Ligia Peña, CFRE, MInstF will teach you how to revamp your KPIs, their definitions, and implement a legacy dashboard to better manage and track the evolution of legacy fundraising globally. The tools presented will be easily adaptable to small and large organizations.

Full Transcript:

Steven: Record. Okay, Ligia, let’s get going. Okay if I kick it off for us officially? All right, awesome. Good afternoon, everyone. Hope you had a nice long holiday weekend if you’re in the States. If not, I hope you’re just doing okay. I know there was a bank holiday in the UK so maybe hopefully some of you got the day off yesterday. But if you didn’t, I’m glad you’re here anyway because we’re going to have some fun. We’re going to be talking about legacy KPIs how to report without losing your bonkers. We don’t want that. We want you to stay calm and productive. And legacy fundraising one of my favorite topics right now.

So thanks for being here. Nice to see a full room. Hope you’re doing okay. I’m Steven, I’m over here at Bloomerang, and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always. And just a couple of housekeeping items before we get going here. Just want to let you all know that we are recording the session and I’ll be sending the recording as well as the slides later on today. If you didn’t already get those, don’t worry, we’ll get you everything recording, slides, handout. Ligia’s got like this really cool checklist for you she sent over. We’ll get it all to you so don’t worry if you have to leave early or if we get disconnected or something weird happens. The toddler comes in and interrupts you, don’t worry, we’ll get it to you.

But most importantly, please feel free to chat in any questions or comments you have this afternoon. We’re going to leave some time for Q&A. So don’t be shy, send them in. There’s a chat box, there’s a Q&A box, so you can use those. We’ll find them, don’t worry. I’ll even look at Twitter for those things, too, if you want to ask us a question there.

If this is your first Bloomerang webinar, I just want to say an extra special welcome to all you folks. If you’ve never heard of Bloomerang, we’re a provider of donor management software that’s what Bloomerang is, it’s what we’re all about. But we do these webinars almost a couple times a week nowadays since the quarantine began because we just want to get a lot of good information out there. But if you’re interested in software, you can find us online, check out our website. There’s all kinds of videos you can download because we’d love for you to learn more about that if you’re interested. But don’t do that right now. My favorite is coming back. Ligia Peña is back with us.

She was here a couple weeks ago, right? You did an awesome legacy fundraising presentation for us. And this is part two kind of. It was kind of part one, part two. But I’m excited to have you if you guys don’t know Ligia, she’s the Global Legacy Manager over at Greenpeace, which is pretty much all you need to know about her chops for this topic. But she is all over the place. She’s written lots of articles. She’s written a great book author of “Small Shop Fundraising” the chapter. And that’s a textbook right, Ligia? That’s like a big kind of . . . ?

Ligia: Like not a textbook. I have it here some . . . oh, it’s at the bottom of my bookshelf, but . . .

Steven: Don’t pull it out. I don’t want to mess up your beautiful book arrangement there.

Ligia: Yeah, everything is pretty much well balanced, but yeah.

Steven: She’s one of my favorite people. And legacy, like I said, this is something I’ve been getting asked a lot about over the past now almost three months. Should we be doing it? Should we stop doing it? How do we do it if we want . . . you know you’re going to hear about all that. So Ligia, I’m going to pipe down because I’ve already taken up too much your time. I’m going to stop sharing and let you pull up your slides.

Ligia: And I’m going to start sharing.

Steven: Hopefully, it works.

Ligia: Here we go and share.

Steven: Looks like it’s working. Okay, the floor is yours, my friend.

Ligia: Is it working?

Steven: Yeah, looks great.

Ligia: Awesome. Thank you. Thank you, awesome. I’m so excited to be here and it’s so weird to like be looking at just my slides and not being able to see faces. But know that I’m going to try to see how I can also see some of the comments and like, stop every couple slides. Honestly, a lot of what I’ll be presenting, we’ll have to switch out of PowerPoint and going to an Excel spreadsheet because the nuts and bolts of everything is in the Excel spreadsheet.

So as Steven was saying, I’m the Global Legacy Manager at Greenpeace International. But I also am a legacy and fundraising coach at my own company Globetrotting Fundraiser which is where you can find me. And if you’re going to be tweeting along this webinar, my Twitter handle is GlobetrottingFR. So tag me there or you can even ask me questions there and after the webinar, I’ll be happy, happy, happy to answer them.

So what are we going to cover today? We’re going to look at what are useful KPIs, and what are vanity metrics, which incredibly important to know the difference. And basically, this entire webinar is a case study. It’s a case study of what we’ve done at Greenpeace International. Keep in mind that my role as a Greenpeace for the past over four years has been to support and to build the capacity of all the legacy managers in the offices where we run programs, legacy programs. We have them in 14 different countries around the globe which is great and it’s really cool because you get to learn and see how different countries do things. So that’s a really nice challenge.

It’s a nice challenge, but also a very difficult challenge at times. And then we’re going to talk about how to set reporting systems that provide you with what you need in order to make the business decisions. So that’s what we’ll be covering. If you’re in a . . . and you know, going back to a little bit what Steven and I were talking before everybody started jumping on the call. This may not be applicable to everybody.

Now, what I’m trying to explain is that although I’m presenting the Greenpeace International case study of what we’ve done, the tool that I’ll be sharing with you the dashboard, I’ve adapted it to what would be the reality of small-medium organization. So that you don’t have to sit there and go, “Okay, that’s all fine and dandy for an international organization but for my small shop, I don’t know if this is doable.”

