Legacy Giving Essentials: How to Build a Bequest Program
In this webinar, Lori Kranczer will explain the importance of legacy giving within your development plan, and the four steps you need to take to increase bequest giving to your organization.
Steven: All right, Lori. My watch just struck 1:00. Is it okay if I go ahead and get us started officially?
Lori: Perfect. Let’s go.
Steven: All right. Awesome. Well, good afternoon, everyone here on the East Coast and good morning, I should say, if you’re out on the West Coast. Thanks so much for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “Legacy Giving Essentials: How to Build a Bequest Program.” And my name is Steven Shattuck and I’m the Chief Engagement Officer over here at Bloomerang. And I’ll be moderating today’s discussion, as always.
And just a couple of housekeeping items before we begin. I just want to let you all know that we are recording this session. And I’ll be sending out the slides and the recording later on this afternoon. So if you have to leave early or maybe you get interrupted today by a co-worker or a boss, I know the feeling. It happens. No worries. We’ll get all that stuff in your hands today later this afternoon so that you can review the content.
Most importantly, we love for these webinars to be interactive. So feel free to use that chat box right there on your webinar screen. Some of you already have. I love it. But we’re going to save some time at the end for Q&A. So don’t be shy. If you’ve got a burning question on planned giving, legacy giving, bequests, all that good stuff, send them our way. We’ll save some time at the end to try to get through as many questions as possible. You can also do that on Twitter. I’ll keep an eye on the Twitter feed if you want to ask questions there.
And then one last thing. If you have any trouble listening via your computer speakers, we find that the audio by phone is usually a little bit better. Actually, a lot better. So if you don’t mind calling in by phone, give that a try before you totally give up on us or throw your computer out the window. There is a phone number in the ReadyTalk email that you’ve been getting since you registered. So try that if you have any trouble hearing us. Usually, it’s a little bit better by phone.
And if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, I just want to say an extra welcome to you folks. We do this webinars almost every single Thursday. We’ve literally only missed like a couple weeks out of the year. It’s one of our favorite things we do here at Bloomerang doing these webinars. But if you’re not familiar with our software, our donor management software, and you want to learn more about that, you know, check out our website. You can even watch a quick video demo and see the software in action. You don’t even have to talk to a salesperson if you don’t want to.
So check that out later. Don’t do that now because you all are in for a real treat. We’ve got a great topic today. I’ve been excited for this one. Lori Kranczer is joining us from beautiful Brooklyn, New York. Hey, Lori. How is it going? Are you doing okay?
Lori: I’m very well. Thank you.
Steven: Yes. This is awesome to have you. We got introduced a few months back. I feel like we’ve been friends forever because I feel like we kind of bonded over bequests. I love bequests. I don’t think people talk enough about bequests. We’ve got over 1,000 people registered for this webinar, which I’m so happy for, and I got a peek at your slides earlier and all of you are really in for a treat. This is an expert we’ve got on the call today in planned giving. You’re going to get some great advice.
I’m just going to brag on Lori real quick. She’s got tons of experience, almost 20 years of experience, doing this stuff. She’s been in your shoes, which is something I always look for in our guest presenters. Doing this in-house, now she consults. She helps small shops, medium shops, all kinds of shops actually, with their legacy giving. And you’re going to see all that knowledge come through here. So Lori, I don’t want to take up any more of your time. The floor is yours. Tell us all about legacy giving, my friend.
Lori: It sounds great. Let’s get into the slides then. So welcome, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today. We are going to be talking about my favorite subject, legacy giving. I have been doing this for 19 years, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
So a little bit about me. Yes, that’s me drinking coffee. I’m actually drinking coffee right now, as well. I’m a big coffee drinker. I’ve been doing this for 19 years, planned giving. And before I was doing planned giving, I was practicing law for many years doing litigation, doing estate litigation. So it’s sort of on the other side working with donors and individuals on their estate planning. And, you know, sometimes things don’t work out very well in their estate planning. So I was doing the litigation part of that.
