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Marketing planned gifts: Part 7

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By Todd Cohen

Events can be effective tools to reach and engage donors and professional advisers, planned-giving experts say.

Each fall, for example, Cleveland Orchestra donors who are members of its Heritage Society are invited to a presentation on a topic involving the organization, and then are invited to a recognition lunch.

And every other year, donors who have endowed chairs at the orchestra are invited to a concert and later a dinner with the musicians whose chairs they endowed.

In the fiscal year that ends May 31, 12 Heritage Society members have made new planned gifts.

“There are very few planned gifts that are truly irrevocable,” says Amy Wong, director of major and planned gifts. “If you don’t keep up with the donors and keep them involved, then they can always change their mind. If you do keep them involved and keep them feeling they are important, which they all are, a lot of times those additional gifts come on their own, or they can be in response to a specific need.”

The American Diabetes Association recognizes its planned-giving donors at its annual meeting, and makes presentations on planned giving to the 25-member board of directors of the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation, a fundraising board, and to its local volunteer councils throughout the United States.

And Cornell, in its stewardship role, holds three or four events a year for people who have made planned gifts, typically featuring a dean or professor from one of the school’s 11 colleges or units involved with the gift to talk about their work.

“The people that have already demonstrated their loyalty and support by establishing a planned gift,” says Chip Bryce, director of planned giving, “are really the best prospects for additional gifts.”


Other stories in the series:

Part 1: Charities target donors in increasingly competitive market. 
Part 2: Charities tailor planned-giving message, medium. 
Part 3: Fundraisers segment planned-giving prospects. 
Part 4: Charities mix multiple strategies to reach donors.
Part 5: Online strategies integrate donor data, marketing. 

Part 6: Colleges, community foundations court planned-giving prospects.

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