Two messages from the Planned Giving Coronavirus Trenches

Coronavirus - HSA - Stanislaus County

Here are two messages I’ve received from fellow Planned Giving directors regarding Planned Giving activities during the Covid-19 pandemic:

To give you a little encouragement… planned giving work is going well during the pandemic. I find that people are much easier to reach then pre-pandemic.  Also, people seem to welcome contact and the shared experience of living through this mess makes it easy to connect. Sadly, Covid is reminding people of their mortality, so this provides extra incentive for people to think about/update their plans. So far (knock wood) I have not run into resistance from a fundraising perspective…planned giving is long-term and I am mainly checking in with people who have already expressed an interest (so it is an easier “ask”). I am sure with staff down you are super busy but please give this some thought and let me know if I can help. Thank you!

Here is another message:

Our organization mailed a planned giving/donor survey during the peak of the crisis. I had serious reservations about proceeding with this effort. I was concerned that 1) Our supporters might be angry with us for doing a non-essential mailing during such a difficult time and 2) that following-up might be difficult with people not wanting to discuss anything connected to giving funds away during a time of great economic uncertainty.

I have been pleasantly surprised. I have not noticed an increase in negative comments on surveys and follow-up work has been very productive. People are home and have more time on their hands. In my 20 years of Planned Giving work there has never been a time when people are so accessible. Conversations are going well, people seem to genuinely appreciate the contact and it is easy to bond over the shared challenges that we are facing. Additionally people are thinking more about estate planning (covid reminds people that they may not be here forever) and the increase in free-time is enabling some to address things that they had long been putting off.

Please share your experience in the comments section below!


  1. This is encouraging to hear. I’m curious as to the types of questions being asked on survey’s during the pandemic….any suggestions or examples appreciated.

    1. Hi Brad – thank you for reading my blog! my advice is to continue with surveys and other outreach but lead in your letter or email with a statement of concern and well wishing re Covid-19 and then ask them what you want… feel free to email me if you ever want to talk! it’s been awhile.

Leave a Reply