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Blended Gifts: Getting Started

AHP Staff
Published:  06/20/2018

Blended Gifts: How to Get Started Now

Adapted from a presentation by Rosalie Courage, President, RBR Development Associates and Sharon Crowe, Executive Director, Colchester East Hants Health Centre Foundation at the 2018 AHP Convene Canada conference in Ottawa, ON

In today’s competitive charitable marketplace for lifetime and planned gifts, those charities with the foresight, tenacity and leadership to inspire operational and cultural change toward blended giving create opportunities for new revenue.

A blended gift is a combination of current and future giving. Typically, it will include both a gift now (such as cash, stock or real estate) and a gift later (will, estate or life insurance). Some blended gifts can include a third component: an intermediate gift such as an annuity, remainder trust or whole life insurance.

Why Are Blended Gifts Attractive to Donors?

Not every donor has the capacity to make a large outright gift. Through a blended gift, a donor can make a transformative impact on your organization in a way that fits with their budget and ability to give. For fundraisers, it’s rewarding to see donors understand there is a way for them to support the cause at a level beyond what they had imagined.

Blended gifts also offer an incredible opportunity to customize. They tap into the full range of charitable vehicles available, allowing maximum flexibility for a donor to make the greatest impact on the cause they support.

How Can Your Organization Get Started?

  • Structure your planned giving activity with a focus on integration. Often, planned giving can operate in a silo. Make sure all your gift officers, regardless of program, understand the basics of planned gifts. Remember that donors belong to your organization, not to any particular program. Your team should work across programs to craft proposals that include giving vehicles that best fulfill the donor’s priorities and desires.
  • Rethink metrics for major gift officers and planned giving officers. When the metrics change, silos will disappear. Set goals and track the number of blended long-term philanthropic plans as well as the number of donors who move from one level to the next. These metrics should be shared by all your gift officers, regardless of program.

  • Establish joint pipeline meetings. Include annual, major and planned giving staff in collaborative prospect strategy sessions. Segment your prospect base and encourage collaboration on donors who may be interested in adding a legacy component to their giving. Look for donors at the bottom of your pyramid who have a long history of giving. Rather than trying to move these donors to the major gift level, consider viewing them as prime legacy giving prospects.
  • Track blended gifts and promote success stories. Donors may not be aware they can combine current and future gifts to increase the power of their contribution. Hearing testimonials from peers who have made a blended gift is often one of the most successful ways to raise the profile of this option. Be sure to celebrate the blended gift commitments you receive, even if the planned piece hasn’t come in yet.



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The following article is based on the webinar, “Major gift fundraising in a small shop,” presented January 23, 2013, by Randall Hallett, CFRE

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