So I also headed up national planned giving programs, including one that had a $125 million endowment campaign. So that was really successful and a lot of fun. And I’ve managed three cohorts of nonprofits, about 15 organizations in each cohort, that brought in over $60 million in legacy expectancies within 5 years. So they were two-year programs and they rocked it with structure and expenses and they were able to bring in lots of expectancies and also current gifts. I’ll talk a little bit about that when we get into the gift portion today.
I’ve also taught at NYU and I’ve been guest speaker at Fordham University and Yeshiva University. And I do lots of webinars and I just love talking about planned giving, as you can tell already. And I live in Brooklyn with my husband and I call them my two small legacies. Those are my kids.
So before we dive in on, I do want to ask you, and you could just put in the chat, what is the scariest thing about legacy giving for you. Just go ahead and put it in the chat. I’ll be able to take a look at some of them now. Maybe I’ll be able to address a few of them. But all right, Chris says, “Death.” Talking to people about death. Yes. That’s a common thing. Understand the language.
Yes, keep putting them in, guys. There is a lot that . . . You know, it’s interesting. A lot of people are afraid to talk to the donor about legacy giving because they are concerned about the donor’s point of view but many times it actually comes from us. It comes from either the professional or the lay leader being uncomfortable talking about legacy giving or the donors, not even the donor’s aspect of it, right?
So with my clients we talk about those things. We’re going to get a little bit into that today, so I do want to address that, but let’s continue to dive in and I’m really interested in seeing what everyone’s answers are. I’ll check those later.
So you’re in the right place if you understand that legacy giving is an important part of a fundraising program. And you’re also in the right place if you want more information about how to add a bequest program to your existing program. So if you have an existing annual giving program but you know that you need legacy giving, how do you do that? How do you fit it in, you know, without starting a whole new other program? And trust me, you can do it. You definitely can do it.
And you’re also in the right place if you want to know how to find the best legacy giving prospects for your organization and I’ll give you a little hint. You have them already. They are there. You don’t have to go outside to find legacy giving donors to your organization. You have them in your database. And we’ll talk a little bit later about segmentation.
So you are not in the right place if you don’t think of legacy giving as an important way to increase revenue. And you’re not in the right place if you believe that what you’re doing is just fine and you’ll just keep plugging along and every year have to raise the same amount of money or more each year. You’re not in the right place if you think that a legacy gift just happens without effort. Like, when you see in the news that this big gift came in, it doesn’t just fall from the sky. There’s a lot that goes in behind getting those gifts. And you’re not in the right place if you think that starting a legacy program will be expensive or time-consuming because it is neither of those. And you’re not in the right place if you want to just “set it and go.”
So it takes time to build up a legacy program but then you just can’t ignore it because you do need to give it attention in order for it to continue to grow and for these gifts to continue to come in at the pipeline for your organization. So I’ll talk a little bit about that coming up.
So what we’re going to learn today. We’re going to talk about what is legacy giving. So many of you may be new to legacy giving. So we’re going to talk about some of the basics and we’re also going to talk about why to start with a bequest program, okay, rather than a full-on, offering every type of gift type of program. We’re going to start with bequests.
We’re going to also talk today about what the four crucial steps are to take when you’re first creating your program. So you could really break it down and think about it in actionable steps. And you’re also going to learn today about who the best prospects are and how to ask for a gift. And we’re also going to talk about how you should formulate your strategic endowment plan using bequests. And we’re going to talk a little bit about why the ultimate goal is to increase your endowment.
