In my last post, I wrote about how important it was to follow up on a planned giving lead and to allocate the necessary resources it takes to go through them.
The whole point of “lead generation” for planned giving is to help awaken your donor base to the fact that if they love your mission so much, there’s an opportunity for them to leave a lasting impact on that mission well beyond their death.
Some of those “leads” that come back to you, whether online or through the mail, are serious. And some are not. But you have an obligation if you’re going to create these leads and, if you’re a donor-centered organization, to follow up with them.
This brings me to qualifying leads.
How do you actually qualify a planned giving lead? Here’s a step by step process.
But first, I want to reiterate something from my last post about who should be qualifying these leads.
Richard and I firmly believe that if you’re large enough to staff the planned giving program properly, you need to have a planned giving associate to do your qualifying. Otherwise, you’re having a Planned Giving Officer, with a much larger salary, spending way too much of their time doing that rather than being out with donors and closing gifts.
Here’s what you need to do and ask, in order to qualify a planned giving lead:
- Contact the donor (lead) saying you’re following up on a communication THEY sent back to your organization. Ask for a few minutes of their time on the phone. Do this within 48 hours of receiving the lead.
- Remind the donor (lead) what they sent to you. They might not remember.
- Try to find out if they are currently married and have children.
- Do they have an existing planned gift, if not with your charity, then with another?
- Are they members of a planned giving or bequest society?
- Do they have investments?
- Do they have a graduate degree?
- Do they attend church?
- Ask questions about the donor’s answers that you initially received. Try to get the donor to tell you more from what they wrote. Ask: “Can you talk about what’s important to you about our charity?” “Why do you feel this is a good time for you to make a planned gift?” “Would you be open to a meeting with someone in our office to discuss further?”
If you can get the donor (lead) to identify several answers to these questions, THEN you can pass this off to a Planned Giving Officer as a qualified lead and set up a visit.
If your planned giving program is going to be successful, your Planned Giving Officer cannot meet with every lead that comes in. (Tweet it!) Remember, this is why many leads are gathering dust. The PGO can’t get to them.
Therefore, it’s essential to qualify them first. Your close rate will be much higher, and your PGO will be doing the work you really want them doing.