The Pentera Blog

New Pentera Whitepaper Reveals Key Donor-List Strategies for Retirees

Planned giving offices may want to look at some new strategies for maintaining their donor lists - in particular focusing on new widows and single men who are close to retirement - according to a Pentera whitepaper that is based on brand-new research from the Women's Philanthropy Institute.

The whitepaper, Planned Giving Strategies for Women and Men During Retirement Years, presents a dozen planned giving strategies based on findings of the new WPI research How Men and Women Give Around Retirement. Two of the strategies are described below. The research and the planned giving strategies were first presented in a Pentera Webinar this summer.

"WPI is excited to partner with [Pentera CEO] Claudine Donikian and Pentera on this study," said Debra Mesch, a philanthropy professor at the institute who was the institute director at the time of the study. "Claudine and her team have thought carefully about the implications of this research for planned giving professionals."

Keep on your prospect mailing list single men who are lapsed givers during the retirement years
One of the most interesting findings of the study was that men's annual giving during the 11 years around retirement (five years before and five years after the retirement year) is more volatile than giving by women or couples. The study found that many men who had been giving annually did not make gifts in some of the retirement years - but that their giving generally rebounded after the 11-year period.

The concern for planned giving is that those men who are no longer giving annually may be removed from donor prospect mailing lists even though they are still excellent planned giving prospects. These men might stop meeting your loyalty guidelines due to their volatility of giving.

You might consider adjusting your loyalty guidelines for them. For example, if you are pulling your lists with a loyalty factor of six gifts out of the last ten years with a $500 threshold for the gift, you might want to adjust that to, for example, three gifts out of the last ten years with a giving threshold of $250. That could counteract the volatility.

Keep the spouses of deceased donors on your mailing lists
The WPI study found that single women and married couples are more likely to give and give more than single men during the retirement years. One planned giving implication is that it is very important that databases be designed to capture information about couples and record it. When possible, donor databases should be designed so you can track spouses: when the first donor-spouse dies, the other remains in the database and is flagged as a person to steward.

Because wives typically outlive their husbands and often inherit the husband's entire estate, the wife often becomes the ultimate determiner of the distribution of assets - including to charities. Many organizations are technologically capable of maintaining the surviving spouse in their databases, but others are not yet able to set up a process or procedure so that the wife becomes the primary donor who is stewarded once her husband who was listed as the primary donor passes away.

The Pentera whitepaper, which includes many other planned giving marketing strategies for the retirement years, is available at www.pentera.com. The WPI study with several additional findings is available here.