Okay. So what is legacy giving? Well, it is part fundraising and part financial and estate planning and it’s a value-based gift. And if I can compare that with an annual gift, think of annual gifts as transactional and a value-based gift is really going to the value of the organization, okay? Well, the value of the donor to the organization I should say. It’s not motivated by taxes. That’s a secondarily or further down the line motivation for the donor to do a type of gift like this. If you think about it your donor, if they put you in their will, you are alongside their family and close friends. So think about it in that frame of mind, that the donor feels like the organization is family. It’s an engagement. It is a value-based gift and that’s how you have to treat the donor.
So it also is typically a person’s final or ultimate gift to an organization and for that we’re going to talk about bequests. That tends to be the ultimate or the last gift that they will make to an organization but this could be done during their lifetime also. Those are different vehicles but we’re really going to talk about bequests today.
And then most gifts do come from bequests. That’s why we’re going to talk about bequests because I think about 80% of the gifts out there that come in through planned gifts are in the form of a bequest or someone’s estate planning. But they can also come from current gifts like an endowment and life income gifts like charitable gift annuities. We’re not going to go into detail about those. We’re talking about bequests today because if you want to start with the biggest bang you’re going to go for those gifts that are, you know, the gifts that you are going to ordinarily get, which are bequests. So we’re going to start with those.
So this is the gift progression that I see and that you should strive for. You want to have a secure annual program, right? So every year you have money coming in to support your annual campaign, your operating budget, everything that you need for your annual. Then you need to focus on legacy, okay? So once you have your annual campaign that’s, you know, getting traction, it’s doing well, you need some corporate legacy giving into that to start to get those legacy gifts in.
And then your ultimate goal is to build your endowment. So from your legacy gifts, one of the things you’ll start to do as you get legacy gifts in is to have some business rules for your organization of how much money should be going towards your endowment, if they come in unrestricted, and then also to encourage your donors to do endowments gifts either currently while they’re living or through their bequests. So your ultimate goal is to have financial stability for the future and that equals endowment.
So why legacy is important for organizations. So this is really, you know, something we need to talk about. People think that it’s, wow, these large gifts that come in. It’s really amazing but it’s not only that. So yes, they tend to be your larger gifts that you will get. But having legacy giving also gives you a knowledge of a pipeline of significant assets coming into your organization.
Now, this will serve lots of purposes but certainly people in your finance department will be very appreciative of this information. So it’s great to know because then you can plan for the future. If you know that you have certain assets coming in through a pipeline you can plan for different types of programming. If you need to expand for your staff or your facilities, you need to know what you have in order to be able to grow. And that’s what legacy giving does.
It also provides budget relief. So there will be times that, unfortunately, maybe your gala didn’t bring in as much money as you thought or the annual campaign fell short. There are times that this happens or you need to expand or you had an unexpected expense.
So when that happens, legacy giving, if you have a program that . . . It doesn’t need to be a completely mature program but it’s up and running and you’re starting to get assets in on a regular basis. Year after year, it will provide budget relief. You’ll know how much is coming in. It can be . . . If you don’t have to put it towards endowment, you can use it for some sort of unexpected expense.
It also grows the endowment, which is what I talked about before, and that’s really, really important. It’s also . . . This is something that people don’t think about usually but it creates a broader base of donors and we’ll talk a little bit more when we talk about segmentation of your donor base. But if you’re offering to your donors legacy giving as an option for them to make an impact to your organization, you will find you’ll have more donors that can create these types of gifts.
For example, if a donor couldn’t give you things like income during their lifetime like a major gift like a $5,000 gift from their income but they had an asset or jewelry or real estate or antiques or they can do a life income gift because they want some more income during their life, they could do a gift annuity. Or they can make a bequest gift. There is lots of different options.
You create or you broaden the amount of donors that can come in and make a type of gift like this to you. So you are really giving them . . . You’re providing the opportunity for more donors to come in and make an impact. I really do believe that if you don’t offer legacy giving to your donor base, you are doing them a disservice for them and for yourself.
