Rebirth of an Old Idea

March 21, 2012

One of the key findings of CCF’s Transfer of Wealth report was the need to enable non-profits to adopt a planned giving strategy for no cost and little effort.

The term “Planned Giving” conjures many reactions among non-profits — it sounds complicated, expensive, not essential, time-consuming, we don’t know any rich people, we’re not interested in talking about death…  In other words, there are plenty of excuses to avoid planned giving.   One focus group member even advised us not to use the dreaded “planned” and “giving” words together, to minimize the fear caused by this term 🙂 After listening to hundreds of non-profit leaders, volunteers and donors, we developed our Planned Giving Toolkit.

Yes, we used the P and G words!

CCF’s mission is to build the future of Los Angeles through effective philanthropy.  We know that the only way that the transfer of wealth will benefit L.A. philanthropically is for all non-profits to reach out to their donors.  Yet, the vast majority (80%+) have no planned giving effort, strategy or presence.  Meanwhile, all of the universities, hospitals, mega-non-profits and a smattering of others continue to reap the rewards of their planned giving programs.

“As a younger organization that’s still growing our base of individual donors, planned giving will be a critical component moving forward. The importance of this as a future revenue stream for our long-term sustainability cannot be understated.”
—Celia C. Ayala , Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP)

This month, CCF embarked on a campaign to pull non-profits into the planned giving world by conducting free workshops to review the toolkit.  We required all attending non-profits to bring a board member or two, since little can be done without a true partnership and leadership of the board volunteers.

So far, we have conducted workshops in West L.A., Long Beach, and Pomona to full houses. The response and feedback have been very positive.  Our research and focus group work paid off in developing an accessible toolkit that gives any non-profit, regardless of size, an opportunity to engage their donors in new and meaningful ways.

However, our goal is change.  So we will track these attendees to see if our toolkit and presentation had a lasting impact.  We will measure and report out on this later this year and in the years ahead.

Our campaign continues in the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood in the next couple of weeks.  More sessions and a webinar will be announced down the road, along with training sessions for the management support organizations that provide technical assistance to non-profits.

Over the next 8 years more than $114 billion dollars will be transferred between generations in L.A. County!  Non-profits have to convert some of this into giving and support.  To do this, they must adopt planned giving as a part of their fundraising strategy.

Sure, there are lots of new ideas out there to raise money.  Planned Giving, though, may be the best old fundraising idea to come around in a long time :).

Thanks for reading,
John E. Kobara
COO of California Community Foundation

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