I was challenged by a colleague recently to write something using the concept that “nobody ever washes a rental car.”
But I disagree. Someone does wash rental cars — the companies that rent them! After all, at the prices rental companies charge, who among us would pay for a dirty car? Is there a lesson here for our planned giving program?
I think there is. When you meet with a prospect, is your organization in good enough shape to sell? Would your prospect be proud to endorse your mission? Does your planned giving program shine, just like a nice, new rental car?
What’s this mean in practical terms? When Avis and Hertz rent a car, they don’t just run it through the car wash and get it back on the lot. They detail the car — vacuum the interior and make sure the windows are clean. They record the car’s condition and check mileage to see if it’s due for oil. There’s a lot of “behind the scenes” before that car gets cycled back into the pool.
What’s the behind-the-scenes for your next planned giving calls? Do you have your bequest language up to date? Are your systems in place to pay out a gift annuity? Have you a legal contact ready to create your next trust? Do you have a solid grasp of the basics of your planned giving tools so you can recognize the opportunities when your prospect lays a folder full of stock certificates on the coffee table in front of you? Do you shine?
I’m sure that there are days you feel abused — just like that rental car. Your prospect needs something faster, your colleague wants to take a short cut, your boss ran over a procedure to get something done. But your job is to shine to that prospect — wash up and detail yourself and your office so when the next renter, er… prospect comes along, they’ll be thrilled with the ride!