Annual giving and planned giving traditional reside at opposite ends of the donor pyramid. At the base of the pyramid, the goal is renewability, and at the tip, it’s uniqueness. We seldom hear of annual and planned gift fundraisers crossing paths as they go about their assigned duties, except when a “suspect” gets handed up to gift planning for more personalized treatment.
But is that really the best way to leverage the development budget?
At the University of Redlands, Ray Watts (Associate VP for Development) and Patience Boudreaux (Director of Annual Giving) are experimenting with “plannual giving,” a division of labor that they define as letting people do what they do best.
“Gift planners are skilled in visiting and personal contact, not marketing. And annual giving people are naturals at marketing,” says Patience. Why not release responsibility for bequest fundraising to the annual giving staff? Bequests aren’t hard to explain, and most people would agree that loyal annual donors are great bequest prospects. When bequest metrics are transferred to the annual giving staff, the gift planners can do even more of what they do best—work with constituents who have special assets or charitable goals that call for complex gifts.
Ray and Patience will present their efforts toward “ultimate integration” at the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning next week. Their session, "Plannual Giving--A New Framework for Marketing Planned Gifts,” is part of the One-Person/Small Development Shop Track. And although Redlands isn’t technically a small shop, rewiring planned and annual giving is a strategy that seems natural, and maybe even easier in a small organization where the fewer people have turf to control.
Will plannual giving work in your development program? Ray and Patience share some advice, with more to come in their conference session…
- “Don’t over-MBA your metrics,” Ray says.
- Promote today/tomorrow/forever giving to everyone, and be ready to show that the biggest gifts blend all three categories.
- Understand what you do best, and release control of the rest to others on the team who can do it better.
- Don’t worry that the annual giving staff will “dumb down” planned giving—to supporters, it’s all just giving.
- Don’t treat supporters as a series of gifts of various kinds or levels. “Our loyal donors—large and small—think of us as a member of the family,” Ray says. “We think of our family members as personalities, not entries on a balance sheet.”
How do annual and planned giving efforts cooperate at your organization? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
To learn more about the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning click here. Not registered? There's still time. Registrations will now be taken on site during registration hours. Click here to download the onsite form.
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