Idea Engine: Doubling the Power of Planned Gifts through On-Air Pledge

I am a fan of leveraging matching funds in pledge drives.  Matches and challenges catalyze participation and energize non-members to convert to donors.  It’s one of the most effective levers we can pull, and frankly for my taste there is never enough matching money, whether it’s from members, foundations, or corporate sponsors.

In a recent discussion about Planned Giving with a colleague, it occurred to me that those who plan bequests to charities and not-for-profits seek to make the biggest impact on the community could actually have twice the impact by leveraging their gift as a match.

By offering the gift as a match, the donor will make her gift go further.  A sizeable gift telegraphs that the organization is stable, trustworthy, and poised for growth—one in which I would be comfortable investing.

While I am not the only one to think about using planned gifts as matches or challenges (they are currently being used in university and institutional settings), I don’t know of anyone in public media using them on-air.

An article in the 2016 PG Calc planned giving newsletter, Jeff Lydenberg outlined steps that would need to be taken to use a bequest in a challenge:

  1. The non-profit must identify a major donor to underwrite the match and agree upon the terms of the match

  2. The campaign should be time limited, so the term of the campaign should be established

  3. The campaign must establish criteria to qualify for the match that are fair and transparent to all participants

The donor and station can agree on the terms of the match or challenge, such as whether it is a “use-it-or-lose-it” challenge with time strictures or other strings attached; an open-ended match that allows the station to leverage the gift over time on various platforms; or as the on-air portion of a capacity-building or capital campaign that has a tangible result.  Wouldn’t it be great to raise money for a new broadcast space named for the donor, where you could invite those whose gifts were matched to a grand opening?  Depending on the size of the bequest, it could be broken up over the course of two or three pledge campaigns (or years) and scheduled strategically to provide the highest exposure.

I see this as an opportunity to build membership and catalyze more Planned Gifts, as exposure to a positive, impactful and exciting opportunity mobilize the community.

CDP’s Member Database Enhancements program allows stations take advantage of our partnership with DonorSearch to perform wealth and philanthropy screenings and donor demographic appends at a greatly discounted rate.  A trained eye can then identify Planned Giving prospects to whom the station can pitch the idea of doubling the size of their bequest through on-air pledge.

If you’ve already had success with this approach, please let us know so that we can share your story with the CDP Community.

Contact Hunter Sears about DonorSearch.

Barry NelsonComment