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Planned Giving Donors

Planned giving is the process of giving a planned or deferred gift. They are commonly gifted to an organization through a will or trust when a donor has passed away. Because they diversify an organization’s revenue stream, planned gift programs are an integral and strategic method for cultivating strong relationships with your supporters.

Predictive Factors

The best prospects for planned gifts tend to share a unique set of characteristics that draw upon their affinity to give deferred gifts. To a certain extent, these characteristics are highly predictive for planned gifts. Planned gift donors are generally more likely to:

  • Belong to specific demographic and lifestyle segments
  • Have a smaller number of people living in their households
  • Conservatively use credit, whether their outward lifestyle consists of luxury items or not
  • Be college educated
  • Be philanthropic in general and make political donations
  • Have a loyal and positive giving history to your organization, though some of your best prospects may give currently

While factors like income often correlate with charitable giving, income alone is not a sufficient indicator for major gift prospecting. Predictive factors can help to identify those most likely to and capable of making planned gifts.



While planned giving conversations are typically held with people close to the end of their careers, data from The Next Generation of American Giving shows an opportunity to address planned giving with younger donors. Donors from the on-deck cohort, Generation X, are not far from their prime giving years; roughly one-third of them report that they are in the process of making decisions about where their money will go when they are gone, signaling their openness to planned giving options. Older donors are more likely to already have their will or estate plan in place and are less open to considering adding planned gifts to new organizations.