Third in a Six-Part Series: What Should I Do If…?
It’s amazing to us how many organizations stop cultivating and stewarding planned giving donors after the donor stops giving cash gifts. The thinking is, “Okay, we’re locked in with an estate gift, and they aren’t giving anymore – so we’ll put them aside and maybe invite them to a yearly luncheon to make them feel good about us.”
Here’s the thing. You’re not “locked in.” In fact, according to Dr. Russell James, about 50% of estate plans get revoked. 50%! Why? Because you didn’t continue to tell the donor how they’re making a difference. You didn’t thank them for their years of giving and the fact they left you a legacy gift. In short, you didn’t show them the love they deserved.
It’s the opposite of being donor-centered, and it’s a symptom of not viewing your donors as part of your mission.
So if you find that your organization is not serving these donors properly, here’s what you do:

  1. Develop a 12-month communication plan based on the donor’s passions and interests. Just because they’re currently not giving makes no difference. These donors have made a commitment to you to leave a legacy gift. That is amazing! They deserve your love.
  2. Included in that 12-month plan, create one touch point per month that’s meaningful to the donor (program updates, thank you cards, holiday cards, phone calls, e-mails).
  3. If you have a legacy society, make sure it’s actually doing something. Make it meaningful. Lunch once per year is not enough.
  4. Invite the donor in to witness your mission first-hand, or take it to the donor by asking a program person to join you.
  5. Keep in touch with their financial advisor, giving them updates on your programs as well.
  6. Visit and check in on them if they would like you to.
  7. When considering your touch points for your donor, think about them personally, and use nostalgia and fond memories to make a meaningful connection.

This is what it looks like to care for your donors who have stopped giving yet have left you an estate gift. Considering donors as part of your mission means cultivating that relationship throughout the lifetime of the donor, not just their last gift. (Tweet it!)
Read the whole series, What Should I Do If…?

What If Leadership Is NOT Entirely on Board with a Donor-Centered Program?
What If I’m Trying to Upgrade a Mid-Level Donor and No One Has Ever Talked to Them?
What If My Older Donor Stops Giving, but They Tell Us They’ve Made a Planned Gift? (This post)
What If I’m Trying to Promote Better Collaboration Between Departments?
What If I Can’t Get a Donor to Talk to Me?