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Friday, August 27, 2010

Starting a Simple, No Hassle Planned Giving Program

For most nonprofits, planned giving programs are something that you know you should do, but in the middle of making sure that mailing campaign gets to the post office, trying to get the newsletter done, picking out the menu for your next special event, and just the general day to day responsibilities, planned giving goes by the wayside. The excuses? "It's too complicated." "That's for later when we have an established program." "We're too small for that."

In reality, planned giving programs can be easy, if you start with the basics. First, to every piece of communication that leaves your office, add a simple footer that reads:

For information about including (YOUR IMPORTANT CAUSE) in your will or trust, please contact us at (DEVELOPMENT PERSON'S PHONE NUMBER) or email (YOUR EMAIL).

This means on the bottom of fax cover sheets, on letterhead, in your email signature, on your website, on your Facebook page, etc. You may not get any direct responses right away, but this raises awareness that you are an organization that will accept a gift like this!

Then, if someone actually contacts you and wants information, you can send them the following sample bequest language. (Please modify this depending on the laws of your state.)

Sample Bequest Language

Supporting [ORGANIZATION] through your will or trust

One of the many ways that you can support [ORGANIZATION]’s mission to [INSERT MISSION HERE] is to make a legacy gift through your will or trust.

A will or trust is an important legal document, so please contact an attorney or financial advisor for assistance. To assist you with this important decision, here is some suggested bequest wording.

Bequest with a Specific Dollar Amount

I give, devise and bequeath to [ORGANIZATION], [STATE] non-profit 501(c)(3)corporation, tax identification number [EIN], the sum of $__________ [for restriction, if applicable].

Bequest with a Percentage Amount

I give, devise and bequeath to [ORGANIZATION], [STATE] non-profit 501(c)(3)corporation, tax identification number [EIN], _____ percent of my residual estate [for restriction, if applicable].

Bequest of a Residue of an Estate

I give, devise and bequeath to [ORGANIZATION], [STATE] non-profit 501(c)(3)corporation, tax identification number [EIN], all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, including real and personal property, [for restriction, if applicable].

For questions or additional information, please contact:
CONTACT INFORMATION

*****

That's pretty much it for most nonprofit planned giving programs, and you'd be surprised what can happen! Other simple options are to encourage your donor to name your charity as the beneficiary on a life insurance policy or retirement fund.

Of course, if someone wants to make a more complicated gift, such as a charitable remainder trust, life trust or other deferred giving vehicle, find a local resource to help you! Check with your local Partnership for Planned Giving (PPP) Council or a community foundation to see if they have a planned giving advisor who will assist your nonprofit with more elaborate gifts.

Good luck!

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