By Todd Cohen
Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., decided in 2000 to outsource its planned giving after Don Mann, its associate pastor for communication and development, found during his graduate studies that many churches are “not now, or likely to be prepared” to operate planned-giving programs.
“It was really one of the most significant untapped resources of the church,” he says.
So after doing some research, Calvary teamed up with PhilanthroCorp, a firm in Colorado Springs, Colo., that handles planned giving for 95 Christian ministries.
PhilanthroCorp provides planned-giving marketing strategies, seminars and materials for its clients, which mail the materials to prospective donors and refer to the firm any prospects responding to the mailings.
PhilanthoCorp schedules phone appointments with the donors to gather information about their assets, goals, values and beneficiaries, and to help them understand planned-giving tools and techniques they might use.
“We recommend the strategies to create the gift,” says Dave Keesling, vice president and co-founder. “Implementation would always be done with the donor’s local advisers.”
The firm charges a fee, based either on the size of the estate or a flat rate, that typically ranges from $1,500 to $7,500, and on average takes eight to 10 months to complete work with a client, Keesling says.
The average gift that PhilanthroCorp produces for its clients, costs 2.4 cents for each dollar generated, compared to 10 cents to 15 cents in the most effective in-house programs, he says.
Mann says PhilanthroCorp encourages charitable giving in general.
“They don’t necessarily advocate for our specific ministry,” he said. “We feel like it’s a ministry to families to help them with their estate planning.”
The church, which already counts 27 bequests with a current value of more than $9 million it expects to receive, has been placing planned-giving assets with the Christian Community Foundation in Colorado Springs, and now is creating its own ProVision Foundation.
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