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Legacy Presents: What They Are and Easy methods to Get Them


Fundraising is kind of the beast. It’s a sprawling, intricate course of, and there are areas of it that nonprofits (particularly new ones) are inclined to keep away from to maintain it easy. One in all these areas is legacy giving.

Legacy giving, additionally known as deliberate giving, is a kind of donor-based fundraising that scares plenty of organizations, inflicting them to neglect it altogether. However it’s not that scary—at the very least, it doesn’t need to be.

This type of fundraising will be extraordinarily impactful, serving to you generate regular, predictable income streams of usually unrestricted funding. It additionally creates many alternatives to deepen your relationships with donors, permitting them to work with you to create significant and long-lasting legacies.

Let’s undergo the fundamentals so you possibly can resolve if legacy giving is likely to be the key ingredient to your fundraising technique. Right here’s what we’ll cowl:

  1. What’s legacy giving?
  2. Easy methods to solicit legacy presents
  3. Easy methods to minimize the jargon
  4. Honoring presents and rising your program

What’s legacy giving?

A legacy reward is a donation made by a person by their will or different formal property planning designation.

Bequests (which designate a greenback quantity or portion of the entire property to be donated) are by far the commonest kind of legacy reward. FreeWill’s information to the kinds of deliberate presents covers the opposite varieties it’s possible you’ll encounter as your program grows.

Legacy presents are usually ready by a monetary planner and replicate the values and needs of the donor. In the present day’s on-line platforms have additionally made it simpler for donors to create easy, deliberate presents on their very own.

However why do folks wish to go away legacy presents? Because the title suggests, most donors wish to go away a legacy or reminiscence of their life by their posthumous giving. Serving to maintain the great work of a favourite charity for years could be a highly effective motivator for some. Plus, deliberate presents can deliver varied tax advantages, significantly lowered property taxes for a donor’s heirs, making them a significant and sensible alternative for a lot of donors.

Typically, a legacy reward is made upon somebody’s loss of life, however not at all times. Legacy giving can take quite a lot of varieties, together with recurring donations that start whereas the donor is alive and proceed after they’re deceased. Legacy presents don’t need to be financial, both. They’ll embody materials items, property, mutual funds, shares—something precious to the beneficiary.

Easy methods to solicit legacy presents

Nonprofits solicit and safe legacy presents by their legacy or deliberate giving applications. There are a couple of important (and simple) steps you possibly can take to get your program up and operating:

1. Create a deliberate giving course of.

How will you assist donors create their legacy presents? Taking part in an energetic position within the course of might help improve completion.

For example, many nonprofits provide their donors free will creation instruments that simplify the method of making a bequest (the best and commonest kind of deliberate reward). You can too present detailed directions and sources for donors as soon as they’ve reached the purpose of desirous to arrange a present.

Both manner, educating your workforce and understanding the method from begin to end will set you up for achievement.

2. Add legacy presents to your web site.

Most nonprofits don’t obtain legacy presents as a result of their donors merely don’t realize it’s an possibility.

Add a devoted part about legacy giving to your web site’s Methods to Give web page, or go a step additional by making a separate touchdown web page or microsite particularly concerning the several types of deliberate presents, how they work, and their advantages. Right here’s an instance—the Humane Society of the Pike’s Peak Area created a whole microsite to advertise deliberate presents and different types of non-cash giving.

3. Develop further supplies.

You’ll want greater than only a net web page to advertise legacy presents successfully. Letters, emails, cellphone scripts, mailers, and extra can be useful as soon as your workforce discusses deliberate giving with donors.

And since this type of giving is usually new to donors and extra advanced than easy money presents, you’ll want to offer user-centric academic supplies. Keep in mind to clarify why these presents are important to your group. Like another type of fundraising, if a donor doesn’t see an organizational want, they might not donate. Clarify to your donors the influence a legacy reward would have in your group and the folks you assist.

4. Survey your donors.

The difficult half about legacy presents is {that a} donor doesn’t essentially have to notify you after they create one—your group might already be in a donor’s will.

