Planned Giving: Moving Beyond the Basics

Planned GivingUpdated (11/10/11, 7:06 a.m.)

Chat stats and transcript now available here.

For many nonprofits, planned giving is a check box on a return envelope, a “legacy” society, and if you are lucky, a regular printed newsletter. For many more organizations, having a planned giving program is an idea that is just too complicated to even consider.

If you’re looking to take the next step with your planned giving program, get one off the ground, or share your expertise with others, join the #fundchat community on Wednesday, Nov. 9 from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. EDT for “Planned Giving: Moving Beyond the Basics.”

On average, about 50 people participate in #fundchat each week. It’s community participation that leads to a successful chat. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Spread the word: tell your friends and colleagues about #fundchat. Share a link to the blog on your social networks. Ask a friend to sit with you over lunch during #fundchat so they can see what it’s all about.
  2. Suggest a question (or two): #fundchat is moderated by @brendankinney and he could really use your help dreaming up good questions for the chat. The moderator offers up questions every 10 minutes or so during #fundchat. Great questions lead to a great conversation. Dull questions, well…you get the idea. Please suggest a question or idea in the comments section of the blog.

If you have never participated in a #fundchat before, it’s easy. Check out our handy guidelines. Most participants like to use the web-based Twebevent.

Here are the questions for today’s chat:

  1. How did you start your PG program and if you had to do it again, what would you do differently?
  2. Who took a leadership role in championing PG in your organization?
  3. If you’re the only fundraiser, how do you manage PG with so many things on your plate?
  4. How do you identify PG prospects?
  5. How do you track PG intentions?
  6. Do you ever use Planned Giving to inspire current giving?

We had so many suggestions for questions, we created a Planned Giving survey. Take it now –

Many thanks to @FundraiserBeth, @mcahalane, @lpdiversa for providing the inspiration for this week’s #fundchat!


9/21 #fundchat: Outsourcing Philanthropy

This is such a ridiculous picture, I had to use it.It’s a question all organizations, large and small, eventually ask themselves: “Can someone else do this better than we can?

In the face of thin budgets and diminished resources, nonprofits are taking a hard look at outsourcing key tasks such as direct mail, phonathons, sales, social media management, acquisition and even qualification of new donors.

This week’s #fundchat will tackle the issue of Outsourcing Philanthropy head-on. Thanks to @fundraisinisfun and @NonProfit_Meg for instigating the topic, but the conversation is also an offshoot of last week’s #fundchat that heated up over a question of fundraisers (staff and/or consultants) working on commission.

Here’s what you can do to help with this week’s #fundchat:

  1. Suggest a question. Please use the comments section below to offer your ideas for questions we should tackle on this topic.
  2. Save the date AND time. Based on a poll conducted last week, many participants suggested that 12 p.m. EDT would be a more convenient time for #fundchat (versus 9 p.m. EDT). We are going to give it a try so please spread the word that this week’s chat is set for high noon on Wednesday, September 21.
  3. Bookmark it. Many folks enjoy using Twebevent to participate in #fundchat. You are encouraged to give it a try or just follow the hashtag in your favorite Twitter client.
  4. Advise the Newbies. The best place to start for newcomers to #fudnchat is our guidelines post.

Should be a great #fundchat this week! Here we go…

9/7 #fundchat: Best Practices in Annual Fund Campaigns

What a great #fundchat! Read the transcript and check the chat stats here


Tonight’s #fundchat topic is “Best Practices in Annual Fund Campaigns.”

Join us Wednesday, September 7 at 9 pm EDT for what is sure to be a lively discussion. Please suggest questions for the #fundchat community to discuss, please post them in the comments section below.

We had a great turnout last week, with over 50 participants. Please share #fundchat (specifically, this post) with your friends, followers and colleagues!

See you tonight!


In the spirit of experimentation, we held a brainstorming session with CoverItLive, a tool that many bloggers and companies use to have real-time conversations. Features include the ability to include video and image clips and (key point for those of us who are more verbose) the ability to comment beyond 140 characters. It also automatically saves the conversation, which can be replayed at any time. CoverItLive is web based, but they also offer apps for the iPhone and Android if you need to participate from your smartphone. The brainstorming session took place on Sunday, September 4 at 9 pm EDT. The purpose of the brainstorming session will be to come up with questions for this week’s #fundchat and to experiment with the CoverItLive tool.

8/31 #fundchat: Worst Practices in Fundraising & Development

Let's Make Better MistakesUpdated:

Read the transcript and check out the stats from a very enlightening #fundchat! Thanks to @hashtracking for providing real-time access, stats and details.

Here are tonight’s questions:

  1. Let’s have the list! What are the worst practices that you have seen in fundraising?
  2. How do these worst practices get started and why do they persist?
  3. Can we identify underlying misconceptions about our profession that lead to these “worst” practices?
  4. Do some “worst” practices work for certain types of NPO’s and are therefore acceptable?
  5. What can we do as fundraising professionals to thwart these worst practices?

Forget the best! What are the worst practices in development?