So I’ve made every effort to look at it through the lens of a small-medium size organization and a fundraiser that probably is alone doing this, okay. It may not be completely perfect, but I’ve made an effort. Because as Steven was saying, well, the first 15 years of my career were spent as a small shop fundraiser, so I know where you’re coming from.

All right, so what are vanity metrics? So those are metrics that basically would look good to others but don’t necessarily help you to understand how your program is performing, and how you can develop business decisions and develop future strategies.

So I know that you know, you talk to digital people, and they’ll say, “Well, you know, knowing how many likes you have is really great.” From this perspective you know, knowing how many likes on a Facebook post is a vanity metric because you can’t build necessarily a strategy around that. So that’s like in simple terms what that means, what I mean by a vanity metric. I’m trying to find . . . I had a little bit of a note here and I just lost it.

So what do we mean by this is, you know, in order to figure out how . . . in order to identify and put your metrics, the KPIs that you’re evaluating, through the is it a metrics kind of test, you need to ask yourself if the metric that you’re reporting on is it enabling you to make the business decision that can be made with the insights that you get from that metric, okay?

So that’s one of the ways that you can start figuring that out. Because we know that like a vanity metric may look nice on the surface, but they hold very little substance. And so it’s basically a very hollow metric if you can’t make business decisions out of it. You also want to ask, what can we do to intentionally reproduce the result, right? So this could be . . . a perfect example of this would be the Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral, right. Now is that something that can be intentionally reproduced? Many organizations have tried to do that, and they weren’t able to.

And why? Because the metric in which they were evaluating that and the way this all happened, it was a one-off. It wasn’t something that is normal and would be repeated on a regular basis. So that could be something that can help you vanity metric proof your KPIs.

And the third is, is the data a real reflection of the truth? So . . . sorry, I was just looking at the Q&A. So I’m glad that there’s the ALS Society of Canada here. And so they’re confirming that . . . I’m not sure if everybody can see the Q&A box and they’re saying, they can confirm that lightning doesn’t strike twice. So there we go. So, you know, developing fundraising strategies based on something like that, that basically is a one-off, it isn’t something that can be repeated so easily, would basically set up your program . . . I don’t want to say for failure, because it seems so drastic as a comment. But it could really set you up for disappointment because it’s very difficult to replicate those kinds of one-off situations.

And related to that, it’s also if the data is a real reflection of what is actually happening on the ground at the moment when you’re doing that kind of work. So here’s what’s happening. And the reason why I started with talking about vanity metrics is because when I started at Greenpeace in 2016, I felt that the way the reporting was being done was based on vanity metrics. So I came into a framework that was already in place by my predecessor, who was an absolute brilliant fundraiser.

And you know, as with any organization, sometimes you have to implement things that are perhaps not 100% good, but they’re good enough for now, because it’s already a big step forward, right? Change takes a long time and sometimes in order to get to that place where it’s almost perfect, you need to go in stages. So you need to make decisions that okay, well, right now, it’s not perfect, but it’s one step forward that it’s better than what we had before, right? So I don’t want this to be interpreted as me throwing shade at my predecessor, because she did a phenomenal job at putting in place this entire framework in which we’ve been working on for years.

And so the reporting at Greenpeace is done on a quarterly basis. So every quarter, every single office has to submit all of their fundraising ratios, their fundraising numbers, all their engagement numbers, everything. And so this is what the offices were reporting, the income the full-time equivalent so how many FTEs they had working dedicated to legacy marketing. The lead by stage development and I’m going to explain what that means in just one little minute. The number of realized gifts from existing, known, and unknown supporters. Again, I’m going to explain that when I show you the dashboard, so bear with me. The number of supporters over 55 years old and the number of face-to-face contacts. That was it.

So my question to you . . . and I guess we could use the Q&A box. If you were . . . whether you already have a reporting system right now for your legacy program or you don’t have one. If you were to receive this kind of information, which KPIs do you think that you’d have enough information with that KPI that it would enable you to make a business decision moving forward on your program? So use the Q&A box and just put which one or several of the ones listed here, income, FTE, leads by stage development, that you would know that would be good information for you to make a business decision on it.

Let’s see, yeah, so face-to-face contact, leads by stage, supporters over 55, leads, income, right. Okay. Income, number of supporters over 55, leads by stage, cool. Awesome. All right thank you, everyone try to make this as interactive as possible without having you in front of me. So that’s really cool. Thank you so much.

All right, so there was a problem. And the thing is that the biggest problem we have in legacies is that when all you do is look at the income, it only gives you a snapshot of what’s happening today. It doesn’t have actually speak about what was done in order to get there, and what will come in the future, right.

So the biggest, biggest challenge we have as legacy fundraisers and that fundraisers who probably have a legacy program in organization. Oh great . . . excuse the noise. This is when the street sweepers decide to come by right when the webinar begins I’m sorry. And of course, it’s really hot in here so I can’t close my window. Hang on. There you go. Apologies about that. Sorry about that.

So the biggest challenge that we have in legacy is that organizations tend to try to report legacies the same way they would report on their major gifts program, on their direct mail, on their talent marketing. Okay, I’m going to change this slide because I was getting tired of having Tom Hanks look at us.

And it’s really difficult to apply the same reporting approach for something that is immediate transaction versus what is legacies. Which is something that happens usually the gift is realized years after the ask is actually done, years after the solicitation, the marketing has happened. And so to simply look at income is not a true representation of the effort and the work that’s been put by the fundraising team.

So what needed to happen is we needed to look at the way we report but we realized that by looking at the way we report we also needed to look at the KPI definitions. What we found out was that every single office had a different way of reporting every single KPI so basically imagine this is 14 different countries in approximately 19 different markets because some offices have . . . they’re multi-country offices. Like for instance our Nordic office has four countries, the four Nordic countries, for instance, East Asia has several countries, Southeast Asia has four countries.

