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The Surprising Way You Find People Who Really Want to Put Your Organization in Their Will

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It’s almost hard to believe.

You have donors who are waiting for you to ask them if they’ll include your organization in their Will.

On average, each one is ready to hand over $35,000.

But you have to ask them first.

But how do you find those people, and how do you ask them such a personal question?

I know.

It’s an amazing fundraising technique called the Supporter Connection Survey.

I was blown away when I learned about it…

If the Ice Bucket Challenge and the LiveStrong Bracelet got together and had a child, that child would be ineffective compared to the Supporter Connection Survey!

It gently and relevantly allows those who are ready to raise their hands and say, “Yes, I’d love to put you in my Will!”

It does some other great things too, like finds hidden upper-level donors and people who want to be monthly donors. Plus you find out why these excellent people are giving in the first place!

When I learned about the Supporter Connection Survey, I blogged about it.

I want to quote extensively from that post, and then tell you how I missed the mark at that time. I simply wasn’t amazed enough!

Here’s that post:

I’ve just learned about an exciting new direct mail fundraising technique. Yes, I’m using the word “new” in the same sentence with “direct mail.” I know we all tend to think everything about direct mail is older than dirt. But this is new.

And it just might blow your mind the way it did mine.

It’s called a Supporter Connection Survey. It’s a direct mail pack that features a survey.

You might be saying right now, “Surveys are not new in fundraising, you idiot!” That’s more or less what I said at first. But a Supporter Connection Survey is different. It’s so different; it’s not a survey at all — even though it looks and acts exactly like one.

Sean and Paul, the co-founders of at Pareto Fundraising, used similar surveys in the UK in the 90s, and Pareto developed them further with charities in Australia from 2003. This type of survey is now common in Australia and New Zealand and used in some form by the majority of successful fundraising charities there.

In short, a Supporter Connection Survey is meant to discover what individual donors think and say about your cause so you can talk back to them about the things they care about. It’s not unlike an actual conversation!

It also helps you find substantial legacy giving leads and other forms of valuable connection with donors. (And this — revenue-wise — is even more critical.)

A Supporter Connection Survey looks almost precisely like different kinds of surveys, so let me show you what it is not:

It’s not a research survey

You are not going to get useful, statistically valid findings of your donor file with a Supporter Connection Survey! You will almost inevitably lead yourself astray if you try to use it to get valid research. (Real research is hard. If you need to do some research, get professional help if you want to do it right!)

It’s not a fundraising “push” survey

That’s the type of survey more widely used in fundraising. This type of survey is also not for research. You don’t get any usable information from a push survey.

Push surveys work quite well in many areas of fundraising, especially those that have an advocacy flavor, like the environment and civil liberties. They are a mainstay of political fundraising.

But they’re not at all like Supporter Connection Surveys.

Supporter Connection Surveys are all about creating two-way communication between organizations and donors. Done right, they are virtual magic.

Okay, that’s what I said a few months ago. Since then, I’ve walked alongside several organizations as they created and launched a Supporter Connection Survey. They got more donor interest, more bequest leads, and other leads than our most optimistic projections. A lot more! So many more that they are looking at a future with many times the revenue they get today.

This single survey (and you can bet they’ll be doing it again) will transform the life of the organization. They’ll be able to do more of their good work than they’ve dreamed possible — until now. And they’re dreaming!

Thus the reason I’m telling you this.

Want to learn everything you need to know about bequest fundraising? Click here to find out more about Christiana’s online course, Your Complete Roadmap to Raising Money with Bequests that is available when you join The Fundraisingology Lab.

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