The Easiest Way to Explain Planned Gifts

Powerful donor stories are extraordinarily valuable because they make planned gifts so EASY to understand!

Unfortunately, most donor testimonials aren’t powerful … in fact, they read like obituaries. 

That’s nobody’s fault. It’s just the way it’s always been done—and old habits are hard to break.

Nearly every organization we work with agrees they need help developing powerful donor stories. They know good donor stories inspire other people. (PLUS they produce great quotes!)

That’s why we always offer to help our clients write rich and compelling stories that inspire planned giving donors.

At first, clients are relieved – even delighted.

They’re fundraisers, after all, not journalists. They don’t have time or the experience to interview donors and write compelling stories.

Yet, when we ask for their donors names and phone numbers so we can talk to the donor, there is a palpable sense of anxiety. 

“Do you have to do the interview? Can’t we do the interview and give you the notes … maybe we could be with you when you call the donor?”

First of all, you’re the client. So, yes. You can do whatever you want.

But there’s a reason we do the interviews – and I promise it gives you better results 

Here’s why: 

  • Donors need to have the freedom to answer truthfully. Some answers they aren’t comfortable giving to you.
  • We’re looking for answers to questions you’re not comfortable asking your donors.
  • Even if you have a remarkable relationship with the donor, there’s a filter in place that doesn’t exist with us (a neutral party).

I’ll give you an example. 

Recently, we spoke to a donor with the perfect profile:

  • Devoted to the cause. Check.
  • Intensely loyal. Check.
  • Connected to current board and staff. Check.
  • Grateful for all the organization has done. Check.
  • Committed to service and giving back. Check.
  • Planning a gift was easy and it makes him feel good to do it. Check.

Slam dunk!  The story practically writes itself.

But then … the donor opened up a little bit …

When we asked about the Legacy Society, this person was confused. “What Legacy Society?”

Never knew the organization had such a thing. 

And then the donor just kept talking …

(FUNDRAISERS: PAY ATTENTION HERE! This is insider info and it’s GOLD for those who will listen!)

“It’s about time someone did something about planned giving … “

“I’ve been wondering why I haven’t heard about this … “

“It’s a shame I didn’t know about this. I’m in touch with very successful people connected to this organization … I know they’re making gifts elsewhere …

“So much missed opportunity …”

And, when we asked what they wished they could tell their peers …

“This organization prepared us to live meaningful lives and have accomplished careers. People I met here are still my closest friends today. I owe a debt of gratitude … and a gift from my will is my way of making sure our tradition continues forever. If you feel as I do, you should include a gift in your plans.  It’s easy to do, and it feels great knowing you’ll do for others the same thing that was done for us. 

What’s the take away?

Probably something you already knew … but just got confirmed– you need to kick your marketing into high gear because your donors aren’t getting any younger. If you don’t tell them about planned gifts and ask them to leave you one, you’re bound to miss out.

But here’s the great news: you don’t have to ask on your own! Your current donors will do the work for you—when you let them tell their story.

When you ask your current donor to tell their story, you affirm you value them and that they made the right decision. Unfortunately, these donors are often ignored once they make a bequest intention! They feel isolated and maybe even disgruntled. 

Instead, you could make this person a spokesperson …

An advocate.  

A cheerleader.  

REAL donors inspire others … AND when you let a professional journalistic storyteller interview the donor and write their story, you’ll get the best results.

Do you want the BEST results from your donor stories? 

Please … let us write them for you.

  1. It’s great stewardship. Donors feel appreciated and important when a hired professional calls them and asks their opinion.
  2. An experienced interviewer asks thought-provoking questions that lead to interesting and revealing answers.
  3. Without a fundraiser present, donors are more likely to say what’s really on their minds (which helps YOU as the fundraiser understand what they need!)

Read more about what happens with powerful donor stories.

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