This month, we have a guest post from Elena Fracchia, a Wealth Advisor for one of CNS’s sponsors, Columbia Bank.


The parents of Baby Boomers have often been called “the Greatest Generation” by historians. While their contributions to society are beyond reproach, to the nonprofit community, those Baby Boomers deserve their own place atop great generational achievements, as they largely created the industry of nonprofits.

And now, as the baby boomer generation heads into retirement, their partnership can be brought full circle with planned giving to the organization of their choice.

Planned giving is the process of including a significant charitable gift in a financial or estate plan. In short, it is a plan to leave a legacy with a nonprofit or charity of choice.

For nonprofit leaders, it is a great time to consider including planned giving as part of your overall development strategy. Here are a few tips regarding how to approach the conversation with potential donors in order to make the case for planned gift that fit in well with the donor’s wishes and priorities.

  1. Finding the best strategy: Often times embarking on a planned giving strategy means clearly defining your gift acceptance policies – which types of estate gifts would make the most sense for your organization and how you would realistically manage the program. Planned giving is not for everyone, so having an honest conversation with your team and/or board about your stance is important. Now is a great time to explore how you would implement a planned giving strategy as you begin to identify opportunities by gaining knowledge and understanding of to whom your donors currently give.
  2. Embrace the cliché that it is a marathon, not a sprint. As a nonprofit leader you want to be continuously seeking out and cultivating donors for planned giving. This starts with research as noted above, but it also entails developing long term relationships that build upon themselves over time. Planned gift donors are generally those who are highly invested in your long-term existence. Hint: They may not be your largest donors today, but they could be in the future.
  3. It is still all about the donor. When you are ready to have these conversations, your chief assignment is to listen for what is most important to your donors regarding their legacy and its impact. Your job is to ensure that their gift easily and seamlessly matches their intentions.
  4. Focus on impact over dollars. How would a donor’s legacy positively impact and effect change in the community? That is the story donors are looking for. A Legacy gift looks beyond the day-to-day and even year-to-year operations – it looks to a type of impact we rarely get to speak about, the kind that changes communities for the long haul.

The parents of Baby Boomers – The Greatest Generation – left a legacy for the world that includes winning a World War and building much of America. The boomers themselves want to carry on that tradition of legacy-making, and ensuring the continued health of their creation, the nonprofit industry, is fulfillment of that promise.


Wherever you’re headed, Columbia Bank has the people and resources to help get you there. It starts with “hello.” We never forget a name or a face. Real human beings answer our phones. And our commitment to providing all the services required to help build strong Northwest communities is firmly rooted in our DNA.