So often in nonprofit fundraising circles, we focus on the best. What are the best practices? What are the best subject lines in an email campaign? What’s the best timing of renewal letters? What’s the best approach to steward donors?

As fundraisers, that’s just how we roll.

Well, this week, we get to focus on the worst instead. Think of all of the things that drive you nuts…the list of pet peeves is long, no? At 9 pm on Wednesday, August 31, the #fundchat crew will gather to share each others’ pain. What are the topics or angles you’d like to tackle? Share them below in the comments section so we can prep for this week’s chat.

New to #fundchat? Review our tips and guidelines for participating.

Participate in the chat using Twebevent –

Thanks to Hashtracking, we will have real-time stats and a transcript!

Round-up of Questions by the #fundchat Community about CFRE

What's Your Question?We feature our #fundchat community (again) this week, in the fact that they supplied the questions for this week’s topic: To CFRE or not to CFRE, That is the Question.”

I think it will be an engaging conversation about the benefits of CFRE, continuing education and professional development. You can see our earlier post about the genesis for the topic.

Oftentimes, #fundchat participants like to review the questions before the chat, so they can mull over their responses. To participate, go to our Twebevent page at 9 pm EDT on Wednesday, August 24. You can also follow the hashtag (#fundchat) using your favorite Twitter client.

Here are tonight’s questions (please follow our awesome #fundchatters who suggested these questions!):

Submitted by @lpdiversa:

1. Have CFRE noticed a salary increase after certifying?

2. What other benefits (if any) have you noticed after certifying?

Submitted by @rjbvermont:

3. For CFREs: Did you learn anything in addition to — or more quickly than — what you would have learned through more experience as a practicing professional?

4. For development leaders: What does “CFRE” on resume’ mean to you?

Submitted by @pathammavong:

5. How soon should I write the CFRE? I have hit the five year mark and am wondering when I should do it!

Submitted by @kathyhowrigan:

6. If you haven’t done the CFRE, why not?

7. When you learn that another professional has their CFRE, does that change your perception of them?

8. What is involved with getting your CFRE? If you’ve done it, was it difficult?

9. What other fundraising certifications are out there and do they add value?

The order of these questions may differ slightly from how they are presented here to help with the flow of the conversation.

Should be a great #fundchat!

– Brendan (@brendankinney)

8/17 #fundchat: Navigating Nonprofit-Corporate Partnerships

Partnership ImageIf you are a fundraiser or work for a nonprofit, you probably know that the issue of corporate partnerships is dicey. A partnership can have great result in great things for an organization, but can also present certain “challenges” with donors and members who may question the relationship.

Sounds like a great topic for the #fundchat community!

Join us this Wednesday, August 17 at 9 pm EST on the topic: “How Fundraisers Can Maximize Nonprofit-Corporate Partnership Opportunities?”

What can you do right now? Please suggest specific questions on this topic that you would like to see discussed by the #fundchat community. Submit ideas for questions in the comments section below.

Thanks to @sldoolittle for offering the following questions:

  1. What steps do you take to qualify corporate prospects?
  2. What success have you had with corporate sponsors or cause marketing partnership?
  3. Under what circumstances would your organization decline corporate dollars?
  4. What are your strategies for stewarding corporate partnerships?

Plus, here are some articles to get the creative juices flowing:

You can follow the discussion by using your favorite Twitter client, but we recommend using Twebevent – click here. If you are newbie to Twitter chats, it’s a good idea to review the guidelines for participation.

Oh, and don’t forget to invite a friend and spread the word about #fundchat!

– Brendan (@brendankinney)

Review #fundchat Questions About Volunteer Recruitment & Management

Update: View the transcript from the 8/10 #fundchat here.

Volunteer recruitment and management is a key issue for many nonprofits. There’s a struggle between wanting to involve volunteers (and by extension, the community) and figuring out how to effectively manage volunteers on a day-to-day basis. There’s no doubt that volunteers are essential but how do nonprofits make the most of their time and its own limited resources?

This Wednesday, August 10 at 9 pm EST, the #fundchat community will tangle with this issue by addressing the questions below. In the meantime, take this quick survey about the impact of volunteers on your nonprofit organization.

  1. What are best practices for an effective volunteer orientation session or program?
  2. How do you tactfully yet effectively ask volunteers to also support the organization financially?
  3. How do you integrate new volunteers in the team?
  4. To what extent should volunteers inform strategy/direction/strategic plan vs implementing organizational directives?
  5. How should you handle a difficult volunteer?
  6. How do you “fire” a volunteer and/or deal with turnover?
  7. Typically, an organization has a staff member coordinates volunteers across the organization or departments handle it on their own. Benefits of each approach?
  8. How does your organization reward and/or recognize volunteers and their efforts?

Many thanks to @nathan_hand, @lpdiversa, @chrissachrissa, and @kathyhowrigan for suggesting many of the questions for this week’s #fundchat.

If you would like to participate in the conversation, please tune-in just before the appointed time using Twebevent or follow the hashtag using your favorite Twitter client.

Are you a newbie to Twitter chats? No problem. Just check out our guidelines and tips and join the conversation!