3 ways to drive more stock gifts to your nonprofit

Magda Cychowski
March 15, 2021
min read
3 ways to drive more stock gifts to your nonprofit

It might be surprising to hear that stock gifts are the key to hitting your fundraising goals this year. Organizations that accept non-cash gifts (like stock) grow six times faster than those that only accept cash. If you want to get bigger gifts from your existing donors, then you need to start getting them to give stock.

Here are the three tips you need to know to get more stock gifts in 2021:

1. Create a stock donation page on your website.

One of the biggest barriers to your donors giving stock is that they either:

  • Don’t know it’s an option; or
  • Don’t know how to do it.

You can overcome both of these problems by making the giving process more intuitive. And the first step to doing that is creating a website page that explains what stock donations are, and that provides an easy way to donate.

While emails and other outreach are useful for educating donors on the tax benefits of giving stock over cash, most of your supporters won’t make a gift right after getting an email. Through our work with nonprofits who use our Stock Tool, we’ve found that 80% of stock gifts come directly through a website link rather than a link off an email. That means that donors are coming to your site for that sole purpose, or learning that they can give stocks when they get to your donation page. If you don’t make the process accessible and easy to understand, you’ll lose the gift.

When you create a website page for stock giving, make sure that it’s easy to find. Consider linking to it in a dropdown menu on your homepage, or on your main donation page.

On the page itself, you should include a form for donors to enter their basic contact information, such as name, phone number, and email, as well as the number of shares, name of the stock, and the date they plan to donate. They should have to fill all of this out before receiving your brokerage account information, otherwise known as your DTC info. This can help you follow-up on future gifts, and make sure that the amount transferred from the donor’s brokerage is correct.

When they complete the form, your donor should then be taken to another page on your site, or sent an automatic email with your DTC info so they can actually make the gift.

There are two important reasons for this:

  1. By openly putting transfer information on your website, you might end up getting stock gifts without capturing your donor’s name and email. Many brokerages don’t share donor information, which means you can’t thank or steward these supporters. Going unrecognized for gifts is one of the top reasons that donors don’t give to an organization again. If you want them to become recurring donors, you need to properly acknowledge the impact they’re making on your organization.

  2. You’ll see higher rates of completed gifts. Your donors are busy — if they’re interested in making a stock donation, they’ll be doing it during their downtime (most likely after work when you’re out of office, too). Instead of forcing prospects to call or email your organization to receive your DTC info, providing it immediately after they fill out your form will remove any roadblocks in their path to leaving a donation. Plus, your Millennial donors are about to become your biggest stock donors, and most of them won’t make a gift if they have to hop on the phone with somebody to do it.

2. Talk to your major donor prospects about the benefits of giving stock.

Your major donor prospects are more likely to own appreciated stock. Although stock gifts are one of the most tax-savvy ways to give, they can seem complicated and confusing for first-time givers. Having one-on-one conversations is a great way to educate your potential donors about the tax benefits of stock gifts, as well as the impact they can make giving stock instead of cash.

Here are a few tips for effective conversations:

Lead with impact.

In order to encourage your prospects to make gifts of stock, they need to know why they should give, and how their dollars will be used.

For instance, let’s say you work for a nonprofit saving elephants held in captivity. If someone were to donate $10,000 worth of shares, you could mention that this would “provide 100 elephants with food for a whole year.” By using specific examples, you can motivate new donors to make a larger impact. They’ll feel confident that they’re giving to a nonprofit that knows exactly what to do with their donation in order to further their cause.

Mention tax savings.

50% of donors show more interest when you mention the tax savings while making an ask. In doing so, you show the prospect that the gift is mutually beneficial for them and your organization, further motivating them to give.

Plus, donors don’t have to pay capital gains or state income taxes on stock donations. If they donate stock instead of selling it and making a cash gift, they can see tax savings of up to 70%. This can result in larger potential gifts to your organization, at no added cost to your donor.

Let donors know how this helps with all of their giving.

It’s important to remind donors that this type of major gift won’t only make a huge impact for you, but for “all of their giving.” Your donors probably give to more than one nonprofit. And, the more a donor gives stocks to any organization, the more they may think about giving it to yours. By sharing how stock donations benefit all of the nonprofits they support, you can build trust with donors by keeping their charitable interests in mind.

For example, you could say: “Marc, I hope this is helpful to you for any of your giving, to our organization or elsewhere. This can help you save money and have a bigger impact on the causes you care about.”

For more tips, read our ultimate guide to making effective stock gift appeals.

3. Educate donors with mass outreach, and expect stock gifts to come in over time.

You may believe that the first email or conversation about donating stock will bring an onslaught of gifts. While this would be ideal, it isn’t realistic. When it comes to more complex forms of giving, supporters need to hear or be reminded of them multiple times before making the decision to donate.

And since stock giving might be a new concept for donors, you should actively provide educational resources. Check out FreeWill's explanation of how to donate stock for donors as an example of the guidance you can provide.

Include a link to your stock donation page in every form of outreach. Consider sending emails, calling donors, or sending direct mail at least two to four times a year when donors are most likely to give, particularly:

  • The beginning or end of the year, and
  • During tax season, to highlight the tax savings they would receive with a gift of stock.

Additionally, train your fundraising teams to ask if supporters will be making their gift through “cash or stock.” This can spark curiosity with new donors who aren’t aware they can donate shares to your organization.

For help getting started, use our stock email templates to begin educating your existing supporters about the benefits of stock giving, and how they can make a bigger difference at your organization than they ever thought possible.