How to Use “Plannual Giving” to Encourage Annual Fund Donors to Consider Planned Gifts
A comprehensive fundraising development program should include a balance of activities related to annual giving, major giving, and planned giving. Without any one of the legs of this three-legged stool, you cannot sustain support for your mission. Your organization relies on the regular revenue from special events, direct mail, and more recently social media to maintain your operating budget. But could you do more with your annual giving program to increase giving? Robert E. Wahlers, MS, CFRE, President of Peak Philanthropic, LLC, has a new strategy for you to consider.
While serving as Vice President of Development at Meridian Health Foundation over the last eight years, Robert and his team continued to improve their approach to the grateful patients that gave due to their positive experiences at one of the Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals. Knowing that loyal annual donors often make planned gifts, they began to add language in appeals that asked if donors had either already included their favorite hospital in their will or estate plan or if they wanted to receive more information about making a bequest. They tested different messages and added other information about gift planning options as they worked to improve their approach.
Since they added messages to their direct mail three years ago, the number of people asking about naming Hackensack Meridian Health in their wills jumped by about a third, and requests about charitable gift annuities increase by 12 percent.
With regular direct mail appeals already being sent to these donors, you can take advantage of the tools that you use to offer future gift ideas. You can employ Plannual Giving to:
- Educate about gift planning options
- Identify prospects for major and planned gifts
- Cultivate existing donors
- Solicit interested donors
- Steward all donors
Consider how you apply best practices in “plannual giving” to your annual giving program:
- Be sure to work in content in direct mail and email appeals that offers gift planning options.
- Add “have you included (your organization) in your will or estate plan?”
- Add “would you like more information about including (your organization) in your will?”
- Use donor stories in direct mail appeals that highlight how a peer made a planned gift using a charitable gift annuity or trust.
- Offer free gift planning information seminars to your annual donors.
- Invite both annual and planned giving donors to your annual stewardship events; recognize and celebrate donors who have made planned gifts.
Plannual Giving works. You can increase response rates to your annual giving appeals, build greater donor loyalty and grow revenue to support your mission.