For this reason it’s useful to kick off your giving program with a fast electronic mail survey. Ask your donors a few questions:

  • Are you curious about making a legacy reward with our group?
  • If legacy giving is new to you, would you prefer to be taught extra?
  • Have you ever already created a bequest or different type of legacy reward for our group?

In case you discover that donors have already created legacy presents, instantly thank them and start actively nurturing the relationships to take care of engagement.

Conducting a survey additionally means that you can gauge common curiosity in deliberate giving amongst your donor base. Suppose donors reply that they’re or wish to be taught extra. In that case, you possibly can flag them for outreach by sending them academic supplies or instantly reaching out to debate the method.

5. Begin selling your giving program.

With all of the necessities in place, you’re prepared to start earnestly selling legacy presents.

Calmly point out it throughout your varied appeals and newsletters and in conversations with main donors. For donors who’ve already expressed curiosity, add them to an electronic mail stream or different outreach cadence that dives into higher element about deliberate giving. Keep in mind to have a concrete plan to information donors towards a accomplished deliberate reward as soon as they’re prepared to begin.

It’s additionally essential to do not forget that donors will solely go away a big reward if they’ve a robust private connection to the trigger. Be sure to know your viewers. Like with vital donations, legacy giving requires nurturing relationships with donors.

For example, detailed discussions of deliberate giving ought to solely go to engaged, energetic donors with whom the subject has already been broached. Asking a one-time donor or volunteer to go away a legacy reward upon their passing isn’t an efficient use of your time (and might come off as tactless).

6. Hold monitor of presents over time.

As soon as you start securing legacy presents, preserve monitor of them. It will deliver a couple of essential advantages:

  • The power to observe the efficiency of your methods and make enhancements over time
  • Extra insights into the kinds of donors who select to provide legacy presents will aid you extra simply establish future prospects
  • The power to comply with up with and actively steward your relationships with legacy donors

Observe legacy giving knowledge in your database or by a devoted deliberate giving software.

Easy methods to minimize the jargon

A serious barrier to legacy giving is the monetary jargon that goes together with it. Bequest? Residuary? Annuities? What?

These phrases are important for donors to know. Nonetheless, it’s not your job to clarify the high quality monetary particulars. Your workforce should perceive the several types of deliberate presents and their advantages. However, donors’ monetary planners will finest deal with the nitty-gritty of precisely how they work (particularly extra advanced annuities and trusts) and their tax implications.

As an alternative, use concise, emphatic language to clarify the advantages of legacy presents for each donors and your group. You don’t wish to scare them off earlier than they perceive your wants.

Hold these key advantages entrance of thoughts as you focus on deliberate giving:

  • Advantages for donors
    • Legacy-building by sustaining a trigger they love
    • Freedom to decide on how the group will use the reward
    • Tax breaks (focus on with professionals as wanted)
  • Advantages for nonprofits
    • Dependable, predictable income
    • Typically unrestricted funds (though donors can limit them)
    • Builds a extra engaged group of supporters

You may have extra productive conversations with donors by emphasizing these advantages and the long-term good that legacy presents can do to your mission.

Honoring legacy presents and rising your program

If a donor grants your group a legacy reward, it’s essential to precise gratitude. Honor their legacy with a dedication, a plaque, or a public thanks. If the donor had any particular needs for his or her contribution, reminiscent of funding a selected program, abide by these requests. It’s additionally a good suggestion to maintain employees and volunteers knowledgeable of the particular person’s influence in your group and trigger.

Over the long term, it’s essential to proceed stewarding your relationships with legacy donors. Hold them engaged with particular occasions and private messages. It will encourage additional giving (making a legacy reward has been proven to extend future annual presents) and be certain that you’re saved within the loop if a donor chooses to make adjustments to their property plans.

Many nonprofits create legacy societies, particular memberships only for legacy donors, to centralize their stewardship efforts. They are often as informal or formal as you need, no matter is most aligned together with your group’s tradition—simply remember to anchor your outreach and occasions in gratitude.

Up to date Sept. 28, 2023 | Initially revealed in 2017



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