The planned giving program landscape is made up of an extraordinary variety of missions, sizes and philosophies. While there are no cookie-cutter answers to success, well-run programs do share numerous common elements. By reviewing these elements in three key areas, planned giving professionals can learn ways to better cultivate success for existing or newly established programs.  

Lay the Foundation

Strong and enduring monuments are built on solid foundations. Similarly, building a lasting and effective planned giving program requires laying down a durable foundation for your organization that is in sync with your mission.

Before embarking on any fundraising program- especially a planned giving program designed to help your organization long term- it is important to have clear vision and mission statements.

These guiding principles are key for your employees, volunteers and donors to help understand your core beliefs and establish the long-term direction that ultimately should guide daily operations.

Once it is clear what drives your organization’s mission, you can now develop a fundraising plan. This written plan outlines the goals and tactics needed to fund your mission and is important regardless of your organization’s size or level of sophistication. Without a written plan, it is far too easy to function constantly in panic mode as new needs arise.

When crafting your plan, think about the commitments you have made (and would like to make) to further your cause—and, just as importantly, the monetary amounts you foresee to need.

For the success of your organization, you will need to consider your short- and long-term goals and possible ways of funding them. 

Organizations draw upon many funding tactics, including events, annual drives, corporate and foundation grants, major donor solicitation, and bequests and life income planned giving programs. There is no shortage of ways to raise funds, but what types of gifts best further your mission?