In this webinar, Lori Kranczer will review why the legacy case statement is the foundation to your legacy program, how it shapes your communications and how to draft an effective one for your organization.

Full Transcript

Steven: Okay. Lori, good to go now?

Lori: Yeah. That’s what happened before. When I would start recording it disconnected me, but I’m here.

Steven: Yeah. Okay. We’re good now. All right. Good afternoon, everyone. Let’s get going. This is awesome. Thanks for being here. We are here to talk all about “How to Create an Effective Legacy Case Statement,” one of my favorite topics. Thank you all so much for being here. It’s a busy time of the year, a busy afternoon for you. We’re going to have some fun over the next hour or so. My name is Steven. I’m over here at Bloomerang. I’m our chief engagement officer, and I’ll be moderating our little shindig here.

A couple of housekeeping items. I’m going to let you all in on the recording. A little later on this afternoon, I’ll be emailing that to you. I’ll also get you the slides. So if you have to leave early, or maybe you want to review the content later on, don’t worry. I’ll get you all that stuff. We’ll get all the good stuff in your hands this afternoon, I promise. But also chat in your questions and comments along the way. We’re going to try to save a little bit of time at the end for Q&A. So don’t be shy. Send in those questions and comments.

I know a lot of you already have. Introduce yourself in the chat if you haven’t already done so. You can even send us the tweet. I’ll keep an eye on the Twitter feed as well. And if you have any trouble with the computer audio, we find that the audio by phone is a little bit better quality. So try that if you have any trouble with your computer audio. There’s a phone number in the email from ReadyTalk that you got over the last few days will have a phone number in there for you.

If this is your first Bloomerang webinar, special welcome to all of you folks. We do these webinars just about every Thursday. In fact, we’re doing Tuesday and Thursday sessions this month. We’re kind of blowing out of the water to get the year off on a good footing. We love doing these webinars, one of my favorite things that we do here at Bloomerang. But what we are most known for is our donor management software.

So check that out if you’re curious and want to learn more about what we can do for you in terms of managing all those donors. You can even watch a quick video demo and see the software in action. But don’t do that right now. Please stick around for the next hour or so, because one of my favorites is joining us again. Lori did a great webinar for us back in 2019, and now she’s back joining us from beautiful Brooklyn, New York. Lori, how are you doing? Are you doing okay?

Lori: I’m doing well. Thank you.

Steven: Yeah. This is awesome. I’m so happy to have you back. Your webinar last year was one of my favorites. I’m not just saying that because I love the topic, and you’re super awesome and smart, and your presentations are really good. I just want to brag on you real quick. If you all don’t know Lori, check her out at, lots of good info there. She’s been doing this for a while. Not only is she a fundraiser, but she’s also a lawyer. So that’s a really good combo seems to me when you talk about legacy and planned giving and all that good stuff. And you’re going to see all that knowledge come out here over the next hour or so.

She’s been doing this for almost 20 years, and is just a wealth of knowledge, and does a really good . . . By the way, I’m going to plug her Facebook, some great Facebook live streaming, awesome info. You’re going to want to subscribe that after you hear this presentation. So, Lori, I’m going to give you the baton to tell us all about those case statements. So take it away, my friend.

Lori: Great. Thank you. Hi, everyone. I’m glad I am back. That was so odd about the disconnect but, yeah, technology, things happen. So I’m here, and I want to talk about and train you on something that a lot of people don’t really work on when they think about a legacy giving program.

Many people want to think about legacy giving. They think, you know, the sophisticated planning, the complex gift vehicles, but really there’s a lot more to it. As he mentioned, there is another webinar that I did last year that was the basics about building out a program. Check that out if you haven’t looked at it already, but I do mention in there about a case statement, and now we’re just going to dive in deep about a case statement, which is really an important thing to do for a legacy giving program.

So I’m going to leave time at the end, so we can have some Q&A, and for those of you that know me or have watched any of my webinars, you know that I’m really accessible. So you can email me. You can come to my Facebook group and ask questions. I do a lot of trainings. Really one of the things I like to do is train individuals and nonprofits to raise dependable revenue streams through legacy giving.

Okay. So let’s get started. So that’s me. Well, actually it’s 19 years’ experience, but now it’s about 20 years’ experience. So I need to update that a little bit. I have done this for a long time. I’ve worked with some national organizations, and so the past two years, I have had my own consulting business, working with a broader base of nonprofits now. So what I’m doing is bringing my expertise for the last 20 years and bringing it to basically all different organizations around the country and even some international ones. It’s one of my passions. I love to teach.

I used to teach at NYU the planned giving course, Yeshiva University. I’ve done a lot of trainings for board trainings, staff trainings, nonprofit trainings, just everywhere that I can start to teach people about the goals that you should have for a legacy giving within your nonprofit. And like I mentioned, I do live in Brooklyn and with my husband and my two little legacies that are getting bigger now, so not so small anymore.

Okay. So you are in the right place if you understand a legacy giving is an important part of a fundraising program, and you’re in the right place if you want more information about how to deepen your relationships with your existing donors to make impactful gifts.

