Running the Bases with Legacy Society Donors
Marc Littlecot, CAP, CGPP
November 12, 2020
So you’re new at planned giving, or perhaps very experienced at it but now in new role at a charity as a planned giving officer (PGO). Before you begin actively contacting new, prospective estate donors, it might be a good idea to first contact those who’ve already planned a gift to your cause. This can make a whole lot of sense since, as many an experienced PGO will tell you, it’s a lot harder to prioritize stewardship visits with existing donors once you get your prospect pipeline really flowing. Starting with the legacy society membership, a new PGO can both learn about how people planned their gifts as well as perhaps position themselves as a go-to resource when they next update their plans, something everyone should do periodi-cally anyway. Marc created an approach his staff uses in such situations, called “Running the Bases to make a Deal”. Using this baseball analogy, there are four question-topics using the acronym D-E-A-L that are explored with such members. After congratulating the donor for doing something statistically rare, bequeathing to charity, the PGO asks how the idea was developed and whether gift planning was a driving factor in the planning. It likely was not. Continuing around the bases, the PGO explores about other charitable interests, leading to the question about what “excites” the donor about the charitable gifts. Again, there likely was not any dynamic charitable planning that would generate excitement. As the PGO rounds third and heads for home following the acronym, the donor might realize how much more might be added to the mix if the next time they involve a gift planner in their next estate revision and planning. The conversation is a great way to establish rapport for future planning together, deepen the ties for the charity and in particular, purposes for existing planned gifts—something often left up in the air when the will was planned. Its an easy process that anyone can follow, at almost any experience level in planned giving. Most importantly, it truly works!
Marc Littlecott is the Director of Gift Planning at the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Foundation, where he has been on staff since 2014. He has worked as a specialist in the field of planned giving since 1999, including 16 years with The Salvation Army. Since arriving at SDSU, he and his small team average 50-70 new planned gifts a year, in the range of $25-35M altogether annually. He was the Secretary & Treasurer of the former Charitable IRA Initia-tive, which lobbied for passage of the Charitable IRA Rollover and its expansion for split-interest gifts. He presently serves on the editorial board of Planned Giving Today Magazine and is a frequent contributor of articles for the same. Marc is asked to make several presentations a year to various planned giving councils and conferences, often about his more popular article topics (see below). After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute, Marc served as a commissioned Army officer and worked several years with the Boy Scouts of America before concentrating solely in the field of planned giving. He lives in Brookings, SD with his small family and in his spare time enjoys playing the sax in the community, especially every Christmas for The Salvation Army.