More Promotion Channels: Bequests VI

Sections of this topic

    Last month I focused on IRA gifts, now I’m back to bequests, picking up from August with strategies other than direct mail to promote bequest giving. (See Tony’s previous posts on Planned Giving.)

    If you haven’t got the budget for direct mail, these are for you!

    If you’re using direct mail, augment it with these methods. Think multichannel engagement. It’s essential in today’s interconnected world.

    Look at your meetings and events
    In face-to-face sit-downs and at larger events, it takes just a few sentences to ask prospects to think of your organization when they prepare their long-term plans. This message isn’t appropriate for every event, so look for the times when you’ve gathered people who love your work and you’re already asking for their support. They can support you in the long-term by including you in their wills.

    Look at your publications
    Newsletters, magazines, annual reports, anything where a fundraising message is appropriate. You don’t need a full article; a sidebar will do. Include your legal name and federal tax ID number (Employer Identification Number, or EIN), so readers can take action. A lawyer will need those to prepare a bequest properly. If you have an attorney on your board, or otherwise close to the organization, prevail upon him or her to write a sample bequest paragraph to include. It won’t take more than five minutes to write one for you.

    Use your Website
    I wouldn’t make this your first priority, but it doesn’t hurt to have a presence because enough seniors are internet savvy, and the rate of penetration increases each year. Also, your prospects’ attorneys might go to your site looking for the necessary details. Provide information similar to what I’ve suggested for your publications. You won’t need more than a page or two.

    Small ways, too.
    Can you slip a couple of check-offs into your annual appeal reply card? What about a check-off saying “send me information on including you in my will” on the back flap of your return envelopes? Wherever you’ve got a few extra lines on something your donors are returning to you anyway, give them the chance to ask for information or tell you they’ve already included you in their wills. Don’t put the “have included” option anywhere it’s visible to outsiders.

    Get out there and promote! You’ve got something newsworthy: you’ve inaugurated a Planned Giving program.

    Next month, wills can be undone – changed at any time. What does this mean for stewardship?

    Tony Martignetti, Esq. is the host of Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.
    He’s a Planned Giving consultant, speaker, author, blogger and stand-up comic.
    You’ll find him at
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