So it’s 14 offices, but approximately 20 markets, fundraising markets. So imagine 14 offices reporting 14 different ways. What do you think is the quality of the data we were getting? Kind of shoddy. There was also very little buy-in to wanting to change the way that everybody reported because the way they were seeing is “Oh, yet again, another change, which is going to be so much more work.” So that was another issue.

So I needed to build social capital. This was something that happened a year after I started working there. When I went and I visited all the offices and realized that everybody was doing something completely different. And so we didn’t have a clear picture of the situation, the legacy situation in the organization and that was very problematic. And we also needed to connect the KPIs with the pipeline. So when I mentioned before in the previous slide about the lead by stage development, those are the different stages within our legacy pipeline.

So at the time, when I started, there was a 10 stage pipeline model. We have since reduced it to six. And so that’s a whole different webinar altogether. So I needed to let the team members present the outcomes of the taskforce work. So this was a task force where I recruited some of the biggest, not the allies, actually, half of the people in the task force were people who were against the idea of changing the KPIs in the reporting. And they brought them in, especially for that. So what happened?

Let me just switch from this and I’m going to switch to the actual dashboard so you can see and I’m going to go through the dashboard. And . . . oops, cancel here and share. I almost accidentally pressed end the call so my mistake here. Hang on, let me make this bigger and bigger here. Okay, can this be seen?

Steven: This looks good, Ligia. Yeah, you made it nice and big. Yeah, looks good.

Ligia: Okay, I hear the sweepers coming around again.

Steven: The sweeper actually isn’t too bad, Ligia.

Ligia: I’m so sorry about that. The reality of working from home. Really? It sounds incredibly loud here. Okay, fantastic so I’ll stop stressing about it. It’s just that it’s too hot for me to close the balcony door and this door to my study. So this is what it looks like. And so these are fake numbers I just played around. And this dashboard is in the handouts that you’ll be getting at the end of the webinar. So don’t think that you need to start taking like, screenshots or pictures, because you will have it all both pages in the dashboard.

And again, you know, some of this data might be too much data for your organization so it’s up to you to determine what is best. But I’m going to explain the dashboard. I’ll make some recommendations of what things you could drop if it’s too much. I’ve already took out a few other KPIs in there that were just excessive, like, you know, what is the potential of people over the age of 55 in your entire market. So if you’re working in a state or in a province, you would look at your provinces or your state’s statistics and see how many people over the age of 55 are living in that market. You don’t need to go you know, that far out.

But here, we’re looking at total active supporters. So how many active supporters are in your database over the age of 55. And by active we decided to define active as someone who has given a financial donation to your organization in the last two years. And so, for illustration purposes, you know, I put a bunch of numbers and then total legacy pool. So this is an aggregate of these two lines. So what you would put in here is looking at how many people over the age of 55 are currently in your pipeline.

So if your pipeline has different stages, and here in this case, you can see leads by stage development that I was mentioning before. We’re talking about enquirers, we’re talking about considerers and intenders, and then, of course, last stage would be a pledger. Okay, so that’s the four stages that you need. There’s obviously the two other stages that I mentioned that we currently have are rejecters and like the realized gift. So to be very clear, an enquirer would be anyone that you have solicited, or who has proactively reached out to you inquiring about obtaining more information to leave a gift in their will, okay. So they’re just getting information. That’s it.

A considerer is as the name basically is pretty straightforward, is someone that is considering their decision. So they could have received an appeal from you, and they received your information, and now they’re considering their decision, you know, they’re mulling it over. And people can stay at this stage for a long time. And sometimes they might stay at that stage forever.

Intenders are much more specific. So as you can imagine, like, if you were to take a funnel and put it sideways, it’s basically like, the enquirers large and as you go closer, closer towards pledger, your funnel gets smaller, right. So an intender is someone who is intending to do it to leave a gift in their will. So they said, “Yes, I will do it,” you know, and they’re either in the stage of, I need to discuss my intentions with my family, or they need to book an appointment with their legal advisor or financial planner or whatever the case may be.

So that’s what those three definitions are. The pledger is obviously the person who has already pledged their gift to you so they let you know you are in the will, okay. So let me just stop very quickly to see the questions. What are the fiscal quarters? Well, in this case is whatever it’s Q1 . . . you know, whatever your quarters are. So for Greenpeace, our fiscal year for most offices is January 1st. In Australia, I think it’s standard that everything is July 1st so their quarters are a little bit different. But for global reporting is January to December so Q1 would be end of March.

Heather asks, “Do you know a software that can help us to obtain birthdays of constituents?” As far as I know, unfortunately, there is no such software. This is . . . And is actually probably the number one question I get when I do webinars or do trainings. I would say you can do it through a survey and ask your supporters for their year of birth, you know, as a demographic information. And you know, you would have to reassure them that this is not, you know, being shared anywhere else. So that’s a great way to get year of birth.

Do we ask supporters to provide birth dates? We try to, of course since . . . Because a lot of our legacy programs are in Europe, and since GDPR, has been put in place, it’s become more difficult. But you can . . . you know, if you do like a survey to do some prospecting to see who in your database is interested in legacy giving, then you can ask as one of the questions, you know, what is your year of birth for demographic purposes. And so that gives you a little bit of an idea of you know, how you would develop your strategy.

Oh, Brittany says that DonorSearch can do something like this. So great thank you for sharing that, Brittany, for identifying the age of donors. I was not aware of that so that’s really cool. Okay, let me continue and then I’ll come back to the next questions.

