Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What Every Foundation Needs

I should make that headline a recurring title. Or a book someday. Today's recommendation comes from a little known item that the Stelter Company provides. If you don't have this on your website as a planned giving tool, shame on you. This is a fantastic utility...and I get no residual benefits for promoting it!

At one point, I was interviewing with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A wonderful organization that provides incredible services for critically ill children. It is hard not to become fascinated by the work they do. And believe me, their development officers love that about the organization and they have a website that makes giving simple. But they take it one step further. They make planned giving simple. How?

The Make-A-Wish Foundation allows donors to build their own planned gift right on the website using a very easy to follow interactive decision tree. It is likely built on something like PG Calc and is a service that Stelter provides. It walks donors through a series of easy to understand questions and literally builds the best planned giving option for them based on the answers. How great would it be for a donor to build this gift and then print it off and have it ready to be used. Instant planned giving opportunity that takes about 15 minutes or less.

The Build Your Own Planned Gift while powered and supported by Stelter, is designed to look like the remainder of your organization's website. No link to another site, no confusing questions, no hard language to figure out. I saw it as the Turbo Tax of planned giving. So easy (and actually pretty interesting) to use.

A little extra benefit...any tool like this can be measured and tracked. From the backend, staff can see who visited this section and used the tool. They can see where a donor completed the process or stopped midway. In either case, that is the perfect opportunity for a development officer to pick up phone and find out what questions the donor had and how you could count on them to join your prestigious planned giving site.

I will give the Make-A-Wish Foundation a flunking grade because I used the tool and stopped right before signing the dotted line. No one followed up with me. In fact, I even called them to ask some questions and still no one ever bothered to follow up with me. Guess what organization missed out on the chance to be included in my will?

Here's where I would emphasize my usual point: Just because you have an interactive website and great technology does not mean you skip the fundamentals of fundraising. Fundraising will always depend on personal relationships. Planned giving officers need to do their job and not rely on tools to do it for them. Tools simply help with the engagement process and opens a door for further conversation. Don't cheat the process!

All that being said, this is a great tool to educate donors, introduce concepts, provide a non-threatening and easy to use utility, use the tracking functions to learn about the behavior of your prospects, and take another positive step in building relationships and ultimately securing valuable resources for your future.

To learn more about the Gift Planning Tools, check out

To build a dynamic website and use the most cutting edge information and technology, contact Mediasauce at or 317-218-0500.

No comments:

Post a Comment