One thing you should remember about legacy giving. You already have your donors. They’re in your database. And yeah, Steven is the right person to talk about how to extract that information from your database, but you have your donors already. Okay. You’re also in the right place if you want to know how to craft a meaningful legacy giving case statement. We’re going to get into that today, and that’s all we’re talking about.

You’re not in the right place if you don’t think legacy giving is an important way to increase your revenue. It brings a dependable source of revenue that you’ll be very happy to have 2, 5, 10, 20 years from now. But if you don’t think that legacy giving is the way that you’re going to increase your revenue, this is not for you.

You’re not in the right place if you believe that what you’re doing is just fine, and there’s no room for improvement. And you’re not in the right place if you think the legacy gifts just happen without any effort. Like they just come out of the blue, you get a check in the mail and that there’s nothing behind it, no marketing and no outreach.

You’re also not in the right place if you think that starting a legacy giving program will be expensive or time-consuming. And the thing that we’re going to talk about today doing a case statement is really going to be the building blocks to your legacy giving program, and it’s not going to be expensive or time-consuming. So we’re going to get into that.

And you’re not in the right place if you just want to set it and go. So one of the things that I see a lot with nonprofits that they put together a plan or put together a legacy giving program, they don’t tend to it, and they just let it go, and it just falls off, and gifts don’t come in after a certain amount of years.

And you’re not in the right place if you think your donors will give a legacy gift regardless of your marketing message. So that’s where we’re going to go today with the case statement. It’s about crafting an important marketing message for your donors.

So what are we going to go through today? We’re going to talk a little bit about legacy giving because some of you may be new to legacy giving. So I want to give you a little bit of an overview, and we’re going talk about why you need legacy giving for your organization. But this is not a webinar about a legacy giving and the importance of it within your program.

I really want to get into the case statement. So we’re going to just give an overview of that, and then we’re going to talk about what is a legacy giving case statement and why you need a strong case statement. And we’re going talk about how you can use it to track your donors, your existing donors, and get more gifts. And then we’re going to talk about what makes a good case statement, how you can start right after today and start crafting your own case statement.

So let’s talk a little bit about what is legacy giving. So legacy giving is part fundraising and part financial and estate planning. It is a value-based gift, which means, and this is important for your case statement, a donor, if they’re connected with your organization, they feel passionate about it, they’re engaged, that is where the gift comes from. It’s not motivated by tax or financial benefits. A lot of people think, “Well, that’s, you know, the benefits of having a legacy gift or a donor.” Honestly, it’s the engagement the donor feels to the organization, and that is through their values. And so that is where we’re going to go with the case statement. So just, you know, wait a minute on that, and I’ll show you how.

It’s typically, a person’s final or their ultimate gift to an institution. So, you know, many people make their annual gifts or gifts to galas or golf outings or however you’re raising money annually. Most donors do one impactful gift as a legacy gift. There will be exceptions. There are some donors that I know that do multiple legacy gifts to that same organization, and that’s really part of their gift planning with their estate and their financial goals. But it’s usually one impactful gift, and that’s like their big value-based gift. And then, yes, these gifts are primarily from wills and estates. So it’s a gift in their will, but they could also be current gifts, such as an endowment or a life income gift like charitable gift annuities or trusts.

So there are lots of different gift vehicles. We’re not going to talk about gift vehicles today. Okay. But just know that there is a gift vehicle for every donor. If a donor wants to do a legacy gift, I can find the right gift for them to do. Okay. So don’t ever think that like the donor can’t do a particular type of gift, therefore they can’t do a legacy gift. They can do it no matter the size of the gift and no matter the vehicle, okay, because it comes from their values.

So this is why you need legacy giving. Because it really is that impactful giving that you’ll be getting from your donors, and yes, it’s true. The size of these gifts tends to be larger. You’ll also have deeper donor connections. So, when you are working with your donors about legacy giving, you’re not just about . . . it’s not about getting only the legacy gift.

It’s also deepening the relationship with the donor, and their annual gifts tend to go up as well. Okay. So this is an important thing to remember about working with your donors about legacy gifts because studies show that annual gifts start to go up. And why is that? Well, sometimes it’s because you’re working very closely with the donor. They’re getting more attention. They feel more invested. There’s better stewardship. There are so many different things, but know that you’ll have deeper connections with your donors.

You’ll also through legacy giving have a dependable future revenue source, and that will come as you are building out a consistent and dependable program. You’ll start to receive income through legacy giving sources through either bequests or other types of gift vehicles. They’ll start to trickle in in the beginning and then after a while, it will become a mature program. You’ll know. You’ll be able to project out how much revenue will be coming in each year through legacy giving. Okay. That’s your ultimate goal as an organization.

So my question is to everybody here. Do you already have a legacy giving case statement? You could just put it in the chat. I want to see some yeses or noes, working on it, whatever it is. Yeah. I see a lot of people. Okay. Yes. No. Okay. Nope. Okay. All right. Yes, outdated. Okay. All right. I see a lot. It’s mixed here, yes and noes. All right. So let’s get moving on, and I’m going to show you what to do. So this is what a legacy case statement is not. It is not a mission statement. Okay. So that’s a big mistake. I see sometimes that people think that their mission statement is their case statement, and that is not the case. Okay.