All right, so where were we? We were at existing supporters in the legacy pipeline, right. So these are the people over the age of 55, that they’ve already been solicited or approached, and they are currently in your pipeline. And then existing supporters not in the legacy pipeline is basically anybody that’s over the age of 55 that’s in your database, but has not been solicited. It’s basically those who could potentially be approached for legacy gift or to be put in through, you know, whatever strategy you decide to bring them in, okay.

So then the next section of the dashboard. Like, imagine that this is going from very macro and then going micro as we go down in the dashboard. So then we look at the supporters contacted. So you saw in the presentation I was saying like they were reporting how many face-to-face visits they were having. Here’s a reality of an organization like Greenpeace where oftentimes you will only have one legacy fundraiser in the country, you know, and having to manage a portfolio of thousands of supporters.

Basically, the approach is really much focused on mass marketing, and then the more personalized stuff happens at stage four, where if you’re talking about intenders. It is not realistic for organizations like that to be doing a lot of mass marketing. Having said that, let’s say in the context of a small, medium-sized organization, I feel very strongly that even if you don’t have a huge mass marketing approach in your legacy program, you should be reporting on this.

My rationale is here and I had to really . . . I don’t want to say, argue, but I had to really make my case is that only talking about the face to face approach was not a fair representation of the effort and the time required to do all the work of a legacy manager. What I mean by that is, you know, we have to be straddling two worlds of doing mass marketing and developing great impactful appeals, and surveys, and newsletters, and this, and that, and all kinds stuff. While at the same time offering that highly personalized service to donors. And so by only reporting on one area of the work that we were doing, it was not painting the complete picture of the effort, and the challenge, and the difficulty, and the complexity, that it is to be a legacy manager.

And so, obviously, we were very, very realistic in the fact that it would not . . . like the mass marketing approach would not be an exact, exact number. But basically, I was saying . . . you know, I told them just look at if you do in one quarter one appeal and one survey, let’s say, just look at you know, your segmentation, how many people were in there, and that’s good enough. At least it gives us an idea of how much work you’ve done in that area. And the personalized approach, the way we defined it is anything that would be like a one-on-one email or one-on-one conversation on the phone. Or you know, a house visit, etc., things like that.

Okay, so that’s what this section is about. The main, main objective, what I really wanted the legacy managers to understand is that I want them to get the recognition they need for their work and for their effort. And also, in addition to that, this is where I was putting my former fundraising director hat when I was a fundraising director in all the other organizations I worked at was that if I were to look at this and see how much effort you’re putting in, then it would be easier for you to build your business case to request . . .

Steven: Hey, guys, looks like we lost Ligia there for a second so we’ll try to get her back on, okay, so sit tight. Might just be her internet connection. Not much I can do at my end but we’ll try to get her reconnected here. Yeah, it looks like we lost her. I’m going to see if we can get her logged in. I’ll send her a text message here real quick, so hang tight. We’ll try to get her back in okay.

[silence 00:30:34 – 00:32:14]

Steven: Hey, friend.

Ligia: Oh so sorry.

Steven: It’s okay, we missed you.

Ligia: I think I . . . I lost connection, didn’t I?

Steven: I think it might have been you. I’m not real sure. But you dropped off totally so . . .

Ligia: I was talking and suddenly I’m like, why did everything go dark?

Steven: You were on a roll.

Ligia: I know, but then I looked and the little thingy the Wi-Fi was like, all the bars are there.

Steven: It might have been Zoom. I mean, Zoom since all this started it’s been so unstable.

Ligia: Is everyone still in the room?

Steven: Yeah, we’re still here. I told them we would try to . . .

Ligia: Oh, my goodness.

Steven: . . . get back you in. But I did absolutely nothing other than just wait for you and send you a couple messages.

Ligia: No, I see them. I am so sorry to everyone [inaudible 00:32:56].

Steven: It’s not your fault. People understand.

Ligia: This weird because I’ve always prided myself in having like great Wi-Fi and never had any problem and then boom it had to happen when I’m giving . . .

Steven: [inaudible 00:33:10] worst. Let’s blame the street sweeper, that’s what I’m going to do.

Ligia: There you go. Let’s blame the city of Montreal.

Steven: Come on Montreal, geez. Okay.

Ligia: Do come back to Montreal because it’s a really great city.

Steven: I’ve heard that.

Ligia: All right, so can you guys see this screen back to back?

Steven: Yeah, we see the spreadsheet.

Ligia: Okay. I was like, oh, maybe I touched something but no, I was like, doing my usual Latina gesticulating thing. All right, thanks, guys. Thanks for your understanding and I do apologize. I think I was answering someone’s question. Oh, yeah, the FTE I was talking about the FTE. I hope that my answer was clear. I hope that made sense. Chad, that was your name, Chad.

All right keep going. Where was I?

All right, so the idea of this section that says, pool of prospects is all about showing what’s in the pipeline and what potential you have, but also demonstrating the amount of effort you’re putting in to do all this right. So yeah, someone anonymous is asking how did it get . . . you know, what could have happened that you go from 75 personalized approach to 450? Let’s just say they had a legacy event, a specific legacy event, let’s say they would have done that. I was just throwing numbers here and there. It’s just for illustration purposes, but let’s not get crazy here. Don’t take it too, too, too seriously just saying.

Okay, so enquirers. So as you can see, you know, as I was saying that normally you would have a higher number of enquirers and as you move people through the pipeline, there are less and less people, right. So enquirers, as I said, anybody that would have requested additional information, or would have inquired about your program, your legacy program, etc. So someone that fits that bill.

