Thursday, October 8, 2009

Planned Giving Made Simple for Smaller Institutions

One of the readers of this blog reminded me today of what I considered the best small charity planned giving effort story. It is simple and worth thinking about if you are trying to get a planned giving program going at a smaller place.

Early in my consulting work for United Jewish Communities, I visited with a group of smaller Jewish charities in the Catskills area for an open discussion about starting planned giving programs.

I was the guest speaker and didn't expect to be impressed by the planned giving efforts they were discussing.

But, one of the participants was from a synagogue that had made a consistent effort and to my surprise, it dawned on me how successful they were.

What was this great program? It was a simple "Tree of Life" effort that focused on estate commitments. What is so special about that?

Well, their board went through the pains of developing a plan to seek deferred commitments. They gave those who made bequest/estate plan commitments significant recognition in their lobby (on the brass leaves to the tree). They created an annual event with promotion within their community celebrating the new members to their Tree of Life campaign.

Bottom line: they created an ongoing program to seek these types of commitments (nothing complex) that worked year in and year out. Their volunteer accountants had some idea of the potential sizes of many of the gifts so their board had an idea of what the pipeline might be. They added charitable bequest planning to the culture and activities of the institution and their participation rate was very high.

That is all you need. Almost every synagogue I have seen has a Tree of Life but they never have anything to do with encouraging bequest commitments (except this one, of course). Sadly, I have watched as older members of various synagogues pass away in my community and never hear about bequests.

It takes more foresight than you think for a small, older institution make a long term commitment to encouraging estate plan commitments. That one in the Catskills told me that they had about half a million in expectancies and an unknown dollar amount, probably greater than the known amounts. They basically ensured their future by giving up a bit of today.

It is just a matter of getting it on the agenda and sticking to it.

1 comment:

angels with faith ministries said...

Angels with Faith Ministries is a small but MIGHTY 501c3 completely NON-PROFIT charity located in Georgia that gives 100% of every donation toward helping families ,children,disabled,elderly,Military etc who are in Crisis,need,after disasters & at holidays.We are all volunteers working to make a TRUE difference & unlike larger charities we do not pay administrative costs,salaries etc from donations because those donations are meant to truelly help those in true need & with our charity that is exactly where donations go.ALL donations are tax deductible for full fair market value & we accept Real estate of any kind,any condition(preferably in Georgia),Vehicles,Boats,Estates,also household needs such as furniture,clothing,baby & childrens needs,working appliances,anything in good & usable condition could be a treasure to someone in need.We have volunteers to pickup donated items in Georgia,donations can also be dropped off or mailed or made via paypal on either of our 2 websites which have been built & are run by volunteers.Our charity is growing so fast that we are in DIRE need of donated property in Northeast Georgia for a permanant site for our Charity/Church to run from.we are hoping for enough land on which to place donated mobile homes to house homeless families temporarily & military families when they come home from overseas etc & also enough land for our very successful Youth Groups of underprivileged & at risk teens & children so that we can build them a camp (hopefully with a fishing pond).We are currently running our charity/Church from our small 2 bedroom rental home & have outgrown it fast in 4 years,at Christmas we were blessed to have provided Christmas to over 1000 children in need & food for their families but could have helped so many more if space for donations would have allowed.If you have unwanted or unused property in teh Northeast Georgia area or maybe have inherited land in that area that you do not need your donation could help us help 1000s more families & children every year & Real Estate donations are tax deductible for up to 5 years for Full fair market value..For more information please visit our websites at or Our Federal EIN number is 27-1972461 Thank you & God Bless!! Lori Tuck,director 678-754-1541 Rev Michael Tuck,Pastor 678-754-2337