Asking for Bequests

Getting Your Piece Of The Planned Giving Pie

To start a planned giving effort, begin with the planned gift that is easiest to ask for and to deal with once made: the charitable bequest. The charitable bequest accounts for 70% of the gifts and dollars attributed to planned giving. In tact, according to the Giving USA Annual Report, charitable bequests accounted for $22.8 billion or $0.08 of every philanthropic dollar in 2010. Bequests increased by 18.8 per cent over the prior year. According to the IRS, 1 in 5 estates claimed a charitable gift deduction.

What is a bequest? A bequest is a provision in a will or living trust which directs the executor of the will or trustee of the trust to distribute part of the assets the document controls to another person or charity.

Are you getting your piece of the planned giving pie?

Because bequests often transfer the largest gifts individual donors ever make to charity, there has been quite a bit of research about the process and who make the best probable donors. In short, affluent, better educated donors who are or have been married and have children are your best prospects. However, affluence is the least predictive attribute. People with modest estates often leave charitable bequests and should certainly be given the opportunity to do so.

Planned giving, even simple bequests, requires important preparation. You want to be ready to accept and process requests for information and notices of gifts expeditiously. Then, once you have donor-centered policies and procedures for accepting planned gifts in place, and a system to respond to inquiries established, it’s time to give people the opportunity to give.

To do this, you need a multi-channel, systematic messaging process. To receive a comprehensive marketing checklist to encourage bequests to your agency, email David Mersky.