It’s not a recitation of your history. So it’s not about you were started in 1952, and this is, you know, where your program has grown, and this is who your board is. That is not a case statement. Okay. It is also not a description of your programs and services, so talking about your different programs and, you know, what you do and your history. All of that is not a case statement. It’s also not a campaign brochure. Okay. It could be made into a brochure, and I’ll talk about that in a few minutes. But it is not a brochure that is just, you know, on your programs or a fundraising brochure. That is not your case statement. Okay.

And it also does not have to be this fancy, expensive glossy document that some organizations pay certain vendors to create . . . communications specialist about creating this case statement and spending a lot of money on it. It does not have to be that way. I mean, you certainly can, but you don’t have to.

So this is why you need a legacy giving case statement. Okay. We’re going to go through a few reasons. Number one, you’ll be able to ask for more legacy gifts. Okay. And I’m going to talk about why you need it, and then I’ll talk about how you can do it and what it should look like. So you’re going to need a case statement because it will give you the reasons why legacy is important and not the annual gift. Annual gift is important also, but as a legacy giving case statement, you need to show the reasons and articulate them on paper and then to be able to speak to your donors about it of why legacy is important.

Why should a donor gift to you through their estate plan or give a gift that you may not receive 20 years from now? Why is that important and not asking them for that gift right now? Okay. So that is what you’re going to have in your legacy giving case statement. That’s why it’s important. You’ll be able to talk about your successes and your challenges. So it’s great when we talk about everything wonderful that the organization is doing, but there are challenges ahead.

Why do we need a legacy? Well, you know, we may be coming up on we need some new facilities. We need to grow our program. We’ve been so successful that we need to hire more staff. Whatever it is, that’s going to be in your legacy giving case statement. You’re going to talk about your successes but also your challenges, and why you need future income. Okay.

You’re going to talk about your future and where you’re headed. So you definitely want to talk about some of the programs that you’re working on, some of your successes, but where are you headed? There needs to be a gift in future. You need to paint that picture for your donor of why they should be supporting you for the future, you know, and make it very, very apparent that you will be here in the future. Can everyone hear me because I see someone, Bobby, said the sound just cut off? Can I hear . . . yes?

Steven: Yeah. You’re still good.

Lori: You can? Okay. Great. Okay.

Steven: You’re still good, Lori.

Lori: Awesome. Okay. Thanks, everyone. So you need to talk about the future and to assure your donors you’re going to be around. They should be investing in you for the future. Okay. So you also will have . . . by asking for legacy gift and have that case statement, it promotes that deeper connection and better conversations with the donors. You can really go into why they are supporting you, why they start to give you gifts. What do they love about your organization? You know, why do you need more gifts from them or more of an investment? Okay.

All right. So here’s the other reason why you need a legacy giving case statement. It will keep you focused. Okay. You’re going to understand . . . by doing the exercises of creating a legacy giving case statement, you’re going to need to know what do you need for the future. You know, everyone wants to raise a lot of money but really how much and when. When do you need this by? What are your goals for the future? I mean, this is great also if you do a strategic plan. If you have one that’s available now that you’re in the middle of or you’re starting to plan one out, what does the future look like for you?

So, you know, I have some people they ask like, you know, “How much is enough for my organization? What’s our ultimate goal?” Okay. And you have to think about it in what’s your goal for your programs, your organization, and your mission, and then what is, you know, the funds that you need to get there. Okay. You also by doing a legacy giving case statement, you are going to be able to develop categories of funding.

So, if you do need, for example, more facilities. You’ve outgrown your facilities, you need a new building, or your programs are so successful that you need more outreach to go to different markets. You can figure out what categories you have for the future and then figure out what kind of fund do you need for each of them. Okay. So it will keep you very, very laser-focused on your funding.

You can also use it to strategize your conversations with the donor. So when you have these conversations, legacy conversations with your donors, you’ll know which way they’re interested . . . what they’re interested in funding. What are their values? Why are they connected to your organization or what do they want to see for the future? That will be in your case statement. Okay. And you’ll be able to have that conversation with them.

And it’s also going to save more time when you can lead these conversations with your donors. So, when you save time and knowing when you’re more focused with these conversations with your donors, you’ll have more time to get more gifts. So it’s all about, you know, getting more gifts, right?

All right. And this is really one of I think the most obvious way that you can use your legacy giving case statement. You’re going to use it for your marketing. So it’s really the first step that I do when I work with a new client is that we develop their case statement if they don’t have one or we examine the one that they have already, and we revise it because your case statement will have that focused need. You’re going to have in it everything we just talked about. You’re going to know what your funding is. You’re going to know what your future is, where your program is headed. You’re going to have all that information in your case statement.

And then from there when you have your case statement . . . usually, it’s like a one page or two pages. Yeah. Pamela, you’re asking question about a case statement. We’re talking about a one-pager. I would keep it if it’s going to be an external document because you can make that into a brochure. I would keep it to one or two pages.

If you’re going to keep it as an internal document like a working document that your team is going to work off of, it could be larger. You know, it could be longer, but it really should be pretty concise. I would keep it one to two pages. I think that’s enough.