Okay. So another important reason is financial security for the future. And we’ve talked a little bit about that just before. So when you have this pipeline coming in you know where you can put these assets towards. Where are you going to grow? You can have innovative programming if you need that. There is so many different things to have that financial security for the future. And look, if you have that financial security, if you have this pipeline of gifts that are coming in year after year, and you have a growing endowment, you don’t have to raise as much year after year in your annual campaign. So it provides some of that relief.
And another thing that a lot of people don’t think about is it really enhances your relationship. So legacy giving enhances your relationship with your donor. You have more of I don’t want to say a better relationship but more a deeper connection with your donor when you start to talk about legacy giving. So, for example, you may have your donor base but out of your donor base not everyone is going to do a legacy gift, okay? It’s really your engaged donors that are going to do the legacy gift.
And when you identify them and continue to have the conversation with them about legacy, which we’ll talk about in a little bit how to talk about legacy giving, you will make like a better connection with your donor to your organization. And something that a lot of people don’t realize is that when you do that the donor starts to increase their annual giving. So that’s sort of a benefit to doing legacy giving, that once the donor feels more engaged, they make a legacy gift, maybe they feel more of an investment in the organization, and then their annual giving goes up.
Okay. I’m just going to take a little sip of water first. Okay. So why legacy is important for donors. I just talked about a few things but, for example, values. So you are providing them an opportunity to align their values as a gift to your organization. It’s truly meaningful for the donor. You are giving them more engagement. So they become more invested. Maybe their legacy gift is going towards something like a program of yours or a restricted gift, and it increases engagement. It also . . . Because it gives them more recognition, which is another point here, that, you know, they come to more events. Just all other engagement will go up.
They are allowed to use different assets, like I mentioned before. So for a donor that would want to make a significant impact to your organization as a major gift and doesn’t have the capacity to do so whether . . . Maybe they have the income but they have a lot of expenses. Their kids are in college or, you know, whatever expenses that they have and they feel like they can’t make that impactful gift right now. They can do it as a future gift. So you’re allowing that opportunity for them to do that.
It also can involve family. So there’s many donors that involve their family, their children and their grandchildren, in their giving and it enhances the relationship with everyone. And if their family’s involved, many times the family who were not your original donors will then want to continue donating to your organization.
And, of course, last but not least, is the one that people sort of think about when they think about legacy giving are the tax and financial benefits to the donor. And certainly they are there but it’s not the main reason that donors do these gifts. So when I talk with my clients about speaking to their donors I tell them to start with the why the donor wants to make the gift and not the how and not about the technical aspects of doing the gift because there’s a planned gift for everybody. You can give me any donor and we can figure out the right planned gift for that donor but that’s not the original . . . it’s not the incentive to make the gift. It is really the values and the engagement.
Okay. So if you’re first starting out, we have over 300 people in this call right now. So these are many of the people that I work with and perhaps you fall into this category and you could just type in the chat if anyone here falls into that or can identify with that. If you’re new to planned giving, if you’re a new executive director, if you’re new to development, if you need to start a planned giving program so perhaps you’ve been in your organization so long you know you need to start one, or perhaps you’re a board member that wants to start a legacy program.
If you’re any of those let me know and I can see who’s on the call. New to development. New development. We have a lot of new. Those are going really fast in the chat. I’m trying to read it real quick. So a lot of people new to the planned giving, new to development. Okay.
So this is the perfect opportunity for you to start to learn about starting a program and putting it into your existing program. We don’t have a legacy program. New to planned giving. Yeah, new to start . . . Okay. Perfect. Okay. We’re going to get everyone started here.
So another quick question before we start. If you could wave a magic wand and solve one thing about legacy giving for your program, for you right now, what would that be? Let’s see what we have. Anyone want to type in? More time in the day. Sure. Wanting to hire more people. Finding the time. Finding the time is a big one.
We’re going to talk about different ways we could save time by doing legacy giving in your existing program. Technical jargon. Absolutely. Having collateral. Yeah. Yes, these are all great reasons and very common things. And we can work through them. Okay. Let’s see if there’s anything else. Need more donors. Oh, you have less than 200. Okay. Yeah.
