In a recent article in the Nonprofit Times, author John Elbare, MBA, CFP provides a good read map for the proper usage of a Planned Giving Committee. His suggestion is to apply good volunteer recruitment strategies, just as you use when seeking other Board and committee members. He supplies the following common mistakes to avoid and best practices:
Avoiding Common Mistakes
- Giving the committee members too little or too much to do;
- Having an unclear or vague sense of purpose;
- Not scheduling meetings at least one year in advance;
- Expecting your committee members to raise the planned gifts;
- Expecting the committee to run itself without much staff support;
- Expecting your committee members to be planned giving experts;
- Expecting your committee members to obtain gifts from their own clients;
- Not educating the members about gift planning ethics;
- Allowing volunteers to promote products or services;
- Expecting members to provide free professional services; and,
- Not keeping the work of the committee fun and interesting.
There are guidelines to keep in mind as you develop your committee. Here are a few ideas to keep it interesting:
- Meet only two or three times each year and make the meetings interesting. Consider offering a CE credit presentation on a planned giving topic;
- Publish a directory of your planned giving committee members and make it available to your volunteers, donors, and board members;
- Get out and visit each member at least once a year, building a personal relationship. Ask each member for some advice at least once a year;
- Recognize your committee members with plaques or certificates. List them on your website and in your publications;
- Invite them to all of your significant events. Suggest that they use your events to entertain their clients; and,
- Treat your committee members like VIPs in your organization.
Planned Giving Committees can serve as a great resource to your planned giving program lending both legitimacy and expertise to your organization. Doing the preparation prior to launching a committee with clear expectations, will allow for the best results and most successful programs.