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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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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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American Council on Gift Annuities Announces New Rates

American Council on Gift Annuities Announces New Rates

The ACGA is a nonprofit organization formed in 1927 to aid and educate charities regarding Charitable Gift Annuities (CGAs) and other planned gifts. The organization periodically publishes suggested maximum charitable gift annuity payout rates, which are followed by about 97% of organizations...

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New Deduction Rules Raise Questions

New Deduction Rules Raise Questions

The recently-enacted CARES Act added two temporary provisions regarding the deductibility of cash gifts. First, the Act added a $300 above-the-line deduction for nonitemizers. Second, the cash deduction limit for itemized deductions was temporarily increased from 60% of adjusted gross income (AGI)...

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A Go-To-Guide for Crafting Legacy Enewsletters

A Go-To-Guide for Crafting Legacy Enewsletters

If you are like most people, you are dealing with a myriad of new issues and responsibilities as a result of COVID-19 and working from home. Adding a “legacy enewsletter” to your list of to-dos for the week might seem like a daunting task. However, with donors creating and updating wills...

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Strategies to Help Your Donors Understand How to Stand with You in Your Mission

Strategies to Help Your Donors Understand How to Stand with You in Your Mission

There is no doubt that this is a challenging time for everyone, including your donors. During this time of hardship, another marketing approach could be creating passion for your mission.Ultimately, this means creating champions for your cause. In an article published during the financial crisis...

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Tips for Stress Management: Finding Balance during COVID-19

Tips for Stress Management: Finding Balance during COVID-19

COVID-19 has created many disruptions and changes to the personal and work lives of millions of Americans.  If you are like most people, you find these kinds of disruptions stressful. It is common for gift planners today to wear multiple hats, such as raising planned gifts, major gifts and...

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How to Educate Your Donors with a Motivational Proposal

How to Educate Your Donors with a Motivational Proposal

Even during these difficult times for all of us, your donors and friends want to continue partnering with your mission to make a difference. What a privilege you have to help them manage their gifts to meet both their wishes and your mission's needs. We hear inspiring reports of individuals...

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Working from Home as a Gift Planner

Working from Home as a Gift Planner

In these odd and unpredictable times, we have all had to make adjustments. If you were a regular at your favorite coffee shop, you may have had to learn how your coffee pot works.  If you are an avid sports fan, you have been forced to find other programs to watch on television.  Saturday...

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Why Market Enewsletters?

Why Market Enewsletters?

We delete “junk email” or spam for good reason. We are not interested what is being offered. But, what happens when we come across an email that appeals to our interests? Well, that is a different story.Personally, I look forward to receiving emails from writers I value. If I receive...

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Charitable Remainder Unitrust Basics

Charitable Remainder Unitrust Basics

Prior to the SECURE Act, inherited IRAs for nonspouse beneficiaries could be distributed over the beneficiary’s life expectancy. This strategy was often referred to as a “stretch” IRA.  Now, inherited IRAs and other qualified plans must be paid out over a maximum term of ten...

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How You Can Engage Your Donors

How You Can Engage Your Donors

Now might be the perfect time to think about conducting a donor survey. Feedback from our donors is crucial to understanding not only what their desires are, but it's also a great way to gauge how we are performing as an institution in their eyes.This kind of feedback can be invaluable to an...

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3 Steps to Successfully Market Planned Gifts on Facebook

3 Steps to Successfully Market Planned Gifts on Facebook

Nonprofits have many different communication tools available to engage with planned giving donors. Baby boomers and seniors are more active on the internet - specifically social media - than ever before.According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 70% of U.S. adults age 50-64 use Facebook. That...

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Ways You Can Connect with and Reassure Your Donor Friends

Ways You Can Connect with and Reassure Your Donor Friends

I received a phone call from a nonprofit I have been supporting for over 10 years. They thanked me for my support and let me know they were praying for me.They also wanted to reassure me that their mission was unmovable and unchanged. And now, more than ever, they are doing all they can to provide...

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Graphic Design for the Greater Good

Graphic Design for the Greater Good

Throughout history, design has played a critical role in communicating messages to the public in times of uncertainty or crisis. To be sure, the dissemination of information through visual means has been one of the most effective and efficient ways to relay messages quickly in modern human history....

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Meaningful and Personal Donor Contacts

Meaningful and Personal Donor Contacts

Your website is a primary motivation and education opportunity. During this challenging time, it is especially important to remember that your donors move forward and stay with you when they feel valued, appreciated, are kept engaged with your mission and when they have a sense of belonging.Now is...

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CARES Act - Three Big Changes

CARES Act - Three Big Changes

On March 27, 2020, the House and Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. There are three big changes that came out of the CARES Act that you should be aware of: Cash Gifts – Individuals may deduct $300 above-the-line. This charitable deduction enables a...

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