“When the why is clear, the how is easy.”
This quote by the late great American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, is invaluable. In fact, Matt and I devoted an entire podcast to it.
The WHY provides us with a great lesson for any planned giving conversation. Let’s drill it down and take from it something you can do TODAY to revitalize your Planned Giving conversations.
You call. You ask. You present.
However, no matter how diligent you are in your preparation, it always helps to add a few new tools to your trusty kit.
Here are 5 wonderful widgets to implement into your Planned Giving Program RIGHT NOW. They will give you another point-of-entry with prospects and donors.
When asked about our jobs, family, hobbies and interests, we often respond with the“What.”. In his book “Start With Why,” Simon Sinek suggests that we begin where it all began, with the initial motivation.
IN THIS PODCAST, Matt Hugg sits down with Joe to find out the reasons we should use “Why?” during discussions with donors and prospects. Joe provides step-by-step examples that will open up a whole new world of possibilities for you and your fundraising program.
Are you approaching Planned Giving from a place where logic reigns? Are the various types of gift vehicles taking up a large part of the discussion. Perhaps your donor visits could use a little “emotional rescue.”
IN THIS PODCAST, Matt Hugg sits down with Joe to discuss emotion and how it plays into our work as fundraisers. Opening these lines of communication with our prospects can often give us a competitive advantage, which can lead to more robust donor relationships.
A charitable gift that pays the donor? Welcome to the scintillating world of CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITIES. Don’t laugh. This is a fabulous tool to raise money and deliver a literal return on investment.
IN THIS PODCAST, Matt Hugg sits down with Joe to talk about the often misunderstood CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITY. Joe will describe the ways to incorporate it into your Planned Giving approach with potential donors and more. There is plenty to get excited about in this Podcast, especially when it comes to making believers in your work happy. It is a way to fund the mission, while “paying back” your strongest supporters.
An active, participatory Board is a vital piece of the Planned Giving puzzle. Getting your Board involved is the difference between a vital Planned Giving Program or one that is barely gaining traction. Unfortunately, one of our biggest allies is often on the sidelines during the creation and implementation of any Planned Giving effort. While it isn’t always easy, it is absolutely essential to engage these partners.
IN THIS PODCAST, Joe discusses simple ways you can inform, engage and involve your Board in order to build a stronger and more balanced Planned Giving Program.
We encourage fundraisers to see philanthropy from two distinct levels, “below-the-line” and “above the line.” The “HOW” of making a Planned Gift, or the “nuts and bolts” of giving is below-the-line details. Tax planning, financial planning tools and the Planned Gift options should be handled by professional advisors. Above-the-line covers the “WHY.” These are the reasons our prospects seek to make a donation such as creating a meaningful legacy or setting the values they want to pass on to their children.
IN THIS PODCAST, Joe discusses these two types of conversations and gives fundraisers great tips on how they can have more meaningful discussions with their donors.
“Tom appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a long-handled brush. He surveyed the fence, and all gladness left him and a deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit. Thirty yards of board fence nine feet high. Life to him seemed hollow, and existence but a burden.” ― Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
After seeing a one-man play about Mark Twain’s life and work, he has been on my mind. The above scene from Tom Sawyer got me thinking. If you recall, Tom never really did whitewash that fence. When you do the math, it turns out to be roughly 800 square feet of a time-consuming job. Tom used his wiles to convince some of the neighbor boys that painting the fence would be FUN, not work. He even got some of them to PAY him for the privilege.
Most of us don’t have friends that gullible, but there is a significant truth we can learn from Tom’s travails. Painting any fence can seem like a never-ending chore. Imagine having to paint a picket fence that is one mile long. If you stood at the one end of that fence and looked all the way down to the other (if you could even see that far), you would be overwhelmed and might not even pick up the brush. However, if you just focused on the few pickets in front of you, and painted them one-by-one-by-one, you would most likely finish in far less time than it would take to read a few chapters of Tom Sawyer.
It is so easy to become overwhelmed when we think of all the things we have to do each day, week and month that we can become frozen with fear and anxiety. Between dealing with donors, Boards, staff, missions, staff and the seemingly endless constriction of resources, our mile of fence can seem more like a marathon’s worth. The cure? Take it one picket at a time. Focus on little bits and pieces. SIMPLIFY! Here are SIX STEPS you can take today to make even your biggest projects seem easy:
Let’s play a little guessing game.
What charity first comes to mind when you think of a model Planned Giving Program?
For many, it is Harvard University. If it is not at the top of your list, it certainly rates as one of the best Planned Giving Programs in the country. It should! At $36.4 BILLION, Harvard currently has the largest university endowment. You don’t get an endowment like that without a strong Planned Giving Program. One of the people who helped build that program is Charles Collier. Charles served Harvard for 25 years as its Senior Philanthropic Advisor.
One would assume, as we initially did, that someone like Collier, one of the main architects behind Harvard’s outrageously successful Planned Giving Program, has a law degree or a degree in tax accounting.
What does an ideal week look like for you? Visualize it. Be clear on what you want to do. Write it down and keep it in front of you.
Here is an example:
My perfect week
- I will COMPLETE 50 phone calls to prospective donors.
- I will MAKE 10 thank you calls to current donors.
- I will VISIT 5 donors.
- I will VISIT 3 people who love our charity and can introduce me to potential new donors.
- I will only FOCUS on activity that helps me build relationships with my donors and close gifts.
- I will STAY POSITIVE and focused on what is right and good about the work I/we are doing.
- I will STAY AWAY from negative people.
- I will NOT GET DISTRACTED by Facebook, water cooler conversations or tasks that do not need me.