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Using stories to increase planned giving

Using stories to increase planned giving

August 19, 2021

“A lot of times nonprofits tend to be focused on telling their story. And looking for small gifts, you can focus on telling your story as a nonprofit. But for major gifts, which includes planned gifts, it’s really about the donor’s story and how your organization fits into the donor’s story.”

Russell James

In this episode of The Beacon Podcast, Lighthouse Counsel President Jeff Jowdy talks with Russell James, professor of charitable financial planning at Texas Tech University.

Jeff and Russell talk about the important part storytelling plays in planned giving and how it differs from storytelling for other kinds of fundraising. Russell answers questions including:

  • How do the stories that a nonprofit tells impact planned giving?
  • What are the element that should be included when crafting a story for planned giving purposes?
  • What one piece of advice is there for nonprofits trying to incorporate planned giving within their communications?

About our Guest

Russell James is a professor at Texas Tech University, where he directs the on-campus and online graduate program in charitable financial planning and also teaches charitable gift law at the Texas Tech University School of Law. 

A pioneer in planned giving, Russell has published research in over 40 different peer-review scientific journals and has been quoted on charitable and financial issues in a variety of news sources. Prior to teaching at Texas Tech, Russell worked as the director of planned giving for Central Christian College and later served as president of the college. During his presidency, the college completed two major capital campaigns.

Russell graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri School of Law. While in law school, he received the United Missouri Bank Award for Most Outstanding Work in Gift and Estate Taxation and Planning. He also has a PhD in consumer economics.