Feb 2021 AFR: 0.6%
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The Crescendo Blog

Read the Crescendo blog for the latest changes, ideas and trends impacting charitable gift planning and philanthropy. Our blog features a number of writers on topics that include planned gifts and major gifts marketing, technology, donor motivation, stewardship and giving trends. If you have comments about our articles, please share them on our blog pages.

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Planned Giving Literature: A Design Course

Planned Giving Literature: A Design Course

Effective planned giving literature combines images and art, color and copy, to show your supporters your important work and mission. Thoughtfully written and well-designed literature can be a great teaching tool for donors at all stages of the learning and planning process.Personal Planning...

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The Greatest Lesson Ever Learned

The Greatest Lesson Ever Learned

I was scrolling through my LinkedIn account one day, when a particular post caught my attention. The post recounted about a teacher who desired to teach one of his business classes a valuable lesson. It is quite a profound story, and it has stuck with me for some time. I initially tried to imagine...

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Start 2021 with a Strong Planned Gifts Marketing Plan

Start 2021 with a Strong Planned Gifts Marketing Plan

All of us can reflect on 2020 and develop new goals to help us continue to make progress in the new year. A great way to start is by creating a strong planned gifts marketing plan to increase your visibility. Here are some steps to help you get started:Marketing ApproachThe first step is to...

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Data Guides Decisions in Planned Giving

Data Guides Decisions in Planned Giving

In our industry we are constantly looking for ways to improve our donor outreach.  Often times, we hope technology will help us achieve those efforts.  Many of us have undoubtedly sent out a large email blast and viewed the open and click-through rates to help us to determine those donors...

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Building Fully Invested Champions with Three Simple Words

Building Fully Invested Champions with Three Simple Words

Obtaining larger donations will likely require more than direct marketing appeals. While direct marketing has an important place in your overall fundraising efforts, it is one of many steps within a more comprehensive ‘moves management strategy/marketing funnel’. Direct marketing is part...

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Why You Should Start or Restart Your Planned Giving Program in 2021

Why You Should Start or Restart Your Planned Giving Program in 2021

The New Year is upon us. It will be here before you know it, and with 2021 comes uncertainty for nonprofit fundraising fueled by all of the changes over the last year. COVID-19 and social-distancing measures will continue to impact how charities reach and motivate their donors to give in the coming...

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Motivating Your Donors to Make Planned & Major Gifts - Three Case Studies to Consider

Motivating Your Donors to Make Planned & Major Gifts - Three Case Studies to Consider

Have you wondered if there are better ways for you to motivate your donors and prospects?  What principles exist for motivating donors and prospects to close significant gifts – planned and major gifts?Motivating donors for gifting can seem a mystery that needs unraveling. Perhaps we...

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Four Tips on Leading an Effective Fundraising Team

Four Tips on Leading an Effective Fundraising Team

Leading a team of fundraisers is not an easy task.  Maybe you lead a team of gift planners, major gift officers or an entire nonprofit development team. When leading a team there are many things to consider. For example, understanding each individual has a unique personality, positioning...

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IRA Charitable Rollovers Remain Beneficial

IRA Charitable Rollovers Remain Beneficial

As the end of 2020 nears, now is an opportune time to remind donors that IRA charitable rollovers remain a great charitable gift. This blog post will highlight basic information on IRA charitable rollovers, the effects of recent law changes and how charities can continue to promote IRA charitable...

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Creating a Planned Gifts Email Marketing Message

Creating a Planned Gifts Email Marketing Message

Email marketing is an effective and cost-efficient way to communicate with prospective and current donors. Creating an effective email marketing message for planned gifts is a key place to get started. Here are some important elements to help improve your email communications.Engaging Subject...

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Five Tips to Launch Your Planned Gifts Marketing

Five Tips to Launch Your Planned Gifts Marketing

Have you been asked to launch or restart a planned gifts marketing program? Perhaps your charity received an unexpected bequest gift or donors have notified you that your organization has been included in their estate plans. Often these are the reasons nonprofits begin proactively marketing planned...

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We Are at Our Best When We Serve Others

We Are at Our Best When We Serve Others

As we approach the halfway point of fall and round the corner toward the colder days of winter, we may find ourselves more and more socially distant as early sunsets and chilly nights drive us into our homes.  The moments where we might have been able to share a six-foot-apart laugh with our...

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Utilizing Your Mission Beyond the Statement

Utilizing Your Mission Beyond the Statement

Staying connected with donors during these uncertain times can be challenging, but one thing that will always resonate with them is your organization’s mission. While your mission statement should be brief, direct and compelling, there are many ways that you can highlight your mission beyond...

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Positive Effects of Low AFRs on Planned Gifts

Positive Effects of Low AFRs on Planned Gifts

This year, the Applicable Federal Rate (AFR) has reached a historic low of 0.4%. The AFR is used in the IRS’ prescribed present value calculations to determine the charitable deductions for various types of planned gifts. It is sometimes referred to as the Sec. 7520 rate or the rate of the...

