Remember visiting with your favorite aunt? The wonderful smell of her house, how you always seemed to be on your best behavior, listening to stories of times gone by? There was a magic, an aura and a special bond that was forged between the two of you. Often over a cup of tea.
That’s what I think of when I think about planned giving. I don’t think of CRATS or CRUTS or any of those other fancy technical terms. I don’t think of marketing strategies, or round tables for professional advisors. And I don’t think of the tax benefits or actuarial tables that excite my many financial planning friends.
I think of having tea with my favorite aunt.
It’s on my mind right now because I’m preparing for a talk I will be presenting on planned giving. As I think about how to talk with Executive Directors, and Development Directors and Board members of non-profits about planned giving – what I really want to say is go have a cup of tea with your best donors. Listen to why your charity matters, what has compelled them to give to you for so many years – sometimes not missing a single occasion for decades. Share your stories and build that special bond that sometimes can only happen over a cup of tea.
Now, I know the marketing and the technicalities, and the tax benefits are all important. And, to be sure, you best be having tea with the right donors. But, the gift and the legacy will come about because of the bond you forge and the values you share with a donor. Along with that cup of tea.