BEQUESTS: Where to Find Them and How to Get Them

Posted by National Association of Charitable Gift Planners on Jan 26, 2016 10:53:54 AM


Session Highlights-National Conference on Philanthropic Planning, (NCPP2015)

At the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning, Jeff Lydenberg reviewed key research and tips to help gift planners take advantage of the ‘under-appreciated bequest.’ This is foundational advice since bequests are the largest source of planned giving revenue for charities both large and small.

Where should we start looking for bequest donors? Jeff offered several pathways suggested by Russell James’s influential analysis of the longitudinal Health and Retirement Study. First, the bequest donor must have trust in the organization that will benefit from the bequest. Second, the absence of heirs may be the single most important variable to help identify the bequest donor, followed very closely by educational attainment. Third, the greater a prospect’s net worth, the more likely he or she is to leave a charitable bequest. Jeff also advised that if a frequent giver also makes larger than average gifts, usually annually, the likelihood of a planned gift goes up.

When bequest prospects have been identified, what’s the best way to propose the gift? Planned gifts are frequently linked to events in a donor’s life, but prospects need information and encouragement to make that connection at the right moment. Bequest marketing messages should convey why someone should include your organization in their estate plans—prospects increasingly expect content that will help them learn more about your work and show them why their support makes a difference.  You should also clearly communicate that your charity is interested in and capable of accepting estate gifts, and make it easy for a prospect to get the information they need to add your charity to their estate plans. Be sure everyone working or volunteering for your organization who comes in contact with potential bequest donors is prepared to deliver this information or tell prospects where to find it.

For the complete outlook for finding prospects and soliciting bequests, you can read Jeff Lydenberg’s conference paper here.



- Jeff Lydenberg
Vice President at PG Calc Incorporated

BEQUESTS 2016 Offering CTA Template

Topics: philanthropy, donors, fundraising, planned giving, General, NCPP