You know, if you have . . . There . . . I have worked with organizations that had very small staff, maybe two people on their staff, and they were able to get seven-figure gifts from their donors. They had a small database but if you are able to do the right engagement with your donors, you can start to create that pipeline.
Okay. Great. These are all wonderful reasons. Okay. I’m going to go through those later but let’s continue on. Okay. So I think I just . . . we answered some my questions. Are you just starting to plan a bequest program? So let’s get started and you can answer yes or no. I hope you’re all ready to start though. So let’s get to it. So your first step. Okay. We’re going to talk about four different steps that you can take to do a bequest program. And certainly in the next . . . So we have about a half hour, 40 minutes to talk about this.
We can’t really get into all the details about starting a program but we’re going to hit on the major ones and I’m going to give you all actionable items to do. Okay. The first step is your board. You’ve got to start with your board chair. If your board chair is not committed, you’re going to have a tougher time building your program. Even if you know that you need a program, if the staff knows, if you’re the ED or the development director, whoever it is on staff, and you know you need a legacy program, if your board chair is not even supportive of you allocating your time and resources to it, it’s going to be really difficult. Okay?
So start with your board chair. Have that conversation. Even if they’re not interested in making a commitment to a legacy gift right now, they’ll need to at some point. And that’s something that you’ll have to work on but they should understand the importance of building a bequest program.
And when you talk to them about the average bequest in the United States ranges anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000, that’s for each of them, and usually I use $50,000 as a placeholder, that could be a lot of money coming in to make a significant impact on your organization in the future. And it doesn’t have to take 20, 30, 40 years to get these gifts in. Sometimes it’s even just a couple of years in. So this is really important. So when you speak to your board chair talk to them about the return on the investment.
Okay. So once you speak with your board chair, start to work your way through your executive committee and the development committee. You could keep going to finance committee and investment committee but, I mean, whatever committees you have that have some sort of relationship to planned giving, go through those and get their buy-in. Even if they’re not committing to do a legacy gift just yet, talk to them about it. They’re going to want to see the numbers. They want to see the projections. Talk to them about that. They will get on board.
Okay. So your goal for doing this with your board is to find at least one good person. You’re going to call them . . . That’s going to be your ambassador to your program. You need someone on the board, whether that’s your board chair or someone else, that’s going to be able to stand up at meetings, speak with prospects, solicit board members, or view your policies. They’re going to be your champion. You just need one really good person to start. If you have more than that, that’s fantastic.
But you need one person that’s going to stand up and say, “Hey, this is what we need to do. I’m making a commitment for the future. Please join me.” And talk about lots of different things about your program, whichever way it needs to go. You know, that’s individual to you but it’s really important to find one person.
I worked with one organization. She had . . . This organization had a board member, Janet, and Janet was amazing. Janet would get up at every board meeting and she would leave there with signed declarations of intent from other board members. You need someone like Janet, okay? Remember, it does not have to be your board chair but it has to be someone that is passionate about it and that is going to be involved.
And I see Rachel asked, “Does the champion have to be on the board?” It’s helpful to have a board member that is supportive of it. It could be . . . You could bring other people in to, you know, give support about doing the program but Rachel, you should really try to have someone on the board. I know sometimes it’s tough. It may take a while to go through the board having this conversation. You’ll know the person when you do that, okay?
So the second step is developing your marketing. Now, planned giving, because it has a long horizon, you do need to do a lot of marketing. I call it, you know, planting seeds or, you know, it’s like dripping this information over time. You need to do a lot of contact with your donors over the course of . . . It could take years, in addition to having one-on-one conversations. And we’ll talk about that in a bit.