From there when you have that document, you can extract information. And this is where it gets really much easier for you, and it’s going to save you time, because once you do the work to create a very effective and strong case statement, you’ll have the information in it to take out information for a brochure, take out a couple lines to keep as a tagline or an e-signature or to put it as a PS in a direct mail letter or to have it as a call to action on something. You can take a quote out and put it in your annual report. There’s so much that you can do with your case statement once you’re able to, you know, create a very strong case statement.

I see Carol asked what is a CTA. That’s a call to action. Okay. So you want to make sure that, you know, you’re asking your donor to do something. That’s why it’s just not a straight brochure about programming. In your case statement, were going to talk about it in a few minutes about crafting an effective one. You need to ask for something at the end. You need to ask your donor to do something.

And Pamela asked, for example, with PS. So, for example, you could have a PS in a direct mail letter asking for . . . once you have your legacy giving messaging that you take from your case statement, you could have it as a PS. And it could be your tagline. I’m going to leave . . . Pamela’s, yeah, asking about something like leaving a legacy gift. Now, that is very general, and I’m going to get a little bit into that today.

But I encourage you to think outside the box a bit. For your legacy messaging, don’t just leave something or create something that says, “Leave a legacy for our future.” It doesn’t really say anything to the values of the donor. Okay. And this is why we’re going to talk a little about doing the exercises to get to those values to put into your case statement. You want to go very deep in the conversations with your donor to get that information where it’s going to be effective that the donor is going to be able to read that and will connect with it. Okay.

Kelly asked about a template. So I’m going to show you a couple examples of some language. There’s lots of different examples out there that you can take a look at. Okay. So also with the marketing, you’re going to increase your donor’s awareness. That leads to more conversation and more conversations lead to more gifts, right?

So, if your donor does not know that you accept legacy gifts, if it is not part of your culture of philanthropy at your organization, if it’s very transactional, the way that you ask for gifts, they’re not going to think about doing a legacy gift. You need to get them in the mindset of supporting you for the future, and that is what your case statement’s going to do. Okay. This is how important it is to start off with your case statement. From this, you’re going to get all the other materials.

Okay. I’ve got to take a sip of water. Okay. Lastly, one of the benefits of a case statement, it’s going to keep you consistent. Okay. So all your staff is going to understand the future needs of the organization. So once you do the work of figuring out where are we headed, what do we need to fund, how much do we need, all of this information you have in your case statement, everyone has the same language. They’ll be able to have that same language when they’re speaking with your donors. Okay.

So one donor is not having a conversation with a fundraiser about X, Y and Z and another staff person is speaking with that same person about something else. Okay. You’re going to have a consistent message for your donors, and your staff will be able to be trained on that. And so your staff and your leadership will be on the same page.

I’ve also seen, you know, leadership not understand where you’re heading. So this is a great way to also engage your leadership when you’re crafting the case statement. I will say though when you’re crafting legacy giving case statements, it’s usually a staff-driven project. And if you have one leader that you have that maybe has a marketing background or, you know, you want to get them involved, this is a great way of getting someone involved on your board to help you do something legacy related.

But I really suggest don’t submit it to like a committee of people because it will take forever to get done. So you want to make sure that, you know, it gets done fairly quickly, and it could always be changed. The great thing about legacy giving case statement, you can always change it. You should look at it every year and see if the direction of the organization has changed that you need to change your messaging. But that’s why it’s just one or two pages, but you can get it done and get it to work.

Okay. And so also it keeps your consistency with donors, understand why you need your legacy gifts, and it gives you more clarity with the conversations. And when you have more clarity with your donors about why you need legacy gifts, then it leads to more gifts. Okay.

Okay. So what makes a great legacy giving case statement? So these are the basic elements of a case statement, and I will just point out here, and I’ll remind you at the end. But in my Facebook group, there is a worksheet that is available that members of my . . . it’s a free Facebook group, can get the worksheet and can mark it up and craft their own case statement or do an audit of their existing one. So I will let everyone know at the end how they can join that group and get a copy of that. It’s a great exercise to do, and I will do this with all my clients also my one-on-one clients when I start with them.

So when you’re looking at a case statement, you do want to talk a little bit about your mission and your history in that. I know you’re going to say, “Lori, you said don’t talk about your mission statement and everything.” But you need to talk a little bit about it because . . . set it up like as a story. You can tell it like as a story about someone that you’ve helped. You know, storytelling is very effective for a legacy giving case statement. So I suggest you start with that but keep it light in a way. So make it engaging that the donor wants to read. Okay.

And with your mission and your history, this is what I think. Don’t recite anything that your donor already knows. All right. So if they are your donor and they’ve been supporting you or, you know, they’re on your board also and they’re engaged and they’re passionate, they already know your mission and your history. Okay. So you don’t need to take up that precious space on your one to two-page document about talking about your history and your mission. So keep it very, very short and just talk about what makes you special. Why are you different than the other organizations? Okay. What makes you special? That’s where you put that information in the top.

