There are many studies out there attempting to ascertain what percentage of the United States adult population have a valid will or written estate plans. Most of you reading this post know that, no matter how big or how small your estate is, having a valid will is one of the smartest actions you can take for your family and your community. The peace of mind of knowing exactly how your estate will be distributed is unmatched. Even a small estate can make a significant impact on the mission of your favorite charity through the power of legacy giving.

Henderson WavesIntroducing the Concept of Legacy Planning is a Superb Relationship Builder

Any donor who has been loyal in supporting your organization for three or more years cares about your mission. Statistics prove they are in the minority – percentage wise – of all donors, but so critically important. I mention the two points above to lay the foundation for the suggestions that follow.

Let’s start with a few questions:

  • Why not make this vital subject be the topic of a personal discussion with a multi-year donor?
  • Does it need to relegate to the 4th or 5th article of your newsletter and only discussed if the prospect or donor is bold enough to ask about it?
  • Do you think a multi-year donor minds you asking directly about it?

As you might guess, I am speaking from the donor’s perspective when I ask each of the above questions. Stop for a minute and think how you would answer as a multi-year donor to a nonprofit.

I have been a multi-year donor for a fair number of organizations for the last twenty years. Only three of the wonderful organizations my family supports have ever brought up the subject of legacy giving directly with me. Frankly, this is quite surprising! However, it’s no surprise which three of the numerous charities we support are named in our will and estate plans.

Loyal Donors Want and Need to Hear About Legacy Giving From You!

I honestly cannot think of too many better methods to build a deeper and more personal relationship than introducing the concept of a will, answering questions and explaining the many benefits. The relationship bond will be so much stronger after such a string of conversations. I know our relationships with the charitable organizations became so much stronger. Even more importantly, we felt so good about ourselves after discussing and making such decisions.

I truly believe nearly every human being would like to leave some sort of legacy behind as part of their time on this earth. Fundraisers have the unique and powerful ability to facilitate this set of hopes and dreams. I cannot think of a better role. Can you?

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Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.