Support from the Top | Standard 1

The nonprofit has a current organizational strategic plan with a powerful, compelling vision for the future.


  A current strategic plan is accessible to staff and constituents

  Mission, vision, history of organization, corporate values and goals clearly describe the impact the organization intends to have

  Staff and board review strategic plan at least annually 


  Strategic Planning for Nonprofits (National Council of Nonprofits)

  Elements of a Vision Statement (BoardSource)

  5 Phases of Strategic Planning (BoardSource)

  Example: Strategic Framework (BoardSource)

  Sample/model goals and related strategies and Business Planning for Nonprofits: What It Is and Why It Matters (Bridgespan Group) 

Support from the Top | Standard 2

The nonprofit has a strong internal business case for gift planning embraced by management and Board.


  Credible external research on demographic and philanthropic trends informs the business case

  The organization has data to support its average estate gift size and known to unknown gifts ratio

  The organization measures its cost to raise a dollar and return on investment for planned gift fundraising over a 10-year period

  The internal case is available for review and is presented periodically, especially at times of organizational change or leadership transition


  FREE Planned Giving in the Big Picture: Talking About Your Numbers to the People Who Count (Steven Meyers and Bill Samers)

  FREE Building Organizational Passion and Commitment for Gift Planning (Elaine Eberhart)

 CGP Link Resource Collection—Research filter

  "Counting, Numbers, Value and the Big Picture," (Steven Meyers--excerpt from Personalized Philanthropy: Crash the Fundraising Matrix)

  Winning Hearts and Minds INSIDE Your Organization: Becoming Your Best Planned Giving Program Advocate (Cathy Sheffield and Patrick Schmitt)

  The Case for Gift Planning: Analyzing the Cost to Raise a Planned Gift Dollar (Kristen Dugdale)

  Planned Giving: Getting Everyone on Board (or at least not jumping ship) (Aviva Boedecker)

Support from the Top | Standard 3

Each member of the nonprofit’s management team is committed to relationship-based, collaborative fundraising and sees gift planning as an integral part of the donor experience across all lines of fundraising.


  Fundraising expectations, roles and responsibilities for managers, executives and volunteer leaders are clearly documented 

  All fundraisers, adjacent staff and volunteer leaders receive training on planned and noncash gifts at least annually

  All fundraisers have goals and metrics that encourage them to engage all donors in gift planning conversations


  FREE Sharing the Legacy: Promoting Gift Planning Through Trustee Engagement (Nancy Baker and Abby Favro)

  Engaging the Board in Planned Giving: Governance and Marketing (Kathryn Miree)

  Making Your Board an Effective Partner on your Fundraising Team (Julia Ingraham Walker)

  Board Fundraising Policy: Key Elements, Practical Tips, and Sample Policy (BoardSource)

Support from the Top | Standard 4

The nonprofit has clear policies to manage risk and ensure accountability to donors and the nonprofit and the public.


The following policies are documented and accessible to staff and donors: 

  Gift counting policy for donor recognition and reporting of progress toward annual and/or campaign goals

  Gift valuation policy to specify how deferred gifts are valued in current dollars

  Gift acceptance policies for all types of gifts and assets that the charity will accept

  Naming policies

  Donor recognition policies

  Stewardship policies

  Endowment management policies

  Donor data management policies

  Gift administration policies


  FREE Creating and Implementing Effective Planned Giving Program Policies and Procedures (Phil Purcell)

  FREE Sorry, We Really Can't Accept Your Mouse Trap! Candidly Exploring the Acceptance and Counting of Unique, Complex and Special Planned Gifts (Philip Watson)

  Effective Gift Acceptance Policies and Procedures (David Wheeler Newman)

  Model Long-Term Gift Agreement and Gift Acceptance Policies and Procedures (National Association of Charitable Gift Planners)

  Gift Acceptance Guidelines (Santa Clara University) 

  Fundraising Counting and Reporting Policy (Humboldt State University) 

  Gift Acceptance, Counting and Reporting Policy (Carnegie Mellon University)

  The Elements Of A Good Gift Acceptance Policy (Jon Tidd, Trusts & Estates, September 20, 2019) 

  Best Practices in Donor Recognition (ADRP/AASP)

  Best Practices: Gift Acknowledgement (ADRP/AASP)

Support from the Top | Standard 5

Management sets clear and realistic goals, strategies, and tactics that are designed to encourage and recognize collaboration across all lines of fundraising.


  Annual and/or campaign goals include separate and realistic goal for planned gift commitments

  Fundraiser crediting policy encourages collaboration, not competition


  FREE Integrating Planned & Major Gifts: Jazzy but Hard to Dance To? (T. Joseph McKay, Gordon Smith, Ashley Buderus)

  The "Plan" in Planned Giving...a Long and Short Three-Year Action Plan (Pamela Davidson)

  Creating a Fundraising Plan: A Step by Step Guidebook (Nonprofit Learning Lab)

 Creating Your Development Plan: What Does the Plan Look Like? (Margaret Guellich and Lynda Lysakowski--book excerpt)

Support from the Top | Standard 6

The nonprofit has fundraising metrics for individual staff and program focusing on activities and outcomes that drive success.


  Fundraiser performance metrics include both substantive activities and outcomes

  Performance metrics are evaluated annually and over 3 and 5-year periods

  The organization can identify at least three true peer organizations for purposes of benchmarking program inputs and outcomes 


  FREE "Evaluating Gift Planner Performance: A Guide for Charity Managers," (Tom Cullinan)

  Gift Planner Metrics: Tracking the Numbers that Count (Joe Bull, Josh Birkholz, Erik Daubert, Kathryn Miree)

  Metrics That Motivate (Anne Melvin)

  Making Sense of Planned Giving Metrics: Advancing Dialog About What Really Counts (Marts & Lundy Special Report)

Support from the Top | Standard 7

The development team has an appropriate budget for staff, administrative support, marketing, travel, training, stewardship, and advisor cultivation for its size, structure, and goals.


The following expenses are budgeted for:


  administrative support 

  integrated marketing across the nonprofit's footprint

  specific planned gift marketing

  prospect identification (wealth screening, etc.)

  donor engagement (travel and meetings) 

  external training, internal training

  professional memberships

  stewardship (events, travel, small tokens of recognition)

  professional advisor cultivation (newsletters, events, visits) 

  gift planning software

  external resources (consultants, advisors) 


 Mission Impossible? Planned Giving Results and Projection (Sharpe Group, Give & Take)