In our last post (Part I Link Here), we talked about the importance of a Planned Gift program for congregations, nonprofits, and independent schools. Especially during this time when we are experiencing a tremendous uptick in generation to generation wealth transfer.  

This is a time when we need to offer opportunities for people to plan for a profound and enduring legacy gift to your mission. A Planned Gift program is a means of cultivating and stewarding strong relationships with potential planned gift donors. 

One of the very first things you need to do is “survey” your current donors. A survey will provide you with helpful information and get people thinking about preparing a will and/or designating a planned gift. Follow this link (Link Here) for a very simple survey that you can copy and distribute to your donor base. Will everyone respond? No. If you get a 15% – 20% response return (which is normative), you have something to work with and you have planted the seed with a lot of donors. 

August is make-a-will month. If you send out the survey this summer, you might just get some folks thinking about needing to prepare a will/trust…the first step needed to make a planned gift. As of 2024, 32% of American adults have a will, according to’s 2024 Wills and Estate Planning Study. There is a lot of room for growth on this front. 

In Part 3, we will share with you next steps in preparing for a Planned Gift program.

John V. Clark, President/Partner
The James Company
(815) 353-8997