Planned Giving: Learn, Connect and Grow


By David Pederson, Director of Development, Catholic Community Foundation for the Diocese of Phoenix


Many times in a smaller organization we think a planned giving program is saved only for large universities and hospital systems with what seems like limitless financial and staffing resources. One can only dream of having the capacity to take on such a thing. However, there is a place for a program that highlights ultimate gifts in any size organization.

To get started, remember what you already know. As a development professional, you already know about forming meaningful relationships and how to talk to people about supporting your mission. The next part is to get familiar with some of the nuts and bolts as well as expanding your reach through a network of professional advisors.

Time to Learn

First, look online at organizations with successful programs and read about the different types of gift options available. Many times, you can start your search at your local Catholic Community Foundation who likely has some great resources available. Another great resource is the book Visual Planned Giving by Dr. Russell James III.

Getting Connected

Next, work on creating a network of professional advisors. CPAs, estate planning attorneys and wealth management professionals can be an incredible resource for you as you look to learn more about various topics related to their field. And, when you get a call with a question you cannot answer, having this volunteer group makes for an incredible sounding board.

Let’s Talk About It

Start talking, posting and writing about planned gifts. Create a few sentences or paragraphs that can be included in your newsletters, throughout your website and even on social media. This can include stories about past gifts or why someone would want to leave your organization as one of their children in their estate plan.

Don’t forget to make these topics a part of your communication and mailing calendar, and consider focusing on a different topic for each season. For example, in the fall months, you might focus on Qualified Charitable Distributions or IRA Charitable Rollovers for benefactors 70 ½ and older so there’s enough time to initiate this gift before the end of the year. Within that mailing, you can include something about adding your organization as a beneficiary of that IRA.

Giving Societies

Honor these incredible people by creating a legacy society for those who have already made a gift, leaving a generous gift to your organization. This will also help create awareness for those considering a gift. Finally, a legacy society should keep people engaged with your organization long-term so you can walk with them until their gift comes to fruition, connecting them to your ministry throughout their life.

If you’re thinking, “that’s a lot to add to my already overflowing plate,” you are not alone. Start slow and create some goals for working through these steps. As you learn, start getting connected and begin talking about planned gifts, you will start to feel more comfortable about integrating planned giving in your development program.

Hear more from David about the topic of planned giving on Episode 17 of The Petrus Development Show at https://www.petrusdevelopment.com/petrus-show-episode-17-david-pederson/.

David Pederson is the Director of Development for the Catholic Community Foundation for the Diocese of Phoenix. David has worked in development for over ten years at multiple Catholic campus ministries and the Diocese of Phoenix. 


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