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UP the Down Economy! Chapter Four – Got an Advantage? Better USE It!

Refuse to be part of the slowdown. You’ve got the ambition, motivation, energy, and ingenuity. We’ve got some ideas to share. But start now – because he (or she) who hesitates is lost!

You’ve got an edge over for-profit wealth managers and advisors…are you using it?

As more of our prospects are making their charitable plans with estate-planning lawyers and professional advisors rather than with fundraisers from the nonprofits themselves, it’s a sad fact that we probably can’t compete with for-profit advisors on technical issues.

But starting from the premise that donors make planned gifts to support a particular charity or program, we fundraisers are actually the experts in a vital part the gift planning process: ensuring donors’ interests will be met.

You can win a seat at the table by showing the donor that making the charity part of the gift planning process is critical to the fulfillment of their own wishes.

  • For example, suppose a donor wants to endow a faculty Chair at their alma mater through a bequest by will. Since the gift may not be completed for another 20 years, who knows what changes may happen meanwhile? But the university’s development office can work with the donor’s advisors to structure the gift, and specifically the gift agreement, to accommodate contingencies so 20 years from now the donor’s wish will be fulfilled exactly as intended.

This is something we can do that for-profit advisors can’t match and this is no time to let such an advantage go to waste. So target the donor, sell the mission, and encourage loyal donors to ask their wealth planning professional to include the non-profit in any gift-planning discussions.

Because an advantage you don’t use is no different from no advantage at all.

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