Photo by Sagar Patil on Unsplash
March 16, 2022

How can you promote legacy giving?

Lori Kranczer

Farra Trompeter, co-director, interviews Lori Kranczer, founder and CEO of Everyday Planned Giving, about her work in the planned giving space and how organizations can develop their legacy giving programs and have better connections with their donors.


Farra Trompeter: Welcome to the Smart Communications Podcast. This is Farra Trompeter, co-director and member-owner at Big Duck, and today I am delighted to have Lori Kranczer with us. We are going to talk about how can you promote legacy giving. I was just trying to remember with Lori the first time we met or how we got connected; we were reflecting on the power of LinkedIn and how one of us shared content, saw the other one’s information, realized we had over a hundred connections, and we’re like, “Hey, we should know each other,” and we have since had the pleasure of getting together in person. I’ve also had the joy of being a guest on Lori’s podcast. We’ll link to that in our transcript, but before we get started, let me tell you a little bit about Lori.

Farra Trompeter: Lori is an advisor and consultant that works with nonprofit professionals and philanthropists to create strong, sustainable, legacy giving programs. She’s been in the nonprofit space for 20 years, creating and running several substantial legacy program initiatives for large nonprofits. She started her consulting practice three years ago and provides step-by-step programs that provide her clients everything they need to exceed their goals. When she’s not thinking about giving back, she tinkers with her creaky 100-year-old Victorian house in Brooklyn, New York listens to nineties grunge music, we also share that in common, and chases after her two little legacies. Lori, welcome to the show.

Lori Kranczer: Thank you. I’m so glad to be here.

Farra Trompeter: Before we get started, favorite nineties grunge music. Just one. What comes to mind?

Lori Kranczer: Lately I’ve been more into Green Day so that is really what’s on my Spotify right now. So, I would say I’ve evolved a little bit, and that’s what I’m listening to right now.

Farra Trompeter: That’s great. I knew you were a big Foo Fighters fan but glad to see you’re evolving into Green Day.

Lori Kranczer: Dave Grohl. Yeah. Yeah. I won’t go further with that.

Farra Trompeter: Maybe we’ll see if we have time to get back to that. So, Lori, you have gone from being a lawyer to creating plan-giving programs within nonprofits, and now you’re the founder and CEO of Everyday Planned Giving. I wonder if you’d talk just a little bit about your journey and the work you’re doing now.

Lori Kranczer: Yeah, I mean, it all started, basically, I was practicing law many years ago, many, many years ago and was finding myself volunteering all my free time for nonprofits, doing work for volunteer lawyers for the arts, domestic violence victims, and I realized I really wanted to do something with my professional life as well in the nonprofit space. So I just looked everywhere and spoke to everyone to figure out where I was best suited, and I found planned giving and it’s been actually, it’s been about 22 years that I’ve been in a planned giving space, working with nonprofits on developing their very substantial programs to raise a lot of money for their mission and also to have better connections with their donors.

Farra Trompeter: Great. Now, there are lots of different ways to attract and diversify funding. That’s often on many people’s strategic plans or communications plans or other things, you know, how can we bring in sources from different types of individuals, corporations, government agencies. There’s all different ways that we can bring donors to our organization, and I’m just curious, for you, why focus on planned giving, or I think what I have learned through conversations with you, more of legacy giving. Like, what is it about legacy giving that is important for organizations to pay attention to, and maybe, what drives your own personal interests?

Lori Kranczer: Right. First of all, it’s so important to diversify your income just as any business would need to diversify the revenue streams. Planned giving is, for many organizations, an untapped resource for them, and when I say planned giving or endowment, legacy giving, they all kind of get lumped together. It’s really considered non-cash assets and ways that donors can give outside of cash or writing a check, credit card gift, or even marketable securities as an annual gift. So, as an organization is thinking about how to increase revenue for the future, then they can tap into these resources or these types of gift vehicles that aren’t necessarily going to come to fruition right now but later on. So it develops these streams, revenue streams for the future, that they can then plan better for the future, create innovative programming, have a cushion when the market goes down or we have something like a pandemic. So, when you’re creating these types of gifts, you’re also tapping into a donor’s value system, and it’s a much deeper connection when someone is willing to do a gift, say, in their estate plan than writing out a check that goes through your annual campaign. So it’s still charitable intent but it’s a deeper connection, and I really enjoy those deep connections. I really enjoy working with people to figure out what makes them tick and where do they want to see impact for the future for themselves, their family, and their community.

