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 all know dreams do not always become realities. Do you recognize the reality in this true grand plan story? A couple of months ago, a development officer called with urgency in his voice and shared their organization now is very aware they must begin helping their members create their legacy gifts. The development officer shared that Carl was a member of their organization and was a single man with no close family. Carl had a deep passion for the mission of his favorite charity. (Do you sense where this story may be going?) Carl frequently shared that he planned to give his favorite charity everything, all he had, when he graduated from this life. He was so pleased he would continue being a part of his favorite charity’s mission far into the future, beyond his lifetime. When Carl passed away, his favorite charity received nothing! Carl’s dream and grand plan was created, but he never executed his plan.
Time for Action
The organization now has a three-part action plan for its members. The plan is a wise initiative for all nonprofits.
First, their members need to know, “I need a plan.” Second, they need to know, “I can create a plan.” Third, they need to know, “I can count on my favorite charity.”
I Need a Plan
All of us need reminders that we must plan ahead for our “graduation” from this life. Donor-friendly resources that are service-minded and motivational are essential reminders. Sharing stories inspires our donors to identify with others to plan their own future gifts. Keep the information fresh, new and consistently available. Inform using creative and engaging ways. You truly are marketing a valuable action. This service-minded approach to encourage your donors is foundational in this first step.
I Can Create a Plan
Providing educational resources for your donors enables them to be proactive, leading to their realization that creating a plan is doable, not daunting. “I can do this and I need to do this.” Your donors become inspired toward decisive actions for their own peace of mind and to make a difference for others. This education enlightens and leads them to begin evaluating their future wishes and those who are dear to them. Procrastination takes a back seat to action. Their “I can do this” thinking begins to evolve.
I Can Count on My Favorite Charity
Who is it that your donors can turn to for answers to questions? Who provides the next step to having their plans actually created, moving from dreams and scribbled notes to a reality? Who provides a workbook to guide the accumulation of the family information, the assets and liability lists and finally the distribution designees?
Their answer should be, “My favorite charity! They have resources and can help me.” The donor trusts the gift planner. The gift planner and donor discussions are confidential. The development person’s time and resources are free to the donor. The gift planner perhaps will encourage the donor to keep family members informed of the plans as they evolve. The donor may begin creating a family legacy of giving within the circle of their loved ones.
Working through the planning process can proceed at the donor’s pace with the gift planner’s encouragement available as needed. Their genuine caring and trust relationship is built. The nonprofit can be helpful by providing a list of at least three attorneys as referrals, in case the donor does not already have an established attorney relationship. The gift planner may prove to be very helpful through illustrations and discussions of different planned gift ideas with the donor and the donor’s trusted advisors. The donor will work with his or her attorney to draft the appropriate plan based on the donor’s goals and wishes.
Is your nonprofit poised to begin informing your constituents of the need to create their plans, educating them toward action and assisting in a meaningful way to turn plans into realities? Implement the three-part plan: “I need a plan,” “I can create a plan” and “I can count on my favorite charity.” This is truly a valuable service to your donors. You are helping bring peace of mind to your donors when they have their legacy plans finalized. You are doing much more than asking; you are caring!
Carl’s Story is Avoided
What a victory for donors and charities to have legacy plans created for the good of the donor, their loved ones and nonprofits. Dreams and grand plans are realized. Documents are created. Legacies are created. Meaningful missions continue happening. Donors and gift planners together contribute to our world becoming a better and better place!
By Sandra Henningsen
Assistant Vice President, Integrated Marketing, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.
July 9, 2020 6:30 AM PT
Great blog Sandra! God's blessings to Crescendo and you.
July 9, 2020 9:42 AM PT
Thank you for your encouraging words! Thank you especially for blessings for Crescendo and me! Together with you, counting our blessings and living generously.