A Revived Bequest Program Brings Results
25 May 2009 at 5:06 pm
Despite the tough financial times CARE Australia has been able to turn around its bequest program in under 12 months with the help of some ‘best practice’ initiatives, according to CARE’s new Fundraising Manager Ryan Brown.
Speaking at a recent FIA group meeting Brown said that by following industry best practice CARE Australia had been able to revive its stalled bequest program.
Brown said that CARE were receiving two confirmed bequests a month after instigating a review of its bequest program and putting into action a strategic plan to improve the relationship between the organisation and bequest donors.
Brown started with CARE Australia in January 2008, just after CARE’s part-time bequest officer had resigned. After Brown returned from the FIA’s Madison Down Under Conference in August, CARE employed a Bequest Officer, a position which had remained vacant for 8 months.
CARE also conducted a review of its bequest program against industry best practice.
The review recommended having a dedicated staff member with the responsibility for managing the bequest program, and taking a more proactive approach to obtaining bequests by identifying prospects and developing a relationship with potential bequest donors.
Brown said that over a six month period CARE worked to develop a strategic plan to improve the bequest program.
Key actions of the plan included:
– Focusing on the development of personal relationships.
All confirmed bequest donors were contacted and CARE carried out visits to all who were interested. Brown said donors were given an update on CARE, and the achievements and aspirations of the organisation were discussed. Opinions of the bequest donors were taken to the board.
– Establishing a bequest club
CARE is also about to launch its ‘Chairman’s Club’ aimed at thanking and engaging bequest donors, long term supporters and bequest prospects.
– Visits to areas in which CARE operates
As part of the engagement strategy, Brown said bequest donors are given the opportunity to travel to one of the countries CARE works in.
– Enhance database management
– Targeted prospecting for new bequest donors
In January this year CARE segmented their donor database – consisting of over 500,000 donors. Brown said CARE was able to highlight almost 3,000 bequest prospects who were sent a special Bequest Pack containing information about the organisation and a signed letter from CARE’s Founding Chairman and Chief Executive.
– Website upgrade
Since implementing the plan, CARE has acquired an average of two additional confirmed bequests per month. Brown says that by December 2009 CARE will have an additional 50 confirmed bequests.