Then you’re going to talk about your successes. Okay. You’re not going to talk about, “We do this program. We do that program.” You’re going to talk about some of your successes you’ve had in a way that ensures that you have stability and longevity. Okay. This is important because a donor making a legacy gift is putting you in their will or another type of gift vehicle alongside family members, you know, special causes, things that are very near and dear to the donor. And they want to make sure that you are going to be around and for the long term, right, because they’re not going to have a say. They’re going to put you in a gift vehicle. You may not get that gift for 20 years from now.

And they want to make sure that you’re around and you have stability and the longevity to continue doing the programming that you’re doing. So you list your successes that you’ve been doing in a way that I mentioned before. We’ve had such significant growth in this program and then you turn to like what are your challenges. Well, we’ve been growing so fast that we need to do more. We need to hire more. We need more facilities. We need more technology, whatever the need is because that’s personal to every . . . you know, different organizations different. That’s where you going to talk about your challenges.

Again, you’re going start in the beginning, keep it short, talk about your successes . . . excuse me, talk about your mission, your history about what your story is, what makes you special, then go into your successes and to show that this is why you’re around, this is what you’re doing, you’re doing important work, and it’s continuing to the future. And then move it into your challenges. Why do you need legacy giving? Okay. And as you’re doing that, I also would suggest that you do it still in a positive way, not a negative way. So a negative way would be you’re not doing well. You have a lot of debt, you know, things like that. I wouldn’t put that in, even if it’s true. I’m sure that when you think about it, do the exercises to craft your case statement, you can think of some things that are successes and why you need to continue to grow for the future, why you need this funding for the future.

And then you transition to the ask. Okay. And that is that CTA that I mentioned before, that call to action. You want your donor to be compelled to join. Okay. You need to ask them. If you just leave it as, “These are our challenges,” and then boom, you’re done, you’re not asking the donor to do anything. So at the end, especially if you’re using this as a document to give to your donors and whether you’re keeping it as a one-pager, you could have it as a hyperlink on your website or if you’re doing it, you’re printing out on some sort of . . . as a brochure, and you’re giving it to donors, have some sort of transition to that legacy ask. Tell them what you need. You know, ask them to make a legacy gift. Okay. And do it in the way that talks about their values. Remember, this is a value-based gift. It is not going to be, “You’ve been supporting this organization. So please continue supporting it.” You need to find out why your donors are supporting your organization and why they should continue to support it. What’s their values?

And an exercise you can do is you can talk with your donors. Take a few donors that you have a relationship with that are really engaged, really passionate, and ask them why they started to support you? Why do they continue to support you? What’s their favorite thing about your organization? What would they like to see for the future? Ask them these types of questions. That’s a legacy conversation, by the way.

And we’re not going to talk about legacy giving ask, but that is part of a legacy conversation, but get that information out. And then once you have that, that is basically gold. You have that data, you have that content, start to think about, “Well, if they want to give because they like our mission,” and then add . . . at the end of that, add so that. Okay. You in your head add so that and then think one level down. So that, what can you do. It’s hard to explain, but you’ll on the worksheet if you pull it. So that when you’re talking about the value of your organization, say you’re an animal rescue . . . you’re rescuing animals, so that. Then what’s the value? What’s the goal after that? Okay.

Get down to really the core value behind your organization and why someone will want to support it. And it’s likely going to be something that it affected positively their life, the donor’s life, their family, or their community. Okay. So get down to that value, and that’s what you’re putting in here because that is what the donor is going to resonate with.

And then at the end, please put your contact information. I always put this because a lot of people forget. They ask for a legacy gift, and they don’t make it easy for the donor. You want to make it as easy and possible for your donor to contact you for either more information or to let you know that they’ve already done a gift. Remove all possible friction between you and your donor making a legacy gift.

So a few words about the format and the tone. So it should be the donor’s point of view and the donor’s voice. Okay. So it should be a little more casual and friendly and talk about their investment. Okay.

So don’t talk about like . . . Let’s see an example. We’ve been doing such great work, and this is what we do, and our programs are so successful. You want to turn it around and say, “With your help, this is what we’ve been doing.” I know as fundraisers, I’m sure you’re doing this in your direct mail letters and your other marketing materials, but it’s really important to do this in your case statement.

So just remember to make it in your donor’s voice and point of view and keep it friendly, casual, and tell stories, stories that they can relate to. One of the things I have my clients always do is to write a story about a typical donor. If you serve and you have donors of . . . you know, that are teachers, don’t put a story in about something that they can’t relate to. Okay. So put a story about a teacher. So make it something that they can relate to.

And it’s also really great when you have the storytelling if it’s about someone that also they can understand or they know, so there’s that social proof that someone else is doing these types of gifts. So you can have in your story as your legacy giving case statement a story about someone who has done a legacy gift. Tell their story why they did it. That could be included in your legacy giving case statements, very compelling when someone can see other people have done this. Okay. Now, again, values, values, values. Please put the values in that legacy giving case statement. If it’s all about values and less about your actual programs, that’s even better. So make it very value-based.

And like I mentioned before, if it’s an internal document, you could also include a work plan. So I have some people that do like the first page or two is their case statement and then the rest of the document, it could be a few pages long, is their work plan on how they’re going to go about and start to continue to implement the plan. Who is talking to which donors? What categories of donors are we reaching out to? What’s the marketing we’re going to put in place? What words or phrases are we going to extract from the case statement to put in marketing? There’s a lots of different things. But if it’s an internal document, know that you can make it longer, and it could be more of a . . . consider it like an internal memo maybe. And if it’s external, one to two pages tops, and then from there, you can create the marketing materials that I mentioned before.

Okay. I put in a couple examples of what I like for a case statement. This is not a full case statement. I think I just pulled a couple sentences out of a couple of different ones. So I just wanted to show you. So I’m going to read it out loud. So this example. “Our donors’ generous support directly affects the access of millions of people around the world, whether they are art lovers, educators, students. Your legacy allows them the same moving experience you feel through these great works of art. Your passion for art is personal. Your decision to create a legacy gift for, that organization, will impact everyone.”

Okay. So do you see like the way that it’s talking about the donor’s point of view and what the donor wants to do? And they got this information . . . I actually wrote this, but they got a lot of this information from speaking with their donors and understanding why their donors are connected and why they want to continue them. What experience they had that they want others to feel also. Okay. So that’s a good example.

And I read this, and I feel drawn to it. I don’t feel like this is any general language like, “Please leave the legacy for our future.” It doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t say anything to the donor. You want to really get to the value, you know, and along with your mission, of course. But you really want to get to the value of why a donor would want to support you for the future.

So here’s another one, and this is one that’s . . . it’s good. I don’t think it’s as visual, but again, I just pulled out a sentence. So it was in part of a longer case statement, which was very compelling, intense storytelling, but here’s another example. “In today’s ever-changing world, one thing has remained constant. Supporters like you – parents, alumni, grandparents, and community members – have made our organization who and what we are today, shaping the journeys of our young adults tomorrow.”

So this is . . . you can tell it’s for a school, and there was more information in here. I pulled this out because I wanted to see, “it’s supporters like you,” and then it lists different people. And whoever is reading this is likely going to be either a parent or alumni or grandparent or a community member, and they’re going to identify with this. That’s what you want your donors to do. You want them to identify with your case statement to prompt them to make that gift. Okay.

So here are your next steps that I’m giving because everyone knows when they do a training with me, I like to give them something to do after they get off the training. So I want you to check to see whether you have a legacy giving case statement or not. And I know many of you said yes or some said no or some of you are working on it. But if you have one, does it need updating? Okay. So if you have one already and no one’s looked at it for a while, you may need to update it. And also are you using it? So a lot of people have it, but they don’t use it. If it doesn’t need updating, put it in something. Take some language out and put it in your website. Do something with that language. And also do people know about it?

So if you have a legacy giving case statement and no one knows about it, well, then maybe not everyone is being consistent and focused with your legacy giving program. Okay. So you need to . . . take a look if you have it. Start using it. Start training people, meaning your staff professionals and your leadership on it, and start using it to be able to get gifts in. Okay.

If you don’t have one or you need to craft or revise an existing one, if you need inspiration, talk with your donors. Like I mentioned before, speak with some of your engaged donors. Have a conversation with them. The conversation is going to be multifold of different benefits. You’re going to have that legacy conversation with them. You’re going to have a deeper relationship with the donor. You’re going to get such great content from your donor and such wonderful quotes that you can use for your marketing. Okay.

So go out and speak to some of your donors about why they’re giving, what they want to see for the future. Okay. Remember, you have to have not just why they’re giving but why they want to continue for the future, what the next steps they see. Where should you invest? Where should the organization go? That information, you’re going to be able to put into your legacy giving case statement. And once you speak with several donors, you’ll see a theme. There will be a pattern, and that’s where you want to put . . . that information is going to go in your case statement.

And then like I mentioned before, you can join my free Facebook group, “Legacy Giving Made Simple.” I have lots of resources on there, and there is a worksheet that I mentioned before that you can start to jot down notes and be able to craft your case statement from that. And this is me. So this is my contact information, so if anyone has any questions. I know everyone’s probably interested in seeing examples of case statements. I do have a couple examples I would be able to put in the Facebook group that people can see if they’re interested, but certainly, start to do the work on your own case statement.

You can do a search online and find different case statements and see what works and what doesn’t work. Not to say, you know, you should copy anyone’s, but see like what is compelling. Which ones tell stories? Which ones feel like you want to continue reading and contact the person at the end? So that’s what you want to look for and that’s what you want to do to be able to have that case statement to be consistent, focused, used for marketing materials, and have really, really engaged conversations with your donors that lead to legacy gifts.

So with that, I invite you to come to my Facebook group. It’s a great group. There’s a lot of engagement. There’s a lot of training that I do, weekly lives and lots of resources that I put on there and different programs that I run to help people build out their legacy giving program. So if you’re interested in this material and want to know more about legacy giving and want to create a dependable source of income for your nonprofit, I definitely suggest you check out the group and take advantage of all the resources on there.

Steven: Nice. Lori, that was awesome. Thank you for that. Well, we got some time for questions if folks haven’t asked them already. I know there’s a few in here. We’ll try to get to all of them. I don’t want to keep anyone past three o’clock, but I’ll kind of roll through some ones that came in here. I know you answered a few on the way, Lori, but I think when you were talking about getting to know your donors, Margaret here was asking about formal surveys. Is there room for an actual formal survey where maybe you would get that information and then perhaps segment out the responses and send legacy materials to some based on some answers? Is there any place for doing a survey kind of before this process?

Lori: Absolutely. So you could do a survey to get the information when you’re crafting your case statement. So you can start with that or after you craft your case statement and . . . I mean, there’s always room for a survey. Survey is a great marketing tool for anything within a nonprofit but also with legacy. I would say it wouldn’t take the place of having one-on-one conversations with a few donors that are really engaged. That’s really the best way because then you could ask follow-up questions, but a survey is a great tool to use as well.

Steven: That makes sense. More than a few people ask kind of a variation of the same question, Lori. So I’ll kind of combine it in this way. If your organization has a lot of kind of maybe different service offerings or maybe have a wide footprint, is there any logic to having multiple case statements that maybe get sent to different donors may be based on their interests or maybe funds they’ve donated to? Is there room for that or should you only just have one all the time?

Lori: I do come across that sometimes, and I think it’s best to have one case statement that if you have different areas of funding to keep it then a little more general and then extract. Yeah. Sorry, extracting language from it. So when you’re working with certain donors that you know are interested in different programs, that’s when you could change the language for that, those marketing pieces, but your case statement should really just keep it simple. You know, just keep it at one because then it gets a little too confusing.

Steven: Okay. Got it. Haley’s here. Haley is wondering that . . . actually, Haley is saying that she often hears that donors who don’t want to hear why other donors give. They want to hear the impact instead. I guess she’s kind of asking for you to elaborate on why you maybe weave in other donors’ giving stories for a legacy statement specifically.

Lori: Right. Well, it’s interesting. When you put donors’ stories in . . . all right. And you could just put one story in of why someone did a legacy gift. People are really drawn to stories. They can relate to them. It may be someone they know. It shows social proof that other individuals are interested in doing the types of gifts, so the donor is not . . . you know, the person reading it is not the only person doing this type of gift, that there are others, that they’re part of a group. It’s a program being supported. So that’s why it’s great to have a donor story in there because it makes them more, I’m going to say real, but the reader, the prospect can understand it a little better when it’s written out in a story.

I never think that anyone should talk about particulars about planned giving vehicles in a case statement, but if you talk about, you know, someone says story about someone that wants to support a program that they . . . you know, we’re working on and volunteered for, and then they created an endowment to support it, you know, for far into the future, you know, whatever the language would be, someone else could, you know, understand that and relate to it. So that’s why we put stories in. But of course, you want to talk about the impact of the organization and which I mentioned. You know, talk about successes in a way that you’re . . . you know, this is so wonderful. We’ve been doing this, and now we need more. You know, what’s the challenge, why? If you’re doing so great, then why do you need money for the future, right? You have to talk about why you need something later on.

Steven: That makes sense. Yeah. It’s not. It’s not usually exclusive. You can do both. I love it. Okay. So the one-on-one meeting. A couple of people are asking about this. You’re having coffee. You’re having dinner with maybe your prospect. How do you broach the subject? What are maybe some things that you should be listening for? Are there are any like prompts that you think the fundraiser should say to kind of open up the conversation on this topic? Any tips there for the actual one-on-one meeting if you get it?

Lori: Yeah. So I’m going to answer this question in the context of it’s a one-on-one meeting to talk about the case statement, not necessarily have a legacy giving conversation for asking for a gift. If you want to speak with some of your donors that you are close with, and that’s why I mentioned just, you know, a few engaged donors, the ones you speak with already that they’re really passionate, tell them that you’re working on something to develop and you really would love to know . . . . you know, get their input and make them part of the process, you know, and tell them you’re really interested in hearing people’s stories about why they’re giving and looking into like how we could support the future of the organization.

So I would talk about it that way and have it . . . you know, they would understand that that’s what the meeting is about rather than just, you know, ask them questions and then taking their information and, you know, putting into your content. I mean, you could do that also, but I would have them part of the process.

A legacy giving conversation, that would take longer to go into, but it could be the start of a legacy giving conversation because if you’re talking with your donors about it, like say one of your board members and say, “We’re working on this legacy giving case statement.” You talk about it. You know, the seed is planted in their mind. They may start to think about creating their own legacy gift. So that can be the start of a conversation with them.

Steven: Cool. I love it. Here’s an interesting one from Kenda. I’m curious to get your two cents on this, Lori. I’ve never seen this question, and I’ve definitely never seen an answer to it. So I’m very excited to ask this. Kenda, their organization never have done bequest marketing. They’ve never gotten a legacy gift. They’ve never gotten a bequest, starting from scratch. The question is should they say that in any of the marketing materials that you can be the first to leave a legacy or was that kind of faux pas. Should they just kind of ignore the issue and just, you know, talk about legacies as if they’ve been getting them for hundreds of years?

Lori: So the short answer there . . . that’s really interesting. Yeah. No one’s really asked me that before, but this is what I would do. I wouldn’t talk publicly about you don’t have any other donors, you know, in your giving, legacy giving. I would talk about it as, “We are launching this new exciting program,” you know, and then benefits like, you know, “Our first 20 legacy giving donors will get invited to this cocktail party.” You know, I’m just making this up, you know, but something like that. You can talk about it that way.

Then the people that you have relationships with when you start to have conversations with them if you have anyone that wants to make . . . and this would go like with any type of campaign that wants to make a leadership gift towards a legacy gift.” Then that’s, you know, a big deal. You could talk to them about they would be the first and therefore something could be named after them, something like that. But I wouldn’t say publicly, you know, you’ve never received anything but just talk about in the way that you’re launching this exciting new program.

Steven: I love it. That’s awesome. Okay. You’re an attorney. What about all these tax and estate attorneys, lawyers, wealth advisors, all those folks. Is there any room in the process for them in terms of maybe keeping them in the back of your mind or don’t even worry about that until you’ve gotten, you know, the commitment or the conversation started? When do those people come into play if at all?

Lori: Okay. So that isn’t a legacy case statement question, but I can answer that. Absolutely. So once you start to build out a program and really the case statement’s the first point because you can see you need that to be able to understand what you need for the future. And once you can articulate why you need a legacy giving program, why someone should give to you, then I definitely suggest one of the ways to have outreach and build your legacy giving program is to work with advisers in your area.

And there’s lots of different ways to do it. I don’t have enough time to get into all the different things but having a committee, getting them involved, having them come and do . . . like if you have someone that does life insurance or estate planning come and do a talk for your donor. Like there’s a lot of different ways to get them involved and to continue building that relationship. But they can be a great resource for legacy gifts also.

Steven: That’s cool. So you wouldn’t make like a version of your statement that’s maybe like geared towards that group.

Lori: Oh, I get it. I didn’t understand. Okay. No, I wouldn’t. Not at beginning.

Steven: No? Okay.

Lori: No. At some point, you may want to do like a brochure for advisors showing them the benefits of their clients to do a legacy gift, but it’s not really the values. This is really a value-based thing that the advisors, they’re thinking about their clients and best practices for their clients. So certainly, you can put information, you know, when you get to that point about different vehicles that, you know, sample bequest language and different things for the advisors in order for them to work with their clients.

Steven: Perfect. This is becoming clear. This is awesome. Well, we’re almost at three o’clock, Lori. I know you got to run to another appointment. So maybe some parting thoughts for folks? What they should do? They should definitely join that Facebook group. That’s an easy one. I’m going to put the link in that to the chat, but any parting thoughts for everyone here?

Lori: Parting thoughts. How about don’t be afraid of doing legacy giving? My professional goal now has become making legacy giving really easy, really simple for every organization to be able to do. Okay. So don’t think of it as it’s only for the wealthy or it’s only for these big organizations, these universities, or medical centers that have large endowments. Everyone should be doing legacy giving. It is part of individual giving. If you have donors, they could do legacy gifts.

So a lot of it comes with the mindset that people think that it’s not for them, it’s not for their donors, they don’t know how to do it, and, therefore, they don’t do it. And the longer you wait, the longer it will take to get these gifts in and will help out you and your donors. It’s a disservice to your donors by not providing the opportunity for them to make impactful gift to your organization.

Steven: Yeah. That’s right. And the ROI is like crazy high on this. I mean, right? That’s the thing I always hear is . . . yeah. They got to do it. I love it. I love this topic. I wish more people would to do it. That’s why we have you on, Lori, because you’re my go-to for legacy now. So thank you. This is awesome. Thanks for being here and sharing all your knowledge. It was fun.

Lori: Thank you. Thank you for everyone for listening.

Steven: I know we didn’t get to all the questions but do reach out to Lori, obviously a wealth of knowledge. Join that Facebook group if you’re a Facebook person because there’s some good stuff on there for sure. Well, we got some good resources on our website as well and some good upcoming webinars. Like I said, we’re doing two a week in January, which if you’re a normal guest, you know that is more than what we normally do.

So we’re back on Tuesday with our buddy, Marcy Heim, going to be talking about that major gift action plan. That’s a good one, and I think Marcy might even sing for you. Have you ever heard Marcy speak on a webinar at a conference? She is a singer. So there’s going to be some music in that presentation, I guarantee you. If you’re into that or you just want to learn about major gifts. Check it out. Tuesday 1:00 p.m. Eastern, a good way to start off a short work week if you got Monday off for the holiday, but, yeah, we’d love to see you there.

If not, check out our webinar page. We got lots of other sessions on throughout the year. There’s lots of cool topics coming up. We’d love to see you on another session, totally free, totally educational, and we record them all. So if you miss it, you can get those recordings as well.

So we will call it a day there. Look for that recording, by the way, from me. In a couple hours here, I’ll get that out the door in all of your inboxes here shortly. And hopefully, we’ll talk to you again next week. So have a good rest of your Thursday. Have a safe weekend. Stay warm out there, and we’ll talk to you again soon. Bye now.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.