Donors Without Children or Grandchildren– A Good Place to Start!

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There is an old adage that asks, “How does one eat an elephant?”  The answer:  “One bite at a time!”  When it comes to planned giving, particularly if it’s a new focus for you or your organization, it can sometime be overwhelming to figure out where to begin—particularly when it comes to identifying planned giving prospects.  What if you have a thousand donors?  Ten thousand?  A hundred thousand?  Who are your best prospects when it comes to planned giving?  There are many avenues you can follow but one of the first donor groups I would assess is donors without children or grandchildren.

Recently the University of Georgia conducted a study in which they tracked over 20,000 donors over the age of 55 who had given gifts of $500 or more during a 10-year period.  What the study discovered should give pause to every fundraiser when thinking about which group of donors they should be focusing on first when it comes to Gift Planning.

The study discovered that, of the donors who had completed a Will, only 9.8% chose to make a charitable bequest if they had grandchildren. However, a remarkable 50% of donors who had no off spring included a gift for a charity in their Will.  What the study demonstrated is that it’s perhaps just as important to discover if a donor has children or grandchildren as knowing about their income, their education, their assets or their giving history.  In fact, the study found that high income, educated donors with substantial assets were much less likely to leave a gift in their Will then those who have no children. The study also discovered that the number one reason the individuals would drop a charitable request from their Will is because they became grandparents.

The point here is not to say that you shouldn’t focus on donors with children or grandchildren, far from it; 68% of all people who made planned gifts have children.  The point here is that if you’re new to planned giving and looking for a place to start identifying a specific donor demographic to focus on, look for those donors who don’t have children or grandchildren.

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