What’s really important to say is that leads by stage development they’re not age-specific. The only place where they are age-specific is when we’re looking at the pool, the total legacy pool. But leads by stage development, you know, if you have someone that is 45, that is writing their first will and they reach out to you and inquired or said they’re considering leaving a gift in their will to your organization, then you would put them in there. So don’t exclude anybody because of their age. Because, yes, the gift might be realized in a long, long time, but you never know like the way it is. It could also be realized sooner than 20 years.

So the leads by stage development is not dependent on a specific age, okay. So Sarah is asking “How often do you review the stages of the pipeline for the prospects?” So this is something that . . . actually it’s something that we talk about in my webinar, “Building a Legacy Pipeline,” it’s actually something you’re constantly working. Because if you dedicate 100% of your time in legacies, or if you dedicated 50% of your time, it’s basically what you would be doing. You’d be looking at your numbers and developing strategies to move people through that pipeline.

Now to answer more specifically, you would update these numbers, you wouldn’t be updating them on a regular basis. You would update them when you’re supposed to report. So if in your organization you report on a monthly basis you might do that on a monthly basis. As I was saying at the beginning a little earlier globally, all of our offices report on a quarterly basis. So that’s when they update these numbers. In between those three months, they don’t update it. They just basically run their numbers at the end.

So that’s enquirer. Considerer, like I said, someone that either has received information or they’ve looked at things on your website, or they took part in some sort of activity. Or you had a conversation with them and they said, “Oh, you know, that’s interesting, I’m thinking about it. I’ll consider that as I make my decisions.” So that’s how it’s defined. And then intender is someone that now . . . they’ve decided that they will. They just need to basically sign on the dotted line and like, confirm it. So that’s what that is.

Let me just look, I see, Ann is asking “Have you run legacy event? What did that involve?” So legacy events that have been run at Greenpeace, they take different forms depending on the office. Our Dutch office always has eight legacy events specifically for legacy pledgers and intenders. And usually, it’s basically like a lunch in their garden because they have a garden. And they’ll have like, a lunch with them, all the legacy pledgers, and they’ll have an update from some of our program people in whatever campaign they’re currently running. Like perhaps like one of the biggest campaign they’re running. Like in the past, they had a bee campaign. So what’s going on with our work that Greenpeace is doing around bees and protecting bees, etc.

A legacy event that is really, really popular at our Greenpeace UK office is a garden party that happens right behind the building of where the Office of Greenpeace UK is. They also have the warehouse, okay, the Greenpeace warehouse. And what happens at the Greenpeace warehouse . . . and Natasha, who I know is also on this call and is the person that’s started the entire legacy program at Greenpeace, way back in her day. Being able to go into the warehouse in one of the Greenpeace office is a huge honor and it’s a privilege because that’s where all of the campaign, all the action take place. Like that’s where they plan them. That’s where they rehearse them. That’s where they prepare them.

It’s usually a place that’s only restricted to actions people. I have been to the Greenpeace UK office three times I have never been allowed in that building because it’s top-secret stuff. And so once a year, they open up the warehouse, and you can actually go in and like you can try some of this stuff. You can touch the zodiac, you can touch like . . . you know, it’s like very, very exclusive. So that’s the kind of events that happen. So you have to look at in your organization, what kind of things you can do that would be similar of being very, very special. Okay, so I’m going to go on because it’s . . . you know, get back to the dashboard.

All right, as you can tell I really love talking about this so I could go on and on and on for hours. Next, what are we looking at total pledges, including from prior year, so what are we looking at? So these are the pledges that have been confirmed. So you actually have been told by the donor that your organization is in the will. And then what we see here is all the new pledges in the current year so the number above. So for instance, Q1 that says 123 that would be . . . everything is cumulative, okay.

And then the number in new pledges in current year is for that quarter. So in that quarter, so Q1, they received two new pledges, okay, so now technically the organization would have 127 sorry, 125 . . . I was looking on the wrong number. 125 pledges expectancies, okay, clear?

Now the next part the total realized gifts. So what that means is how many gifts have been realized. How many notifications you have received by the notary, the executor, that a person has passed away and has left a gift in their will to you. This is where things get a little bit dicey and I’ll explain why.

Here we have it split between existing, known, and unknown support. So let me explain the distinction between the three. Now, you might choose not to report on this. This is getting very, very micro, and it might not be an insight that is useful to you. For a big global organization for us, it’s quite helpful and I’ll explain why. Existing supporter the way we define it is someone who was in our pipeline, so was in that country’s pipeline, legacy pipeline, and they have passed away, okay. So that’s existing supporter.

Known supporter, the distinction between that, and it’s very minute, is someone that was in the database but was not necessarily in the legacy pipeline. So they had probably signed a petition or taken part in an action or had given in the past or were a current active donor, but never ever was part of the legacy pipeline. So either they were not asked or they never responded. So there’s a distinction between the two. One is because they were in the pipeline. The other one is they were not in the pipeline.

A known supporter is someone who is completely unknown, was not in the pipeline, was not in the database at all, like this person is a complete stranger to the organization. Now, the reason why that’s important to us is because what we’ve been able to see globally is that between 55% and 65% of gifts and wills that come into the organization comes from people who are completely unknown to the organization.

So you can basically extrapolate and you can make an assumption that let’s say you’ve got 125 confirmed pledges, you can anticipate that there’s a high probability that you would get an additional 75 . . . no a bit more than 75 sorry. But like 85, 90, 85 more gifts that come in, so 50% more would come in and be realized in the future. So that helps you gauge a little bit how much potential your organization really truly has. If you know that, let’s say 50% of gifts are really not coming from people you know in your database.

