Missed opportunity.

That’s what many nonprofits experience when it comes to Planned Giving. They likely have donors who — if informed, encouraged, and guided — would seriously consider a significant bequest.

The average charitable bequest in the U.S. is $35,000.

Yet too often, a lack of consistency and clarity around Planned Giving leads to low donor awareness and participation. Part of the problem is likely how Planned Giving is positioned and promoted on a nonprofit’s website.

Your website needs to be a welcome mat to potential donors. As such, it should be readily visible, easy to navigate, and feature information that’s both inspirational and understandable.

On Thursday, Feb. 25, at 3 p.m. ET, I’m hosting a free webinar that will take a fast-paced romp through five websites that hit the mark when it comes to Planned Giving. As a warmup, today, I’m highlighting a few key takeaways from one of those websites we’ll explore – the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

The folks at VNSNY do a lot of things right. For example, they provide:

Plain language: Many of your supporters might not be familiar with the term “Planned Giving” or don’t have a deep understanding of what it is. The VNSNY communicates with clear awareness that their target audience doesn’t live in the fundraising world. In fact, they don’t even mention the term, “Planned Giving.”

Smart navigation: VNSNY includes Planned Giving information under a navigation tab  “Ways to Make a Gift.” This page highlights a range of ways that supporters can give, but also has the benefit exposing the Planned Giving option to folks who might not have been looking for it – but may ultimately have an interest.

Even smarter navigation: The Planned Giving section of the site includes three pulldown options for information about making long-term gifts. “Bequests” is the first pulldown. That makes a lot of sense. It’s the most popular and easy-to-understand planned gift, so it deserves prominence.

An easy path to more information: VNSNY highlights a link to its brochure – but as you can see, it’s goes well beyond the expected to offer up some great context and inspiration about how a planned gift offers a way for a donor to make a meaningful gift.

Real pictures tell the story: VNSNY didn’t settle for stock images or, worse yet, use a parchment paper background for their Planned Giving content. Instead they use impactful images of their staff and clients, cementing the human connection.

To build a strong Planned Giving Program you need to need to talk to donors in their language and connect in ways that show the mutual benefits of Planned Giving to your mission and your donors. Effective presentation on your website goes a long way in achieving that.

I’ll have plenty more insights and advice at my webinar next Thursday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. ET. Sign up now to take the first step toward taking your Planned Giving to the next level in 2021.