Securing a planned gift for many nonprofits is often seen as the ultimate accomplishment! Some planned gifts revolve around a lifetime of relationship building and culminate at the death of the donor. Other planned gifts simply fall into the laps of nonprofits with seemly little effort. In any case anytime you talk about someone dying everyone generally gets uncomfortable, except a agent selling life insurance!
Every year you hear stories about a little old lady dying and leaving money to charity. Delving deep you may read that the donor was a long time giver to the nonprofit and other times it is an outright surprise gift. Most households, approximately 67%, report donating to charities in recent years. Yet, only 8% of households report leaving a charitable bequest in their wills!
If you want your nonprofit to be among the 8% who receive a charitable bequest then you need to do more than just hope you are lucky!
Finding potential donors that are willing to include you as part of a planned gift takes a lot of effort and foresight on the part of the nonprofit. Nonprofits themselves need to identify potential donors early and have an active plan on how to encourage these types of gifts.
The reality is that it does not matter how well you speak of a donor after they are dead gone. It is more important however to make sure you are not ignoring them while they are alive!
Time and time again I hear and see stories of donors that go out of their way to contribute and support a nonprofit only to be forgotten a few years later. Often you will hear the staff of a nonprofit say, “Oh yea, that person use to give but they don’t give any more for some reason.” Another theme often recounted is that this person was a former board member a long time ago but we never hear from them anymore. It is no wonder why only such a small percentage feel compelled to think about charity when they die.
A learning point both staff and nonprofit boards alike should take to heart is that, donors are not doormats, but people who take the time to give of themselves and their resources.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.