Astounding Facts About Estate Giving

Because August is “Make A Will” month, I’ve been writing each week about how you can encourage your donors to designate your nonprofit in their will.

Last week I focused on the importance of using phrases that work better than our industry estate-giving language.

Now, I’d like to convey certain facts that can guide you to raising more planned-giving revenue.

Astounding Facts

  1. The most common type of planned gifts are “bequests,” which are gifts made through a will or trust.

    More than 85% of planned gifts are bequests. Other types of planned gifts include IRA designations, life insurance gifts, charitable lead trusts, and more, but none of them are as easy or impactful as gifts made through a will or trust.

    Therefore, focus your efforts on asking donors to designate your agency in their will.

  2. One of the biggest barriers to securing planned gifts is that many people don’t have a will or any estate planning at all.

    Fewer than 50% of baby boomers have a will, and less than 40% of parents have one.

    The top reason people haven’t made a will is simply: “I haven’t gotten around to it.” This is a huge opportunity to help your supporters understand why creating a will is important and how they can use it to generously support the causes they care about, like yours.

  3. People who plan to leave bequests increase their annual giving by an average of 75% in subsequent years.

    The takeaway is that planned-giving donors are loyal to your nonprofit, and in an age when donor retention is in free-fall, that alone is an astounding fact!

    Further, in the next two decades baby boomers will leave behind $30 trillion in assets. This is the largest wealth transfer in human history and may be the biggest opportunity for philanthropy in the history of the world.

    Planned giving generates about $40 billion for nonprofits each year — an amount expected to double in the next decade based on changing demographics.

  4. People who don’t have children and have given steadily to your agency are more likely to respond to a planned-giving appeal.

    All of your supporters have the potential to make planned gifts, but research shows that a few attributes make someone more likely to support your organization in their estate: not having children and having a long history of giving to you. Yet organizations also frequently receive planned gifts from people who have never donated before, so it’s wise to cast a broad net.

  5. Planned gifts are significant.

    Bequests are up to 1,000 times larger than a donor’s typical donation. The average bequest on FreeWill.com is $78,000, often from middle-class donors.

Use This Sentence

Here’s a simple sentence that you can use with your donors:

I hereby give, devise, and bequeath $_____ or_____% of the net proceeds after my estate is settled, to [Insert your nonprofit’s name], Federal Tax ID number [insert your nonprofit’s FTID], located at [insert your nonprofit’s mailing address], for its general use and purpose.

For more information, contact Executive Director [insert name and contact info] or Advancement Officer [insert name and contact info].

Don’t Believe Me?

By now you know that I’m a huge fan of FreeWill.com. In fact, you can read FreeWill’s second annual Planned Giving Report, which analyzes data from more than 80,000 wills created with their free online tool during the past year. In this in-depth report, the site highlights trends across age, gender, marital status, geography, and other key metrics like pet ownership. Also included is a brand-new section detailing the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on planned gifts.

Please share this post with a colleague who may appreciate it. 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Posts

Include Your Board Members In Your Year-End Giving Plan

Year-end giving is on all fundraisers’ minds right now—we all want to have the best returns possible. Last week, we described what’s ahead for year-end giving in 2022; you can read about that here. Over the next few weeks, I’ll examine various aspects of year-end giving, including the Thanksgiving Thank-A-Thon, year-end appeal letters, and the crucial last four days of the year. Stay tuned.   Today, let’s look at some tips for inviting your board to play a leadership role in your year-end drive. It’s our job as fundraisers to make it easy for board members to participate in fundraising,

Read More »

What’s Ahead In Year-End Giving?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA, Michael Taylor, CFRE, Brooke Bryant, CFRE, Alison Plott, MFA, Alexa Strautmanis, Alyssa Greengrass, MA, and Evan Northup, CFRE. Today’s blog post is a team effort as required by such an unwieldy subject: what’s ahead in year-end giving for 2022? We seven contributors are all senior fundraisers at LAPA Fundraising, and we’ve been pondering this question since spring. You can see our bios here. This is what we project for your 2022 year-end fundraising: Market Volatility We’ve been tracking market volatility, wondering what it will be like a years-end. Of note, we’re ending the year without

Read More »

Tips For Becoming The Best Fundraiser You Can Be

You are the most important aspect of your fundraising program, not the latest software, not the latest research findings, not the latest prospect research tactic. Solely, you. Without you, all the rest is grist for the mill. These tips drawn from my own recent professional development experiences may inspire you. Here goes.: Sometimes you must forget everything and start anew. What worked before may not work now. Ask yourself what would it take to clear the decks and try a brand-new approach? Of course, we don’t want something new just for the novelty of it. We want something new to

Read More »

A Nifty Tool To Improve Fundraising Copy

“Books are well written or badly written. That is all.” Well, whatever aesthetic criteria Oscar had in mind when talking about literature, we can now scientifically say the same for fundraising copy. All I’ve ever done is write copy (I mean, I’ve done other stuff with my life, but not for a living). But it’s only in the past year, since testing and launching the Copy Optimizer, I’ve had any objective criteria by which to assess whether anything I wrote was good or bad. In the fundraising world good or bad is defined by response rate. But despite endless drafts and rounds

Read More »