Here is another worthwhile post from Phyllis Freedman that I recommend checking out:
It’s about the little touches that all planned giving programs absolutely most get right to fully realize bequests and other revocable planned gift commitments. These revocable gifts, the overwhelming bulk of planned giving dollars as far as I have seen, require just as must or more post gift attention as what it took to find out about the commitment in the first place. That is a key to planned giving as a field.
There is a statistic that I quote often from Russell N. James III, J.D., PH.D., based on University of Michigan’s national Health and Retirement Study (1995-2006), which interviewed approximately 26,000 over age 50 Americans over the course of the study. It turned out that only 41% of those who said they were doing something charitable in their estate plans actually came through with any charitable bequests (which the study checked after the passing of many of the respondents to the survey). In other words, 59% of those claiming to intend to make charitable bequests, for whatever reasons, failed to get it done.
Some of the failures of charitable bequests in the study were because of planning mistakes, or lack of planning, or surviving spouses, and so on. But, I am sure that many times donors change their plans because their intended charity (particularly ones they inform of their intentions) let them down on the personal relations front. You didn’t thank them properly or you didn’t make an effort to stay in touch or some other small mistake that could cost huge amounts of money.
This is why the annual legacy society event – although not a fundraiser itself – is very important: another opportunity to stay in touch, show you care, and recognize their commitments. It’s worth it – trust me!