9 mistakes made by planned giving committees

Planned giving campaigns require a lot of work and preparation, including forming a committee. Just having a committee is not enough, because problems and mistakes can actually cause harm rather than just not working to maximum benefit.

In addition to fundraising, a committee can lend a great deal of credibility to a fundraising effort or to an organization itself. A committee can even help plug an organization into a community’s estate planning network.

John Elbare, founder and owner of Florida Philanthropic Advisors in Sarasota, Fla., maintains that being aware of the most common mistakes and then avoiding them can go a long way toward preventing headaches and making the committee experience and the campaign a good one for all involved.

The most common mistakes, Elbare said, are:

  • Giving the committee members too little or too much to do;
  • Having an unclear or vague sense of purpose;
  • Expecting committee members to raise the planned gifts;
  • Expecting the committee to run itself without much staff support;
  • Expecting committee members to be planned giving experts;
  • Expecting committee members to obtain gifts from their own clients. (If nothing else, it’s generally considered unethical.);
  • Not educating the committee members about gift planning ethics;
  • Allowing volunteers to promote products or services; and,
  • Expecting members to provide free professional services.