But to start, you need to have a strong legacy case statement. This is not a mission statement. This is a legacy case statement and it’s really going to be why you are different as an organization and why the donor needs to support your organization for the future. So don’t talk about your history and that you started in 1853 because no one cares about that. The people that are going to read your legacy case statement are your donors already. They love you already, okay? They know who you are.
So you need to talk to them about what you’ve been doing, why you’re different, what your challenges are, and why you need to have a legacy giving program for the future. And that’s where you can talk about . . . You know, if you’re in a strategic planning phase, it’s very helpful to extract that information from your plan but talk with your colleagues. You know, think about the future. What do you need 10 years from now? And are you growing? Have your programs been so successful that you need to expand them into different regions? Do you need to staff up? Technology? Like, what is it that you need? What do you project for the future? And that’s what you need to have in your legacy case statement because you’re going to extract information from your legacy case statement and put it in all your marketing. That’s where you’ve got all your legacy messaging.
And if you do a strong case statement in the beginning . . . And it could be just an internal document. A lot of organizations I work with create a legacy case statement that starts out as internal and then they’ll revise it and create or morph it into a brochure or something to hand out to donors. You could certainly do both, okay, but start it as an internal document. What do you need?
And then in your legacy messaging I have to tell you the best things are not, and I think we’ve all seen this, “Support us for the future,” or, “Leave a legacy gift.” That doesn’t say anything to the donor, okay? They don’t know why you’re sort of going into having that legacy gift for the future, okay? So you have to tell them why you need it. And then go back into all your external communications and like two to three years back and just gather all your materials. And then determine where you can add your legacy language, okay?
So use what you have first. You don’t need to create new marketing materials but go back and find, “All right. I have an annual report. I could put it in our newsletter. We can put it as an e-signature for our email. We can put it on our website.” Do all of that and then you can figure out what your message is, like your legacy tagline, and where are you going to put it.
And this is where it does not have to cost you a lot of money. People think that, you know, “Oh, having these really fancy brochures or, you know, for legacy giving with all the different types of gifts, it’s going to be really expensive.” And certainly, that could be and I don’t recommend it right off the bat. You’re already doing great things with your marketing I’m sure. You can add your legacy message to everything because then you’re changing your organization’s culture from fundraising to philanthropy. And that’s where you want to head, okay?
So, like I said, planned giving is a marketing-driven program. And as you consider your marketing, think about the different messages you need to promote, okay? So you’re going to have different categories of donors. So your donors and your legacy giving prospects all have different levels of engagement, passion, giving, family involvement. You are going to need to adjust your marketing to your prospects.
So, for example, your marketing message to your board may be very different than what you’re putting out as a direct mail piece to donors that give small gifts every year. So think about that also as you’re developing your messaging. It needs to adjust to who you’re speaking with.
So I always recommend this book to everyone. I love this book, “Building a StoryBrand,” by Donald Miller. And if you don’t know it, try to pick it up. It’s really great. It’s not specific for fundraising or philanthropy. It’s really . . . It’s a marketing book but it’s very helpful to frame how you put out your marketing message. And what I like to say here is that our legacy donors are the heroes, right? You’re the guide and they’re the heroes. You’re going to guide them through what the future problems are for the organization because they want a goal or a purpose to overcome.
And you’re going to guide them through this process, that they will be able to make a gift that’s impactful and they are the heroes, not the organization. So that is something to look at when you look at your marketing message. It’s not about you, the organization. It’s about the donor, okay? So if you have more in your case statement about, “We have been doing this and this is our programming and we need this,” it’s too much “we.” It has to be about you, the donor, okay? So look at your case statement. Be very mindful of this. Take a look at this book if you could. I always recommend it. I think it’s a fantastic book and it’s really easy to get through pretty quick.
