Animal organizations are one of the fastest-growing categories of charity giving, but they only raise 3% of all money contributed in the United States.


Whether you work in animal shelter fundraising or advocacy fundraising, you confront distinct obstacles. Your organization spends a significant portion of the funds it raises on animal care. Because of this, it is easy to get locked in a cycle of chasing tiny monetary gifts now to finance your activities rather than establishing a continuous source of future fundraising money.


This is why planned giving is so important for organizations such as yours. Planned donations, typically philanthropic bequest commitments in a will or trust, enable NGOs to expand and plan for the future.


Gift commitments are a crucial component of successful fundraising models since they are typically the largest gifts contributors will ever make and guarantee nonprofits’ fundraising revenue for decades.


Did you know that pet owner are more likely than normal to give gifts to charity in their wills?


Animal organizations are uniquely positioned to assist their supporters while securing legacies due to this generosity and how conscientious pet owners typically use estate plans to provide for their dogs after death. At MinaWill, we witness how effectively this works: every day, animal charities receive $450,000 in bequest promises from people using our website to create their estate plans.


Why do animal charities require deliberate giving?

Many animal-focused NGOs begin with quick expansion. Their leaders are passionate about their cause, receive a large surge of support from numerous little donations, and then expand their operations to aid more animals and accomplish their purpose.


After this, though, things may become more challenging. At MinaWill, we’ve reviewed the 990s of hundreds of animal-focused groups and discovered that they frequently spend at least 80% of their fundraising proceeds on animal care.


To continue caring for animals in the now, they pursue small-dollar donations and are unable to plan for the future.


They often have two options if they wish to continue expanding their operations. They may also:


  • Increase the number of small-dollar donors, or increase the value of gifts from existing donors.
  • But if you can obtain planned contributions from your devoted fans, you can pursue these avenues simultaneously.

By promoting planned giving to supporters who have not yet contributed to your organization, you can collect additional gift commitments from folks who would not ordinarily be able to give because these gifts do not harm them financially throughout their lifetimes.


Additionally, you may increase your current donors’ lifetime value, reducing donor acquisition expenditures. While the average donation to animal welfare organizations is less than $300, the average planned to give to animal and wildlife nonprofits on MinaWill in the last 60 days exceeded $42,000.


Also, research by Dr. Russell James, a professor at Texas Tech and an expert on planned giving, shows that donors who include charities in their estate plans give 75% more each year in the following years.


This indicates that your group will receive the finances it requires now and in the future, allowing your mission to flourish and expand.


But what motivates animal advocates to make such contributions? Animal organizations occupy a niche market.


How can animal organizations benefit from encouraging bequests?

In contrast to other nonprofit industries, animal organizations have a significant motivation to assist their contributors with estate planning. Many pet owners do not have arrangements for their pets after they pass away, so these animals frequently end up in rescues and shelters or are abandoned.


However, when people create a will or trust, they can identify beneficiaries (or “guardians”) for their pets, ensuring that they are cared for by a trustworthy individual after their death and set aside monies for their care.


At MinaWill, we’ve discovered that pet owners are extraordinarily giving; although only 15% of people without dogs include charitable bequests in their wills, 26% of pet owners do so. And 62% of all legacy donors who contribute to animal organizations via MinaWill own pets.


By helping donors with their wills, many shelters, rescues, and advocacy groups can move forward with their goals to protect animals and cut down on abandonment.


Also, it is easy to ask for a legacy if your organization encourages people to make wills to protect pets. Other donations and planned gifts cost your donors nothing during their lifetimes but can help ensure that the animals they care about are protected for decades through your organization’s work.


Next Steps in Obtaining Gifts

If your organization wants to increase legacy giving, the best thing you can do for your donors is to make creating a will simple and convenient.


You should offer estate planning resources to all your supporters, volunteers, staff, donors, and anyone else on your marketing lists, whether you have someone on staff who can guide them through the process, a local law firm you work with or a partnership with an online will-making platform such as MinaWill. Learn how to initiate your planned giving program on this page.


For some nonprofits, marketing planned gifts can be a substantial undertaking. With small development teams, you may need more time and money to invest. Thankfully, MinaWill can assist with this.


In addition to offering bespoke marketing text and campaign suggestions, we offer the opportunity to be included on our public will-making website. This enables your organization to be exposed to thousands of individuals per day who are making estate plans and considering charitable bequests.


We have assisted nonprofits in raising over $4 billion in charitable bequest commitments, with 20% of our website’s donations going to animal organizations. Please find out how to activate this to capture a wave of legacy contributors drafting their wills at the end-of-year giving season.