A really interesting insight is that when I shared this with participants to a session I gave at the AFP, Toronto Congress, someone raised their hand and said she was from a small community hospital, in some town in the province of Ontario here in Canada. And she said for them, for that small hospital, it was 70% of legacy gifts came from people who were completely unknown. So this speaks volumes about how much reach an organization can have in a community if they were to communicate broadly that donors can leave a gift in their will.

So let me pause for a second to take a few questions here. Do you create constituency codes for enquirers, considerers, and intenders to efficiently [board 00:45:11]? Yes, Heather, good point. Absolutely. So everyone is coded in the database so that it’s easier to know. So you do not want to be running a parallel like spreadsheet or database to your database, you want to have everything housed in the database. And actually, hey, Steven, maybe this is an action item for us. It’d be great, really cool to see how in Bloomerang this is coded and how all of these things can be facilitated in Bloomerang.

Steven: Yeah, you can do it however you want. We don’t we don’t lock you into a certain terminology. We just let you say, hey, or whatever you want to call your custom fields. So you could literally call them your exact terminology for example, Ligia if you wanted to. Yeah, it’s nice.

Ligia: Cool. So Ron asked, “What’s the difference between existing supporter and known supporter.” So I just explained that. How do you track which stages someone’s in, in your fundraising database, or in some other way? So everything is tracked in the database. So Greenpeace before I started they started transitioning to Salesforce and like a version of Salesforce that’s really, really like, tailored to the Greenpeace model. So they’ve since then have been integrating it through phases from office to office. So it’s all in Salesforce.

And really like at the end of the day, most databases like they might have a different interface, but the backend is pretty much all the same. So they all have like constituent codes, and they’re tagged based on their stage. So pretty easy. So then all you have to do is just build your report and pull that data. And of course, I’m sharing with you this spreadsheet, you can basically build this dashboard in whatever tool you have. If you have that capacity in your database, you can build something similar. It doesn’t have to look like this but you can build something similar of this magnitude.

You can also do it using Tableau, which is a great tool if you’re using Google tools. We’re also using Google Dashboard as well, to report on like other global numbers. So there’s a lot of great tools out there that . . . I mean, I’m just showing this because that’s how the information comes to us from international from our Insights Team. And also because you know, it’s aggregated information coming from, you know, 14 different countries. So it’s up to you to like, take this and be like, okay, well, so how can we integrate that so it’s automated, make your life easier. Let me continue because the hour goes by really quickly.

So average pledge amount is basically how much realized income has come in based on how many gifts are realized, right. So these are all formulas here. We also report something that we were not reporting. And it’d be often a question that I would get asked is, you know how much in other offices is investing in legacy marketing in order to do that ratio between investment and results, right. So we started reporting on the total legacy cost. And so we separated the legacy marketing and operational costs from the legacy staff cost. So we put that in there so that gives us a bit more insights. And then the realized income, the new pledge income of what we expect, and then you know, the profit could use a different term obviously, but the profit margin, right.

And then this is basically the total pledge balance outstanding is using basically the average pledge amount multiplied by the total pledges that is expected. Of course, this is . . . you know, you have to take this with a little bit of grain of salt. Because you know that number, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s a number that you’re going to get next year or next quarter. But what it does is it gives you a snapshot of the total value of the portfolio of your legacy program. And to me, that was really important because I wanted to shift the thinking and this is why I feel so strongly about this tool in whatever form it takes for you and your organization.

If we really want to change the mindset and the way management and our colleagues and I’m talking here about managing up, managing down, managing sideways. If we want to change that mindset about what legacy fundraising is, and about the potential that it presents to an organization, I believe, wholeheartedly that this tool is perhaps one of the best tools or any form of this tool to be able to make that case. Because when you can say, “Look, don’t stop . . . you know how at the beginning, I said looking at how much money has come in this quarter is not a good example of how good you’re doing, because that’s work that was done 5, 10, 15 years ago. So that’s not a true representation of your effort.

But when you look at this number and this number, you know that if you move these people in your pipeline, to confirm their pledge, and you look at the average pledge amount, this is what the value of your portfolio looks like. And so now it brings a different perspective about your legacy program that is very powerful. Because then it means I need to invest in stewarding these 125 pledgers in addition to having to convert all of these folks into pledgers in order to tap into this money and more. Does that make sense?

Like, this is what the focus should be on it should be on acquiring and converting all of the people in the pipeline in order to tap into that money, otherwise, you’re never going to get there, right? So how do you do this? So this is the bit that gets me super excited, is the quarterly program efficiency KPIs. And basically, these are all formulas. Really, like I mean, I didn’t do any of these calculations because I’ve never been good at math and arithmetic. So I’m out when it comes to this. But luckily, there was a really smart insight person that helped me out with this and we were able to come up with great insights.

And so this is where it tells you quarter to quarter how your program is evolving by looking at the pool volume, pie active support, the number of leads by the pool volume, etc. So you see here like, you see that you start off at Q1, your number of leads in comparison to the volume that you have in your pool is at 45%. And then in Q3, it decreases. So if you’re looking at it from a management perspective, if you put on you know, your management hat then you go, okay, there’s something going on that number went down, what’s going on? Do we need to reassess our strategy? Do we need to do something different next quarter in order to boost that?

Again, total number of supporters contacted versus the pool volume, the number goes up, and then the number goes down. Remember how someone asked me well, what could have happened that, you know, suddenly you know, there were 75 people and then suddenly, oh, 450. Maybe there was an event. That explains this number, right. So you can see those numbers shifting and so on and it goes on and on and on. And so this is what it is.

