Are you old enough to remember watching Sesame Street on TV when you were a kid? Well, boys and girls, today’s blog is brought to you by the letter “i”.
If I were to give the gift of knowledge to new planned giving fundraisers, my biggest gift would be to teach them the difference between “The Two i’s”…
If you focus on one ‘i’, you raise lots of money and create joyful donors.
If you focus on the other, you bore your prospects, lose your own credibility and blow your chance at the legacy gift.
So, what are these two i’s? And why do they matter so much? Let’s reveal them, shall we?
The first ‘i’ is INSTRUCTION. This is the word that way too many fundraisers focus on when they talk to donors and prospects about making bequests. These fundraisers think it’s their job to teach their legacy prospects (most of whom are over age 60!) how to make wills, do taxes and plan finances.
This is a big mistake for two reasons. First, it talks about money rather than what the donor cares about – namely your cause and mission. Secondly, you presume (as a charity may I remind you!) to offer financial advice to people who have been managing their own finances for decades. I’ve watched donors look at – and react to - planned giving materials in focus groups. You should see the looks on their faces when charities start telling them how to manage their money. In short, they get VERY pissed off!
Which brings us to the second ‘i-word’, which is INSPIRATION. Now, while your donors don’t want you to talk about financial planning, they’re dying for you to show them how a legacy gift can change the world for the better.
You see, these are good people we’re talking about here. They care about humankind, the environment and our animal friends. They have big hearts. They want to help – and they want to make their mark on the world.
Your job as a fundraiser is to offer that INSPIRATION, and to show what a beautiful and noble gesture a legacy gift can be.
So, how do you actually go about inspiring donors? That’s a subject for another blog, but here’s a taste that might get you started…
The takeaway from all this is simple: There are two words that start with the letter I that you can employ to communicate legacy giving to your donors and supporters. When you INSTRUCT them, you’re headed down the wrong path. When you set out to INSPIRE them, you’re well on your way to beautiful outcomes!
Fraser Green is a passionate organizer/campaigner/evangelist who believes that we connect with each other by listening closely and telling kickass stories. Fraser has been an owner (and big-time smartypants) at Good Works since 1996. Fraser is the author of ‘3D Philanthropy’, the co-author of ‘Iceberg Philanthropy’ and a contributing author to the book ‘MeVolution’. He is a sought-after speaker at fundraising conferences in Canada, the USA and Europe.