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The Planned Giving Toolbox: Learning to Talk about Planned Giving

Resource Center - Foundation

Fundraisers don’t need to be experts on planned giving, but they do need to be able to talk knowledgeably about planned giving options and spot opportunities for donors, according to Greg Hammond, President of Planned Giving Strategies and a charitable giving strategist for life and legacy.

Educating fundraisers about planned giving options and offering  fresh ideas for donors and charities to consider, are the goals for Hammond’s upcoming webinar, The Planned Giving Toolbox, scheduled for Oct. 23 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Hammond believes that many fundraisers tend to shy away from planned giving because the number—and perceived complexity—of planned giving options can seem daunting. “A lot of fundraisers wear so many different hats each day that they put planned giving on the back burner unless they have a person in the organization helping them or they have a specific situation they need to address.”

One of the things that Hammond has heard time and time again from fundraisers is that they need basic education about the nuts and bolts of planned giving options—which is why his firm created “The Planned Giving Toolbox.”

“I cover an important range of planned giving strategies that fundraising professionals need to be aware of,” Hammond says. “It’s not that they need to be experts, but they must be empowered to start conversations about the subject and identify opportunities where a donor might benefit from a charitable remainder trust or other planned giving option. They can then bring in planned giving experts who can flawlessly execute the details on their behalf.”

Starting the Conversation

But for Hammond, the conversation about planned giving doesn’t even begin with giving, but focuses squarely on the donor.

“The donors and clients I talk to each day are very concerned about the future—making sure they have lifetime income to secure the well-being of their families with many also wanting to leave a legacy to help change the world,” says Hammond. “So organizations need to focus on the donors’ concerns—be more donor-centric—and have conversations about how planned giving can not only address those concerns, but also allow the donor to make a difference through a gift.”

Hammond notes that the planned giving environment is difficult right now with so much uncertainty about the election, the looming “fiscal cliff” and whether or not certain charitable tax incentives will still be in existence after the end of the year. It makes planning difficult, which is why planned giving needs to be part of donor conversations and long-term stewarding.

“People still want to make gifts and help others, but they don’t always see themselves as being able to do so just yet,” says Hammond. “Like any type of fundraising, it’s all about building relationships and trust, focusing on the donor and taking the time to help them feel comfortable and inspired about their ability to give.”

Trust Between Charities and Outside Professionals

Hammond acknowledges that there is often tension and skepticism between a charity and an outside financial expert, with charities concerned that financial professionals may want to take advantage of them in order to grow their business.

“It’s an obstacle both sides have to overcome,” says Hammond, who again points to developing trust between the two parties. “It’s a matter of relationship-building and looking for professionals who are willing to spend time building these kinds of partnerships and believe in the principles of philanthropy and giving.”

Hammond recommends that charities develop their own sort of planned giving toolbox, identifying financial professionals who have shown their intent and core values and don’t see philanthropy and charity as simply just ways to grow their business.  He thinks more charities should develop internal planned giving councils—professionals who can provide input and feedback in their communications and programs about planned giving, including messages and stories that resonate with donors.

“Finalizing a planned gift with a donor can be very inspiring, and there are ethical financial professionals who believe in philanthropy and want to work effectively with charities,” says Hammond. “What I hope to provide during my presentation are not just planned giving options, but ideas to help fundraisers develop critical relationships between themselves and donors, as well as themselves and outside professionals.”

The Planned Giving Toolbox webinar presentation, led by Greg Hammond, will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. The presentation will cover the advantages of addressing donor concerns and needs with planned giving strategies; details of specific traditional and non-traditional planned giving tools and strategies through case studies; and suggestions for communicating planned giving opportunities to donors. To register, click here.

Download the “Planned Giving Toolbox” Workbook at 

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