These are numbers I created for 2018, let’s say and then for comparison purposes 2019. So it’s basically the same table. I fudged around with some of the numbers and stuff like that. The only difference is the year two, then you have the annual growth rate so in comparison to the previous year. So it gives you more insights, you can compare year one to year two. So if you’re starting out you know, year one is your benchmark, and then year . . . Sorry, year zero technically would be your starting point and year one is your first benchmark, and then you move on and on and on and move on accordingly.

So that’s the dashboard. So let me flip back to . . . how do I . . . stop sharing, I want to share a different page now. I want to go back to my PowerPoint here on the desktop. No, sorry, give me one second let me just go back to sharing. I know I do want to answer your question so I just want to finish the PowerPoint and then I want to answer all your questions because I see that the time is running. So we already did this.

So basically, looking at the dashboard and so on, as I mentioned, you really want to focus on the lead acquisition and the conversion and focus more on that and focus less on income received. I know what’s going to happen, senior management and board members will stop at looking at . . . they’ll see the income and they’ll be like “That’s it. I don’t want to hear anything else. That’s all that matters to me.” But you need to . . . That’s why this dashboard can paint a completely different picture of your legacy programs so that you can start having those conversations about the importance of stewardship, the importance of acquisition, of investing in acquisition and conversion of your leads, your bequest leads, so that you can then get that income, okay?

You want to take your time because this is going to take . . . this big mindset shift, you’re basically asking senior management and everybody to look at the results for that particular fundraising program through a completely different lens than what would be done with, you know, your DM, your annual campaign, and your major gift program. And so it’s going to take time, but that’s why this tool is so powerful if you present it in this way.

And then, of course, monitor and adjust accordingly. Like, you know, this tool is great, it’s not perfect, it’s not answering all the questions that we have at Greenpeace, but it’s a huge step forward from where we came from before. And we know . . . and like I’ve updated and I’ve tweaked it in the last two years since we’ve been using it. And so it’s a dynamic tool that you need to keep working at and improving as your program grows and develops and becomes more mature.

So that’s the dashboard and I hope you haven’t lost your mind because I thought I was losing my mind when I first started working on it. All right, so this is me. If you have additional questions . . . I’m going to take time now to answer your questions. But you can always write to me. As you can tell, I’m really passionate about this and I love this. I love my work. So I’m happy to answer your questions and, yeah. So let me go through the Q&A or Steven, I don’t know if you’ve got some that are coming from Twitter or something like that, but here.

And if I miss some of your questions, I do apologize but do reach out to me. I’m trying to see all of . . . Okay, so what paperwork do you require from the donor to book the pledge? Good question, Christina. Most of the time it’s done virtually excuse me verbally. Different donors will share that information differently. I encourage my legacy managers to ask donors to complete a gift announcement form which is basically a form that enables the donor to let us know you know, the terms of the gift, etc. Also notify us of who the executor is, how they want to be recognized, what kind of recognition they want to have. It also gives them the power to decide to remain anonymous.

But the most important bit about that document is that it enables them to . . . we ask them to provide a message for the future generation. And so it’s a very highly personalized tool some offices are using it, not all of them are using it. But if that’s something you would like to try with your donors because it’s something you can send out in the mail, or you could do over the phone, or you can do it as a landing page on your legacy website on the legacy web page. I do have a sample on my website, Globetrotting Fundraiser, if you click on the resources page, you will find the gift announcement form right there. And you can have a sample there and there’s a bunch of other resources that you can download.

John is asking a legacy donor is defined by one that makes any donor level of a planned gift. Yeah, so you know what you raise a good point, John, because I didn’t define exactly what I meant by legacy at the top of the webinar. For this webinar, what I’m referring to in legacy is really gifts and wills so a bequest. At Greenpeace, we really only do bequests and in some countries like in Spain and Switzerland, we also do life insurance. But we don’t do all of the financial products like we do in Canada or in the U.S. because that’s the minority of the gifts that come in.

And really, when you look at the ensemble of all the planned gifts that come in, to nonprofits, you know, the vast majority, I would say, maybe . . . I’d venture a guess that it’s probably about 85%. 85% of planned gifts come from bequests. So if you’re in a smaller organization, should you be wasting your time on, you know, trying to get gifts that only represent 15% of what you would probably get? Probably not. So it’s the Pareto principle, right? So that’s what you want to be doing.

Here, if you don’t have a similar capacity in your database, what do you recommend? I think you’re referring to this to the dashboard, well do Excel. You can do something like that. Like I mean, we do it in Excel like all the numbers are aggregated in Excel spreadsheets given to insights, and then they just transfer the data. They copy the information. So, yeah, you can do that.

Oh, Janet, you’re on the call great, awesome. How do you estimate the average pledge amount given that many bequests are not specific amounts but a percentage of residual estate?

So that’s basically . . . it’s a formula in the dashboard that looks at what has come in. So basically, whatever has come in so far, they do an average based on how many bequests that’s represented. So one common that we have observed and we’re not quite there to add that in the dashboard is doing the differentiation between a pecuniary gift and a residual gift. Some offices wanted to have the difference so that we know how much comes from pecuniary and how much comes from residual. But the majority of people decide not to include that so we decided not to. But to answer your question, it’s basically all the money that’s come in, that’s how the average gift is calculated.

Let’s see, would you be emailing your sample dashboard with the formulas? Actually you get a PDF of it. I’m not allowed to share the actual Excel spreadsheet, I’m afraid. But you know if you’re a little bit good . . . Like, honestly, when you look at it, they’re quite well defined. So you can pretty much figure out okay, it’s that field and that field so you just do like the division really. But because it’s something that was developed by a consultant for Greenpeace, I’m not allowed to share the actual source file. But you do get the whole PDF of both sheets so you see how it’s done.

