Planned Giving – The Age Ceiling

Planned Giving – The Age Ceiling

  Recently, we did a large sample national survey of donors in the United States. We asked a wide variety of questions and we will be blogging about some of the donors’ responses. This is our third blog on planned gifts. One question that is often debated in developing a model for identifying planned giving prospects is whether there is an age ceiling. The results from our survey seems to suggest there is. Once a donor reaches the age of 75, their likelihood to consider adding a charity is half of what a donor under 75 years is. Of course, you may have to wait longer to realize the gift. But your likelihood of securing the gift will be higher if you target donors under...
Planned Giving – Lowering the Bar

Planned Giving – Lowering the Bar

As I mentioned in my last blog, we recently did a large sample national survey of donors in the United States. We asked a wide variety of questions and we will be blogging about some of their answers over the next few weeks. This is our second blog on planned gifts. Check out this graph: Not surprisingly, the higher the annual income of the donor, the higher the probability they have already included a charity in their estate plan (blue bar). But what’s surprising is that the biggest opportunity for winning new estate gifts (orange bars) are from donors in the $75,000-$250,000 annual income group. Usually, most charities go after their most wealthy donors when prioritizing estate gifts prospects. Our survey data shows that if we lower the income bar we will close more estate...
Planned Giving – An Untapped Resource

Planned Giving – An Untapped Resource

Recently, we did a large-sample national survey of donors in the United States. We asked a wide variety of questions and we will be blogging about some of their answers over the next few weeks. The first blog is on the untapped resource for planned gifts. In our survey, over one-third of respondents indicated that they currently do not have a charitable gift in their will or estate but would consider adding one. Strikingly, that was twice as many people as those who indicated they have already included a charity in their estate. Think about that. That means potentially for every planned gift you have already secured, there are two more out there just waiting on you to ask them. If you don’t already have a plan to land more planned gifts from your donors, you really need to make that a...
3 Steps to Improve Development Staff Retention

3 Steps to Improve Development Staff Retention

Our last blog (here) generated quite a few comments – though because of the sensitivity of the topic, most comments came directly to me rather than being posted publicly on our blog’s website. Thanks to all for sharing their thoughts. I’ve boiled down the comments into three steps that any nonprofit organization can take to drastically improve the retention of their development staff: 1. Always include your development staff in discussions when setting revenue goals. There are two clear reasons for this. First, if the organization wants the development staff to own the goals, they need to be part of the process. Revenue goals mandated from above will never be owned. Second, the development staff has the best handle on donor performance trends, and they know what the file can actually generate. Donor files are like actuarial life expectancy data that life insurance companies use to set premiums. Creating goals without using this knowledge is setting the organization up for failure. 2. Any revenue goal increase must be accompanied by a corresponding increase in the development department’s budget. “Ex nihilo nihil fit” (from nothing nothing comes) is a philosophical thesis first argued by Parmenides. Translated into our context: “You won’t raise more money if you don’t spend more money.” It never ceases to amaze me how many nonprofit organizations increase revenue goals without increasing development budgets. Nonprofit organizations, this is totally demoralizing to development staff. Stop it. 3. If your nonprofit organization is going to hold the development staff accountable to achieving the revenue goal, then the development staff must have total autonomy over how they spend their development...
The Pandemic of Development Turnover

The Pandemic of Development Turnover

You may have noticed a lot of Linked-In promotions for a new book by Jason Lewis titled The War for Fundraising Talent (you can read the Amazon reviews here https://www.amazon.com/War-Fundraising-Talent-Small-Shops/dp/1619848694). It’s great to see the author address the biggest problem in the nonprofit sector: Development staff turnover! Any of us on the consulting side of the nonprofit vertical have seen the struggle for nonprofit organizations to find and retain talented development staff. Two years is about the average tenure of a development professional. During the person’s first year, they are learning the job (and the insurmountable problems they are asked to solve without any resources) and then the second year they spend looking for a new job. Sadly, the consultants and agencies often end up being the “keeper” of institutional knowledge. And that’s just not right. Along with cutting new donor acquisition budgets, development turnover is the biggest problem in the nonprofit sector. Both of these problems suffer from the same root challenge: Shortsightedness. I’ve never worked on the nonprofit side, but I’d love to hear from those who have and what their ideas are for solving this pandemic. Share your thoughts...