So your marketing. So you can add it everywhere. This is just a very short list of places to put it but certainly on your website. Donors will come to your website and look for it. And make it easy for them to find. Don’t hide it away under like . . . I don’t know. I’ve seen some really strange things but put it in places where people can find it in donate or in how to give. Make it really easy for your donors to find the information. And on your website also, I’d recommend putting things on it like hyperlinks to bequest language. You can put a hyperlink to a donor to fill out a declaration of intent to tell you that you are in their estate plan. There’s lots of different things to do on your website to make it a little more engaging for your donors.
You could also put it in your existing direct mail pieces. So anything that’s going out already put it in it. I know everyone sort of fights for real estate, you know, when they put things on communications but if you can start to add it even to something like . . . I mean, you should have it on your pledge card but if you have it as an insert like a buck slip in one of your mailings or put it in your thank you letter to your donor so when your donor makes a donation put it in a little like a P.S. about legacy giving. Start to incorporate it in everything. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You’re already doing the work. You just need to incorporate that message into your marketing. And if you have newsletters, whether it’s an e-newsletter or a printer newsletter, certainly put information in there.
And I’ll tell you that in the next point, testimonials, testimonials and stories, work really well, are really . . . If you’re going to talk about anything planned giving-related for your donors in your marketing, tell stories. If you have at least one person that has done a gift or that will be doing a gift, like they told you that they’re going to do a gift in their will, then if you can get a story about that and a picture, okay? They will respond to that. You don’t have to talk about the technical jargon of doing that type of gift. That comes later. Remember, we want to get to the why someone wants to do a gift and not necessarily how they’re going to do the gift.
And that’s the next stage. Once you start to launch your program, you can then add items to it. So like different types of gift vehicles and that’s step two. Let’s get through step one, okay? So bequest, a straight bequest. Okay. Like I said before, also the sample bequest language you can find that online. I have some of that information also if anyone’s interested. It’s really simple. Just do it as a printed card that you can mail to someone if they ask for it and have a hyperlink on your website or in a letter that you send out or an e-blast. And make it as easy as possible for your donors to create a gift, to contact you, talk to you about it, and create a gift. And when you talk about stories of other people, it makes it much more accessible for your donors to talk about it, okay?
Also, so I mentioned the testimonials. I too . . . You know, just start with that one that you may have but then start to collect it as a catalogue of them and put them in a spreadsheet because you will start to use quotes and testimonials and pictures of your donors everywhere. So start to create a catalogue for that.
Include it in your annual report. Try to do maybe a one-page or if you can a picture and a quote or a story about a donor that made a legacy gift. It works better if you do a story on someone that’s actually living right now. But it could be if you don’t have that, if you could do a story about someone has passed away and left a bequest to your organization that works as well. So these are just some ideas. There’s so many but use what you have first, okay?
And also at events any existing events that you have create a pitch and it could just be a few minutes long and if you could stand up at any kind of event that you have and talk about your legacy program. If you have a . . . Create like a one-pager from your case statement or any information that you could out, print out, put at the back of the room for donors to pick up. Stat putting it into everything. In this way you will create that atmosphere of giving. I’m going to take a sip of water here before I go to the next slide.
Okay. So these are just a couple examples I pulled from the internet. I pulled two organizations that they are not my clients. So I’m not showing any favoritism. So they . . . I like . . . But I want to show the examples because I like what they’ve done. So one of them has the bequest frequently asked questions. So that’s a really good tool to use for your donors because they may have questions and it’s easy for them to look up the answers to what they, you know, the questions they may have and it also makes it very easy for them to contact you. So make sure you put it on the bottom your name. Don’t just put [email protected] Have a name of a person so they know who they’re talking with.
And, of course, have a direct line, a direct email line, and phone line. And here is another one also and that’s a story. So say they have a picture of someone in a story. Pictures work really well. Make sure you put visuals in and talk about, you know, what types of assets could be used for legacy giving. It’s just . . . Put out the information as I don’t want to say as simply as possible but you don’t want it to be complex. You want someone that doesn’t know anything about legacy giving to look at it and to see what they would, you know, could potentially do.
