August is Make-a-Will Month!

August 01, 2022 - by Jordanna Sussmann, Account Director

The goal of every direct marketing fundraising program is to produce current and long-term revenue. And the ultimate goal is to convert committed direct-response donors into planned-giving donors.

As leaving a lasting legacy takes center stage in August, we want to share five tips for your planned giving marketing efforts.

1. Focus on the most popular – and easiest – types of legacy gifts. The most common ways to leave a legacy gift are:

• In a will or trust
• From an IRA
• Through a charitable gift annuity
• From a donor-advised fund
• With appreciated stock

2. Language matters! Many people are not familiar with terms such as “Planned Gift” or “Bequest.”  Below are some simple language swaps that will better resonate with your donors and increase their chances of making a gift that will fund your organization’s work for years to come.

• Bequest—A gift in your will
• Charitable Gift Annuity—A gift that pays you income for life
• Charitable Gift from Your IRA—A gift that will reduce your taxes

3. Make it easy for the donor. Give donors the exact language to include in their will or trust. Don’t forget to include your organization’s tax identification numbers, too. We recommend providing sample language for donors to use in all of your planned giving marketing efforts.

4. Share stories. Many people may not think they are at a stage in life to make a legacy gift. Sharing testimonials from your donors’ peers who have made legacy gifts to your organization will encourage others to do the same.

5. Integrate on your website. Having a dedicated page on your organization’s website (or even a microsite) with more information like gift calculators and tools – and a main point of contact for donors to connect with – is key!

Bonus Tip: When selecting donors for planned giving marketing efforts, age shouldn’t be the only factor to consider. Sustainers, long-term donors, and donors with multiple gifts to your organization (at any giving level!) all are great prospects as these are some of your most dedicated supporters!


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