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October Newsletter

Quotes for today: The test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members. Pearl S. Buck

National Debt Ever wonder what your share of the nation debt is? The total debt as of November 3, 2009 was $11,907,879,929,313.07 divide that number by 307,851,141 million people and that is your share. National Debt clock. US Population clock.

47% of households (71 million Americans) owe no tax and their ranks are growing. The vast majority of households making up to $30,000 fall into this category, as do nearly half of all households making between $30,000 and $40,000.


Marketing with Professional Advisors McLeod Foundation, Florence, SC believes in putting their professional advisor council to work. They ask each member to write a short article on estate planning. Then they put it on their web site and give the advisor 50 postcards to send to their clients announcing the article and the topic. Clients are encouraged to view the article on the web site. This marketing technique is designed to drive traffic and new prospects to the web site.


End of Year Gift Strategies Every Advisor Can Suggest to Clients Each year I prepare year end gift strategies for professional advisor groups. This year it covers 11 basic and advanced gifting techniques. Gift annuity strategies are featured. For a PDF file click this 18 page handout link.


Five Star Towns for Military Retirement The November issue of Where to Retire magazine listed the top five star towns for military retirement as Sierra Vista, Arizona: Williamsburg, Virginia; Shreveport - Bossier City, Louisiana; San Diego, California; Fayetteville, North Carolina; San Antonio, Texas; Panama City Florida and Annapolis, Maryland. PGO in these area should learn about the unique pension and health care benefits of military retirees. Military retirees make great volunteer spokespersons for your legacy programs.


"I need to think about it!" Are these words familiar to you? It is a sales objection used by many prospects. It normally means, "I have an objection, but I'm not willing to tell you what it is." You are fundamentally dealing with either the prospect's lack of trust in you as a planned gift officer or the prospect's embarrassment over another reason not to complete the agreement. The PGO has some alternatives to this type of objection. You want to continue the conversation, build more trust and uncover the real objection. This is when you need be kind and ask the prospect probing questions such as the following.

"On a scale of one to 10, how do you feel about a gift annuity (or charitable trust)? Usually the answer is something between "five and nine." Now, we are getting somewhere, because the prospect just revealed that in some way, he or she considers the gift annuity less than ideal.

"OK, tell me about the good things, the reasons you put this in the upper part of the range." What do you like about the gift annuity? "Now tell me the reasons you don't feel it's a 10? After you have the reasons you can explore them in more depth.

Let's suppose the prospect gave the answer of "10." OF course you would be pleased but surprised that someone would consider the gift annuity a 10 and not want to sign up for an agreement. Usually the problem is not really a gift annuity issue but a relationship issue.

Relationship issue are difficult to uncover and is not easy to overcome. The relationship issue we are talking about is not between you and the prospect but most often your Charity and the prospect. Perhaps the following conversation would be helpful. "Let's suppose that tomorrow you find out that you have just won $50,000 in a lottery or inherited $50,000, totally unexpected, with no string attached. Where do you feel would be the best place to put that money, this gift annuity agreement or where you have money today?" This type of question gets to the heart of the relationship issue. If the prospect says he/she would put it into a gift annuity then you can ask "What is the concern about putting some of your existing money is a gift annuity?" At this point most individuals begin to reveal the relationship issues perhaps moving money from an existing investment advisor.

At this point the prospect may be expressing a natural caution signaling I must check this gift annuity concept our for myself before I jump in. This is where peer group advertising in your in-house publications of individuals who have benefited from the gift annuity concept proves to be valuable. "Let me give you these helpful articles. Feel free to read them at your leisure and call me with any questions." The problem is once the appointment is over, the prospect is often not motivated enough to really check on the gift annuity concept. So leave the prospect several full page endorsements showing there really are others who have used gift annuities to solve real life problems.

Many prospects need time to sleep on their decisions and you must respect that. It is his/her money and the PGO must want them to feel comfortable with their decision. If you have a gift annuity application form you might want to fill it out in detail before you leave so you can finish the paperwork in your office.

I need to think about this objections ar truly very tough to address. You need to have a well rehearsed plan in order to work through it successfully or you will get derailed.


Planned Giving Mentor - Mining the Gold from Current Donors from the October 2004 issue of Planned Giving Mentor reprinted below or link to PDF file

Successful marketing strategists teach success is the result of following a solid “Market Penetration” strategy. For the PGO this means success comes first from the identification, cultivation and solicitation of current donors. It also involves offering existing planned gift opportunities to your naturally existing market. All to often a PGO may get caught up in the excitement of creating new products and bringing them to new individuals but this means they will be pursuing a much more difficult “Market Diversification” strategy.

To begin the PGO should work closely with the gift records individual or department to understand how gifts are classified and recorded. Here detail is important as the PGO needs to abstract from the entire donor universe a list of valid planned gift “suspects;” so he/she can further refine the universe to qualified planned gift “prospects;” so they may eventually become certified members of the planned gift donor society.

Knowledge of the how the donor base may be segmented will help the PGO decide which planned gift program, technique or strategy will be a natural fit to the characteristics of the donor base. Successful planned giving lies in developing close donor relationships with qualified planned gift “prospects” and soliciting them strategically.

Donors may be classified in several different ways depending on the nature of the charity and the capabilities of the data base software. Key donor classifications to examine are: total cumulative gift amounts, average annual gift amount, gift type, gift frequency, and the type of gift appeal which generated the contribution.

Some charities have more extensive donor base characteristics than others and will have key personal demographic data to help refine the potential “suspect” universe. Colleges can easily segment individuals based on the age of graduates from school records and/or graduating class. Hospitals may easily segment former patients using patient demographic records. Other charities without clear personal demographic data will have a more difficult time identifying their “suspect” universe.

Research and experience has shown consistency of giving is an important key indicator of an individual’s ownership in the mission of the charity. Not surprisingly it is not the dollar value of contributions but the number and consistency of gifts that is the strongest indicator of a potential planned gift prospect. Remember as individuals progress thru different stages of their financial life cycle it is not surprising annual contribution amounts may decline as they enter retirement years. A good gifts recorder will spot this change and bring the individual to the attention of the PGO.

Individuals who self identify themselves by responding to mailings, magazine articles, ads or seminars should also be included in the “suspect” pool. Cross checking them with the donor base to uncover their gift history is important when expanding the solicitation pool.

In smaller communities consider forming a small prospect review committee. The committee could be helpful in qualifying prospects and donors by age and capacity. The goal would be to determine an individual’s suitability for inclusion in the “suspect” pool.


Make Planned Gift Confirmation Simple It is standard policy to have a planned gift confirmation form to induct members into your Legacy Society. That form should include a description of the gift terms. This can be done by attaching a letter describing the future gift or filling in a brief description on the form. Remember to note on your form that all terms of the gift will remain confidential. I always like to emphasize that the information provided will help in the stewardship of the Legacy Society members


James E. Connell and Associates is a national consulting service devoted to increasing resources for charities using the power of charitable estate and gift planning techniques.

Pinehurst office: PO Box 3335, 15 Pinewild Drive, Pinehurst, NC 28374
Phone: 910-295-6800

Northeast office: 20982 Bayside Avenue, Rock Hall, MD 21661

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