Sustainable Long-Term Fundraising with Planned Giving Programs

Planned giving programs can be a sustainable long-term component of your nonprofit's fundraising strategy. But with a confusing array of jargon – charitable gift annuities (CGAs), charitable remainder annuity trusts (CRATs), actuarial determination, and so on – knowing where to start is daunting. Below are resources explaining the types of planned giving programs, how to market planned giving, and sample appeal letters to get your organization on the path to fundraising for the long-term.


Start a Planned Giving Program

The NAIS Planned Giving Primer (National Association of Independent Schools, 2015): Outlines ten steps to establishing a planned giving program.

Planned Giving 101: The Legacy a Donor Leaves Behind (The Nonprofit Marketing Blog, 2015): A quick overview of planned giving, including simpler approaches such as bequests in wills and your organization being listed as a beneficiary in the life insurance policy of the donor.

Securing Endowments and Planned Giving Arrangements (Community Toolbox, University of Kansas): Thorough explanation of each planned giving type, plus the administrative systems it takes to manage planned giving programs, and how to setup your internal workings to accommodate planned giving.

National Association of Charitable Gift Planners: Professional association's website with both free and paid resources.

Nonprofit Planned Giving: A Complete Guide (Sumac, a CRM software company): A beginner's rundown of the what, why, and how of initiating a planned giving program.


Market a Planned Giving Program

To convey the long-term significance and meaningfulness of the donor's gift in support of your mission, you& need to solid marketing strategy for approaching subjects like the lasting legacy of having a building or program named after the donor or the tax deduction advantages to the living donor before the deferred gift occurs after their death.

Planned Giving Toolkit (California Community Foundation, 2012): Starter kit of the steps to starting a planned giving program with a helpful section on alternative language for avoiding the subject of death in your marketing materials. Includes sample appeal letters and thank you letters.

Demystifying Planned Giving Marketing: Secrets for Success (Kathryn W. Miree & Associates, Inc., 2005): Written with universities in mind, outlines eight steps to crafting a marketing plan for your planned giving program. Includes sample marketing plan. 

Planned Giving video course (University of California-Davis on "Learn to identify and assess prospective donors, recognize planned giving benefits to your donors, match a donor’s interests and needs with the appropriate planned giving options, and structure a successful solicitation."