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Seven Tips to Improve Donor Communication

Seven Tips to Improve Donor Communication

Non-profit organizations in 2020 have been given the challenge to progress further into the digital space. It has been a time of quick and creative thinking for those working with donors. The primary need I wish to address is the idea of conversational communication within a digital setting. Keeping...

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Three Things to Focus on When Converting Website Traffic Into Leads

Three Things to Focus on When Converting Website Traffic Into Leads

Let’s face it, by now we are all aware that in today’s world the windows of opportunity to meet and connect with donors are limited. Maybe the days of getting together for coffee or joining an afternoon social activity will return, but for now we are limited. As I was doing my dishes...

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Rounding Out Your Year-End Campaign with a Donor Survey

Rounding Out Your Year-End Campaign with a Donor Survey

The end of the year is approaching, and many nonprofit organizations are ramping up their fundraising efforts by conducting comprehensive giving campaigns. This may include direct mail appeals, a series of mass emails, a few Facebook posts, a handful of virtual events and many phone calls to get...

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Helpful Tips When Receiving Restricted Gifts

Helpful Tips When Receiving Restricted Gifts

In uncertain times such as these, charities are grateful for all of the charitable gifts they receive. However, charities must be cognizant of the effects of receiving restricted or unrestricted gifts. This post will define restricted and unrestricted gifts, discuss what charities can do to avoid...

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How to Design for a Virtual Conference

How to Design for a Virtual Conference

As we all continue to shift and adapt to new challenges, there are great opportunities to find success in new types of media. With planned giving efforts shifting more towards digital marketing, finding creative ways to use existing tools becomes important. The recent move to virtual meetings,...

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An Interview with The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

An Interview with The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Are you new to the development or gift planning world and feeling a little overwhelmed? Have you been in fundraising for years, but could perhaps use a fresh perspective? How about we pause a moment from our hectic lives and learn from someone who has been in the trenches and has learned valuable...

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Tips and Tricks for Making Your Plan

Tips and Tricks for Making Your Plan

For many organizations, it is the start of a new fiscal year. This is a great time to review your planned gifts marketing plan and determine what has worked for you in the past and make changes to things that may not have had the desired outcome.In this blog, we will explore different marketing...

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Tips for Creating a Compelling Planned Giving Email

Tips for Creating a Compelling Planned Giving Email

Are you looking for ideas to create a compelling planned giving email that will engage your donors to support your cause? It can be a daunting process to find new and exciting content to send to your supporters on a regular basis. This is especially true right now when donors are...

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Segmentation Makes It Personal

Segmentation Makes It Personal

In 1988, a friend of mine decided to pass my contact information along to an organization that supports retired people. They blanketed me with all sorts of print literature ranging from retirement savings tips to lodging discount coupons. I was well on my way towards significant senior living,...

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What Should You be Talking About with Your Donors Right Now?

What Should You be Talking About with Your Donors Right Now?

The world is in a constant state of flux. Some places are coming out of COVID-19, while others are seeing a resurgence. Many of us continue to work from home. Donors are still spending a majority of their time at home too. What does this mean for giving and planned gifts in particular?It’s...

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4 Ways to Connect with Donors During COVID-19

4 Ways to Connect with Donors During COVID-19

During these uncertain times, gift planners have to get creative with how to connect with others. Social distancing has eliminated face-to-face visits, so it is important to find new ways to interact and stay connected with your donors. With modern technology, phone...

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Will Dreams Become Realities?

Will Dreams Become Realities?

Who does not dream? Who does not have grand plans? Take a moment to think of one of your dreams that has become a reality – your marriage, your career, your charitable contribution that is making a difference. I can almost see your smiles from here!But, we...

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Fighting the Coronavirus Using Technology

Fighting the Coronavirus Using Technology

The novel coronavirus has drastically changed the way we live our lives. It has changed the way we work, communicate, exercise, travel, eat and many other essential everyday tasks. Since it first hit the U.S., individuals in the technology sector have endeavored to use the tools at their disposal to...

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Eight Ways to Efficiently Manage Your Time During the Work Day

Eight Ways to Efficiently Manage Your Time During the Work Day

If you are now raising planned gifts from home, you may be struggling with efficiently managing your time. Have you found yourself bombarded with emails, meetings, appointments, phone calls, various projects and tasks? At the end of the day, you may think about the list of things you had to put off...

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Tips to Get your Planned Giving Program on Track

Tips to Get your Planned Giving Program on Track

In life, we often find ourselves wearing new hats. We may not be as familiar with the new expectations our work brings. Planned giving may be one of those new tasks that has become part of your job description.Perhaps you have an existing planned giving program that needs help or your organization...

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7 Ways to Proactively Encourage your Donors

7 Ways to Proactively Encourage your Donors

According to the 2018 Giving USA report, 68% of total charitable giving came from individuals. This is down 1.1% from 2017 and it is the first year it fell below 70% in the past 50 years. A study from The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy reports the number of households...

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