Farra Trompeter: I often hear stories from organizations that I’m either talking with through a workshop or one of our clients who will say, “Oh my god, we got this surprise bequest. There was someone who maybe was giving us, you know, $10 a year for 30 years through our direct mail program, and then all of a sudden we got this huge bequest that came in. We didn’t even know this person.” So I often hear about these surprise bequests and I don’t know how common that is, but it has been common in, often, the anecdotes I’ve heard. And I’m curious, let’s say somebody doesn’t want this to be a surprise. They want to try to cultivate this kind of support. What are some suggestions that you have for fundraising and communications professionals to really think about how to promote or market their own legacy giving programs?

Lori Kranczer: Well, it’s true, some of these gifts come in as surprises, and it’s always better to know about the gift beforehand because you can plan better. I would say within marketing communications, what I’ve seen my clients do is just talk with the donors about sharing the information about their gift before they pass, you know, so we can thank them now. They can see it in action, they can see what the impact is doing and really have more say in what’s happening with their gift for the future. So, we always encourage donors to come forward. It’s a little tricky because sometimes the gift’s revocable so they don’t want to share the information that they have done a gift until they pass and it’s in their will. So, it really just depends on the donor.

Sponsored by Bloomerang: Hey there, Steven from Bloomerang here. One of the reasons why we’re so excited to sponsor this episode is because we also love helping nonprofits generate more legacy gifts. It all starts with donor retention, and Bloomerang is the donor database built for retention. So, if you need a new donor database, check out Bloomerang. You can get a demo of Bloomerang at And now, back to Lori and Farra.

Farra Trompeter: Are there standard tips or tricks people can do? Like, make sure it’s on your website, or what are some basic things that maybe people can make sure, a checklist or things that they can do based on maybe some successes you’ve seen other groups do that you’ve worked with or just – I love to give something people can take away and put into practice as they’re listening to this.

Lori Kranczer: Yeah. Okay, so with legacy giving, you have to put it everywhere because donors aren’t aware of what it is. So you have to think back, okay, I need to not just educate on the different types of good vehicles but create awareness that we even have this program and that this is something that they can do. So, you have to start from scratch and look at your core message and why your donor actually really cares. What’s the value of what you’re doing for your donors? It’s a very donor-centric gift so it’s not about we, as an organization, are creating these wonderful programs and this is our impact, but it’s how can the donor, how do they value what you’re doing? So when you start with that core message and develop maybe a case statement around it, then, everywhere. I mean, I recommend four to seven places per year for legacy giving marketing, and that includes website, putting it as an e-signature, doing an email campaign, you should put in your annual report, you could put it everywhere and it doesn’t have to just be here’s how you do a tribal lead trust. It’s about stories about your donors so if you just do storytelling about donors that have made an impact, you’ll then raise awareness that way.

Farra Trompeter: Now I want to ask you a question, you just mentioned something about how this is really a donor-centric form of philanthropy and giving, and one of the things I know we talked about when I was on your podcast and you and I have talked about when we’ve gotten together in person, is this sort of current tension or exploration of donor centrism versus community centrism or community-centric fundraising, which is a movement, at Big Duck, we’re really proud to be part of and amplify when we can. And I’m curious about this idea, or if it’s ever come up, this kind of question of power. A lot of times, when we look at donor-centric fundraising, it often makes it all about the donor and perhaps other members of the community are forgotten, or it puts somebody’s financial contribution above any other kind of contribution people can make. So I get here with legacy giving, this is the ultimate individual gift, but I’m curious if questioning power dynamics or looking at where diversity, equity, and inclusion factors in with an organization’s legacy giving. If you’ve gotten into that at all, or if that’s come up for you…

Lori Kranczer: It will come up, not as often as one would think, because even though this tends to be the donor’s ultimate gift and the largest gift you’ll likely get from the donor, it’s not a major gift. And when you have a major gift the donor has more of a say, or we think, you know, where that impact is going to be. Legacy gifts, remember many of them, if we’re just talking about legacy gifts, legacy gifts, many of them come after the donor passes so when we talk about donor-centric, we mean more of the values from the donor and not really where the donation is going to be restricted towards. So, that’s what we mean by donor-centric, it’s not about fulfilling any interesting restrictions. They’re usually unrestricted gifts. So, I think it’s a different play for legacy and donor-centric than it is for, say, a major gift.

Farra Trompeter: Well, Lori, this was great. I really appreciate you spending time with us. You’ve given our listeners so much to think about, and I want to invite you out there, if you’d like to connect with Lori, you can find her on LinkedIn at Lori Kranczer. We will link to Lori’s profile and other resources in the transcript. Lori, thank you so much for being on the show.

Lori Kranczer: Thanks for having me.

This podcast has been sponsored by Bloomerang