as relationships are built. That’s why they call our work “development.”

  46. As the new Director of Development for a theatre with a terrifically elderly constituency, I know planned giving should play a more central part in my development plan, but it is an area I know little about.

    Guess that means I REALLY need your book!

    • L, thank you for commenting. Congratulations on your new position. While planned giving can certainly be challenging at times, the good news is that it is really a lot easier than most folks initially think. The easiest types of planned gifts to close are bequest commitments and gifts of appreciated securities. Planned giving programs come in all shapes and sizes. Good luck finding the path most appropriate for your theatre company. As someone who helped start a nonprofit theatre company, I know how challenging and rewarding the performing arts world can be.

  47. As the relatively new Chief Executive of a Wildlife Trust in the UK that looks after over 40 nature reserves with the help of over 300 volunteers, I know first hand from talking to other Wildlife Trust Chief Executives the difference that legacies (or planned giving) can make to our work. We are lucky to be supported by a large number of members but we have benefited from relatively few legacies so I know it’s an area that we need to develop.Work done now will reap rewards for my successors in the future!

    • Jane, thank you for commenting. The sad news for your organization is that none of your predecessors made a big push to secure planned gifts. The good news is that you can be the person who makes that first big push and, in the process, becomes a hero. The work of the Natural Resources Defense Council in the U.S. might inspire you. I’ve written about the NRDC on this blog site and elsewhere including in my book. You mention that “work done now will reap rewards for my successors in the future.” While that’s certainly true, the real rewards from your work will be reaped by the wildlife saved and the future generations that benefit from that.

  48. Dear Reader,

    You may feel free to leave a comment. However, the contest is now closed. The winner of the free copy of Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing is Rhonda Huber of Provena Health.

    I thank everyone who participated, and I congratulate Rhonda!

    Warm regards,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: