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Guest Post: Planned Giving Also Means Planning for Fundraising Compliance

by: Allison Sanka on

Please join me in welcoming our guest author, Ify Aduba, a Nonprofit Compliance Specialist at Harbor Compliance. We hope you enjoy this guest post on charitable solicitation registration compliance for nonprofits.

Planned giving is just like any other type of fundraising. Broken down simply (but with much respect to the art of donor relationship building), you identify prospects, cultivate them, and ask them to give. You can find countless resources about the myths and facts about planned giving. What you and I both know – your organization should be actively implementing a planned giving strategy as part of your overall fundraising plan.

Not all planned gifts are deferred gifts. With the investment of some time and resources, many see a return on investment in a very reasonable time frame. And is has been demonstrated that, like other fundraising, proactive planned giving is more successful than employing a passive approach.

In their published study of donor behavior making the case for bequests, Adrian Sargeant and Elaine Jay found that "88.7% of supporters indicated that they believe it is appropriate for nonprofits to ask for a legacy gift." Whether you integrate the solicitation into your annual appeals or send a stand-alone mailing, post it to your website, or write it into your print or online newsletter, organizations won’t usually get the gift unless they ask for it. I’m not sure who said it first, but people give to people with causes. You have a great cause and you must ask.

Since you’ve mapped out a strategy for planned giving that engages your donors far into the future, fundraising compliance is essential. You don’t want anything to derail your donors’ confidence. Being compliant keeps their focus on your cause – and we already established that people give to people with causes.

41 states require charitable solicitation registration. There is an excellent chance that your organization is incorporated in one of those states. There’s also an excellent chance that your cause, your message has spread to donors in one of those states. You want to ask those donors to give to your cause, wherever those donors may be. If you are going to ask there, you need to register there.

It’s not enough to just pay attention to where you are. It’s about where you’re asking. Planned giving is a lifetime relationship and one of the greatest demonstrations of loyalty from your donors, a loyalty that you need to cultivate no matter where your donors may live. Don’t allow technicalities to slow you down. Register before you solicit so you achieve better fundraising and don’t leave money on the table.

Here are four simple best practices steps to stay compliant with your planned giving:

  • Research: You need to know your status in each state. Once you know that, you can easily map your path to compliance, including which application to complete and what fees may be charged.
  • Apply: Each state has its own application process, so be sure you are preparing the correct forms in the most streamlined and cost-effective manner.
  • Monitor: As with any other submission you make, you’ll want to follow these applications through to approval, for your – and your donors’ – peace of mind.
  • Renew: Mark your calendar so that once you’re compliant, you stay compliant. Track due dates and fees so that your renewals are on time and complete.
Donor relationships are built on trust. Transparency, accountability, and compliance preserve that trust. Your donor is making a lifetime gift because they trust and believe in you and your cause. Honor their planned gift with the transparency, accountability, and compliance it deserves!

Author Bio:
Ify Aduba is a Nonprofit Compliance Specialist for Harbor Compliance, a leading provider of compliance solutions for organizations of all types and sizes. Headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Harbor Compliance partners with organizations in every state and over 25 countries abroad to help solve the most challenging compliance problems. With clients that range from the largest organizations in the country to fast-growth startups, Harbor Compliance fully manages government licensing compliance in both nonprofit and business sectors.

In her spare time, Ify actively volunteers within her community. She currently serves as President of the Board of the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO), President of the Administrative Ministries Team at Doylestown United Methodist Church, and Board member for the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition. She is also a member of the Doylestown Branch of the American Association of University Women and Doylestown Rotary.

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