Let me see. Steven, are we good to stay a few more minutes if people want to stay?

Steven: Why don’t we do five more minutes since there was that outage. Yeah, let’s do it.

Ligia: What exception language can be found for planned gift if we’re concerned that their area of interest will not exist when they pass? It can be a hurdle for signing up. I’m not sure I understand. Oh, I understand. So, Michelle, I think what you’re referring to is if the donor decides to designate a gift to a specific program, and then that program doesn’t exist. I’m assuming that that’s what you’re referring to. There is a power to vary clause, there is sample language on my website that you can get, and then there’s a paragraph.

And then of course, again, you need to make sure that any sample language gets verified by a legal adviser where you are. But it’s basically a wording, it’s a short paragraph that basically says that you know, the donor recognizes that should that program . . . like if you do offer the option to designate a bequest, that the donor recognizes that should that program no longer be in existence at the time when the gift comes in, that let the board decide, make that decision on their behalf. And so that’s what a power to vary clause would be. And so you want to provide that to your donors, just in case. But if you don’t offer your donors the option to designate their bequest to a specific program, then you don’t need that, that’s not necessary.

Some fundraisers talk about pipeline generically and others have a written plan. Do you have a template you could share? Yeah, there’s a template I usually share when I do my pipeline. Well basically, we kind of already have it in that dashboard because those are the stages basically. And so then you have to decide how you specifically define them in your organization. So you know, I don’t want to presume that, you know, the way we define them at Greenpeace is applicable or relevant to your organization. But if you use intenders, considerers . . . sorry, enquirers, intenders, considerers, and pledgers, you’ve got yourself a pipeline. So you can use that terminology and then you build your program accordingly.

Okay, I’m trying to cover everything. Would you recommend some small shops divide between residual and non-residual? You know what you can, if you’ve got the capacity to report that, you know. I love the small shops I worked at where I was the only fundraiser doing absolutely everything from like, direct mail to grant writing to major gifts and developing a legacy program. There was no way. It was just too difficult. But sometimes it’s easier because you don’t have a lot of volume so it’s really easy to do it. So if you have that capacity, definitely, definitely do the separation in your reporting between pecuniary and residual, absolutely.

John asks, “Are you able to look at websites and make recommendations as to how KPIs are sourced?” I don’t have the capacity. I don’t have that kind of infrastructure to do that. But maybe we could talk and you can tell me a little bit more of what you’re looking for. So if you want to pop me an email, John, I’d be happy to look at that. And if I don’t know like it, maybe there’s someone I know that can help with that.

All wills should have a power to vary regardless if the organization offers designate or not? Sure. Okay. Absolutely.

Let’s see anything else? Am I missing . . . Sorry, database question was referring to coding of where people are in the pipeline. If we don’t have the ability to code where people are, do you have suggestions for how to not have to manually track? That’s kind of strange that your database wouldn’t have that ability to code. And I’m sure perhaps . . . I mean, I what I’ve done in the past is I’ve fudged some of like the fields and made like a business decision where like, it was a field that wasn’t being used, I just fudged it and said, okay, well, this is going to be the field I use to identify them as, you know, prospects or whatever.

I didn’t have . . . like, for instance, my last organization it was a small, small organization here in Montreal and because we didn’t have . . . I was in the process of establishing the legacy program, we couldn’t afford to buy . . . like we implemented Raiser’s Edge. Sorry, Steven. And so we implemented Raiser’s Edge and I didn’t have the capacity, we didn’t have the funds or the volume of prospects in order to pay for the module for bequests for planned giving. And so I just use one of the other fields and just designated it as that and so that’s how I got around it. You know, there’s always a way to find ways.

So yeah, I know I’m probably missing a few questions because I’m trying to scroll up and down but if I didn’t get to your question, I do apologize but do, do write to me and I’ll do my best to answer you.

Steven: That was awesome. I really liked seeing your spreadsheet. I feel like I got a peek behind the curtain on some of this stuff. This is really cool, Ligia. Thanks for doing this. I said this at the top and I wanted to thank you again for doing two sessions for us in such a short amount of time. It was your idea, you reached out very gracious, you know, you want to do this for the community so I really appreciate it. And it’s good to see you twice in a row so quickly when normally it’s months apart at conferences I feel like. So this is awesome. Thank you.

Ligia: Likewise, I love doing this so anytime I’m always happy to do more for Bloomerang.

Steven: And obviously reach out to her, you got that very kind offer from her, so take advantage of it. She’s obviously a wealth of knowledge, and one of my favorites for what that’s worth. So this has been fun. This is a nice way to start off my week. We weren’t working yesterday here in the States so this is a good way to kick things off. So thanks to all of you for hanging out with us during your busy day, I’m sure.

So Ligia, I’m going to take this screen away. Oh, actually, no, I’m not. We’ve got a peer to peer webinar coming up next week so check out the Bloomerang resources page. We got lots of cool sessions coming up. We’re scheduling them out into the fall now already. So hopefully we’ll see you again on another session. So look for an email from me besides recording. We’ll send out Ligia’s spreadsheet, also the one she was showing today live. And hopefully, we’ll see you again on another “Bloomerang webinar.” So stay cool out there. I know it’s hot where you are, Ligia. It’s hot here in Indy, too. So hopefully you guys are all staying cool, healthy, productive. We’re thinking about you all. And hopefully, we’ll see you again in another webinar. So we’ll call it a day there. See you all.

Ligia: Bye.

Steven: Bye.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.