1. Intro to Our New Series on Planned Giving & 2. A Piece on Mission Statements

Sections of this topic

    1. Introduction To Planned Giving – Part One
    by John Elbare

    If you have been involved in fundraising for any length of time, you have heard about planned giving, which, at first glance, may seem highly technical and downright geeky.

    You may have heard others say things like “We’re not ready for planned giving,” or “Planned giving too is difficult to understand.” These are common misperceptions.

    Contrary to what you may have heard, you’re probably ready for planned giving – Right Now!! And, even better, you can easily understand planned giving, including the parts that are most important for raising planned gifts.

    Since there is so much misunderstanding, here’s my definition:

    Planned giving is the process of planning charitable gifts so that a donor can maximize the impact of a donation to the cause they support through the skillful use of tax advantages or by deferring the gift until after death.

    Although some planned gifts involve the transfer of non-cash assets during life, most planned gifts are end-of-life gifts. This is when a donor arranges to leave your organization a gift after s/he has passed away.

    I’m sure you’ll agree that’s easy to understand. My job, in this ongoing series of blog postings, is to help you understand how planned giving works, why it’s important for your organization, and how to talk with your doors about planned gifts.

    You can be a very productive planned gift fundraiser without ever getting into the weeds with the technically complicated gift plans. Sure, there are amazingly intricate things like charitable lead trusts and family limited partnerships (hope that didn’t make your eyes unfocus), but they account for only a tiny fraction of all planned gifts.

    Most planned gifts are easy to understand, easy to explain to donors, and easy to set up.

    Watch for Part Two of this Introduction to Planned Giving
    Next Wednesday
    John Elbare, CFP, has spent the last 30 years helping non-profits raise more money
    through large, planned gifts. He shows them how to add
    an effective planned giving strategy to their current fundraising effort
    without a lot of extra expense or staff.

    You can contact him at John Elbare, CFP.
    Have you seen
    The Fundraising Series of ebooks?

    They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99 – $4.99)

    2. A “Mission (Statement) Impossible”
    by Tony Poderis

    A neighbor dropped by to show to me a mailing he had gotten from his church. Knowing my background in non-profits, he asked what I thought of the new Mission Statement, which he had been asked to evaluate.

    It was mailed to all members of the congregation seeking their feedback. He was unsure which box to check regarding his reaction to the Mission Statement – the choices ranged from “Strongly Agree,” to “Strongly Disagree.

    The Mission Statement read as follows:
    (Church Name) is God’s Community committed to:
    •  Worship that inspires
    •  A welcome-to-all atmosphere
    •  Services and programs earnestly presented
    All for building the Kingdom of God

    Which box would you check? My neighbor seemed to turn pale when I urged that he check the “Strongly Disagree” box.

    I was emphatic in stating that every nonprofit organization’s Mission Statement needs to cite clearly Its Reason For Being – why it exists. It must state the positive difference it makes to its stakeholders and its beneficiaries.

    My neighbor agreed that those imperatives were not satisfied in the Mission Statement he was asked to evaluate.

    Further, he concurred with me that the Mission Statement’s declaration of the three initiatives committed to be carried out, suggested more of an intention of simply doing things. They are activities – activities which are admirable, but impossible to quantify.

    There is action suggesting the means, and the methods, but not the desired ends.

    I asked him, “How does the new Mission Statement assure you that there will be a positive and clear effect on your life, that of your own family, that of the other parishioners, their families, the parish as a whole, and the community in general?

    In other words, I asked, “What do you get out of it?” He had no answer.

    So I gave him my version of what I believed the Mission Statement should be, and he told me that he would give my critique to his Parish leaders.

    Following is my recommendation, and I believe it does embody the church’s “Reason For Being.” It does not focus on the “means,” but makes clear, the “Ends.”

    What do you think?

    The Mission of (Name of the Church), with its commitment to Inspiring Worship, Enthusiastic Welcoming, and Earnest Service, is to ensure that its community of worshipers will gain, grow, and maintain their faith, truth, strength, and fellowship in God’s Kingdom.

    Have a question or comment about the above posting?
    You can Ask Tony.
    There is also a lot of good fundraising information on his website:
    Have you seen
    The Fundraising Series of ebooks ??

    They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99 – $4.99)

    If you would like to comment/expand on the either-or-both of the above pieces, or would just like to offer your thoughts on the subjects of this posting, we encourage you to “Leave a Reply.”