Launching a Planned Giving Program

Featuring Tony Martignetti, host of Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio

About This Episode

Most nonprofit professionals have heard the term “planned giving,” but where to start? “Don’t be intimidated!” says expert Tony Martignetti. “Planned giving is a long-term process: you don’t need a lot of expertise to kick things off.” Listen in to learn how to start a planned giving program, what mistakes to avoid, and how to talk with prospective donors. 


About Tony

Tony Martignetti has been serving the needs of nonprofits since 1997. He hosts the podcast Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. His show is Big Nonprofit Ideas for the Other 95%. He video blogs at, and speaks and consults on Planned Giving throughout the country. Tony has been cited by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Smart Money and other outlets you’ve heard of. In the Air Force in the 1980’s, he held the keys to nuclear missiles. You can catch him doing stand-up comedy in New York City.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Key questions answered in this episode:

0:45 – Can you tell us more about planned giving? What is it?
2:18 – How would you suggest nonprofits start a planned giving program?
4:19 – What are some of the ways you’ve seen people be successful at promoting the idea of including their organization in their donors’ wills?
6:37 – A lot of organizations don’t have planned giving programs. What do you see as the barriers to getting started, and how do you overcome those barriers?
9:27 - One of the concerns is talking about death... What are the phrases or viewpoints you use that may ease the concerns some of our listeners have about bringing up this topic with potential planned gift givers?
12:24 – What are mistakes you’ve seen made that we should avoid in the area of planned giving?
15:29 – What does an organization need to have in place, structurally, before they can or should start a planned giving program in earnest?
17:41 - Do you do any work with gift acceptance policies?
19:17 – If an organization has a planned giving program, has been doing a wills campaign, and is thinking about expanding, what would you recommend they consider in terms of expanding their planned giving?
22:44 –The Individual Donor Benchmark Project has asked, for the past couple of years, about how many meetings with donors organizations have. This year, we found that on average organizations are meeting with about 27 donors (in a year), which represents only about 14% of their donor base. How does that statistic strike you?
25:08 – Can you tell us more about the work you do with clients around planned giving and other fundraising topics?
26:22 – How can people connect with you, or hear your podcast (“Nonprofit Radio”)?
27:31 – Any final words of wisdom?

You can view a full list of the previously released episodes here