Suggestions and Recommendations:
- Consider a short survey emailed to the parish concerning launching this program. It is acceptable to inquire if parishioners feel a humble low-key approach to this subject would find support within the parish. Offer a selection of responses such as “the parish is already in our estate plans” or “we would welcome a low-key conversation about this” or “this is not something we would participate in” or “send us material and we’ll think about it.”
- Develop a brochure and charter document. The charter document need not be a legal document. It could simply be read into the minutes of a parish council meeting and approved. It will govern the hows and ways of the program.
- Thoughtfully review the parish membership and identify possible planned giving candidates.
- Create a special group for those who have the remembered the parish in their estate planning. Honor them each year to keep the practice of estate giving visible and active.
- Meet individually with those who respond positively to the survey. Begin each meeting by thanking the parishioner for past support. Share an insider’s briefing. Articulate all the wonderful things that an endowment or a planned gift would accomplish.
- Invite members of the charter class to attend a dedication of the society.
- Celebrate every year. Begin laying the groundwork for next year’s planned giving class induction.
- When appropriate announce planned gifts that have been received by the parish. Describe the good they will accomplish.
- Be sure that earnings from the endowment do not flow into the operating budget, which should be funding exclusively through stewardship. Use the endowment for entrepreneurial programs and project, eventually migrating the successful ones into the operating budget and then launching new ones.