Tag Archives: charitable estate planning

THE LISTENING HABIT: The Donor’s Story and the Organizational Story

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Many companies are attempting to brand themselves as having a deeply embedded culture of listening. I really don’t know if these companies and their employees actually listen to their clients and constituents any better than their competitors or if the listening promotion is merely a marketing slogan. What I do know is this: In thousands of conversations with donors over the years, I have come to realize that often THE DONOR’S STORY is just as important as your organizational story. Occasionally, it is FAR MORE IMPORTANT. Continue reading

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STRATEGIC PLAN FOR FUND DEVELOPMENT—PART ONE: From the Big Ideals to the Nitty-gritty Details

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Over the last two years, I’ve been asking organizational leaders privately and publically if they have a strategic plan specifically for the fund development aspect of their organization. At a recent conference, I put that question to over 700 fundraisers. Only three raised their hand. The lack of response to this very informal survey and my follow-up conversations seem to beg two questions: 1) Is a list of fundraising goals the same as a strategic plan for fund development and 2) what difference does it make? Continue reading

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THE FAMILY STORY: Recognizing Our Opportunities for Legacy Gifts

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For ages on end, people have derived their sense of place and purpose in the context of multi-generational family stories. Unfortunately and for various reasons, fewer and fewer have that experience today. In this blog I talk about my 12-year involvement in the gatherings of one exceptional family of donors and about one important lesson for planned giving executives.  Continue reading

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BEATING THE ODDS: Five Donor-Relations Strategies That Impact Bequest Fulfillments

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In the previous blog I explained why the fulfillment rate of donor bequests was either good news or bad news, depending primarily on whether or not organizational leaders truly believe they can have a positive influence on revocable commitments. I want to finish my thoughts about bequest retention with a few practical suggestions on how the best fund-development departments beat the odds and prove that the negative statistics do not apply to them. Continue reading

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NONPROFIT BATTING AVERAGE: Increasing Your Organization’s Bequest Retention Rate

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The results of a twenty-year survey among donors with charitable gift commitments in their estate plans revealed that the retention rate at the ten-year mark was about 55%. In other words, almost half the respondents reported that they no longer had a charitable gift in their estate plans. Somewhere in that ten-year period they had revoked the revocable bequest. That survey constitutes either bad news or good news, depending on whether your organization has a progressive or regressive perspective. The follow post explains how and why. Continue reading

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A GENERAL THEORY OF FUND-DEVELOPMENT: Five Decisions that Keep Your Organization on the Front Side of the Momentum Curve

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Over the last few years I’ve posted a lot of articles on various aspects of the fund-development process. Some articles zoom in on one specific aspect of donor relations while others are more big-picture applications. In this article, I want to distill out from the whole of our ongoing conversations five big ideas about fund-development, which in one way or another contribute to the single-most identifiable characteristic of highly successful institutions. Continue reading

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GREAT CONVERSATIONS: The Foundation of Great Donor Relationships

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In previous posts I’ve talked about the importance of regular and meaningful conversations with donors. All those thoughts are a result of the one sure thing I know—great donor conversations are the essential foundation of great donor relationships. Rarely does the latter occur without the former. It’s that simple. And so, if your goal is to have a long and successful career as a fundraiser, then the focus of your professional development should be to become an expert conversationalist. Continue reading

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