Someone asked for a link for these websites. One of them is EMILY’s List and oh, I forgot this other one. It may have been cut off. I’ll find the links and I could always email them to everyone, okay? So remember, this is the ultimate goal. Besides building your endowment, by doing legacy giving you’re going to change the culture of your organization from fundraising to philanthropy, okay? It’s fundraising. It’s annual giving, transactional giving, philanthropy, value-based.
Okay. The third point and this is what we need to start thinking about, after the marketing who our donor is. So like I said before, every donor has the capacity to make a legacy gift but not every donor will do a legacy gift. So to start off, you know, I don’t know how many donors you have in your database but you can’t talk to everyone, right? There’s just too many people. So you want to break them down into different categories who are more likely to do a legacy gift.
So, for example, first we have the engaged donors and you should really know who they are. So they are your board, your past board, your current board, and your future board. So one of the things we will ultimately get to is to have a policy for your board to do a legacy gift. So that should be something they should start to consider. But other engaged donors, your volunteers, donors that, you know, come to every event that you have, that do restricted giving, and they love particular programs that you do. So you know who those engaged donors are. Those are the easiest ones to find.
Then you have the aging donors, so donors that are, you know, starting to get older and they’re thinking about their estate plans. It doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve had donors in their 20s do legacy gifts but certainly, if you need to break it down into segments, then I would also focus on the older donors. And by older, you just start 60 or 65 and up.
Women tend to do legacy gifts and women, for the most part, tend to inherent twice, okay? So women can inherit from their parents and then they can also inherit from their husbands. And this is usually because women live longer than men. So women tend to have this container of assets that they would be likely to do a legacy gift. So, certainly, think about your aging women.
And also some studies show that donors with higher education are more likely to do a legacy gift. Donors without any children. So if they don’t have children to support after they pass on, then they’re more likely to do a legacy gift. And the donors that have a history of long-term giving and these are your donors that are giving like regardless of the amount, small amounts. They can be giving $5 every time they get an envelope from you or, you know, three times a year for the past 10 years. Those are great legacy giving prospects.
So many times they’re overlooked because, you know, they’re small amounts and they’re not considered major gift donors and they’re not given the attention but for legacy giving this pool of donors that you should query from your database. And I’m sure Steven can get on and talk about how one can do that but this is a great pool of donors to start putting your marketing message out to in direct mail pieces, a buck slip in their thank you letters.
And you can also start to call people from this list. So this is the way to do it. And you know what? It depends on the organization but some people say, “Well, how many should I have in this pool of donors?” And it really depends. If you have a large enough donor base then hey, you know, 3,000 to 5,000 donors could be wonderful to have as this category of donors that you continually market to.
Maybe several times a year you invite them to a events. You send them letters, whatever it is, however you want to set your marketing plan but this can be a great way to segment them into a group. And remember, no matter the size of their giving, okay, so if a donor has made a one-time gift that was a large gift and never gave again, so you have another donor that continually gives any time they get anything in the mail from you, that is the better donor, okay?
So let’s go through and . . . And, you know, I’m going to want to pull Steven in soon to talk about segmentation. So let’s talk about legacy process in your database and then I’m sure Steven will have some insights as well.
So how to find your legacy prospects. All right. As I mentioned before, they are in your database, okay? You have your legacy giving donors already. It doesn’t mean that you won’t get new donors in but the donors that will give legacy gifts are already there and those are the ones should work that, okay? So you have your board, as we mentioned and this is how I would want you to segment all your different categories of donors. And then you can start to change your marketing to the different categories, okay?
So you have your board and those engaged donors. Then you have other leadership. And I say other leadership because some organizations have advisory councils or any other kind of leadership that works with the organization but is not the board. So those are . . . You know, maybe you have gala committees, whatever that is. Any committees or leadership that are engaged are in another category.
Then you have your planned giving prospects. And those are the people that maybe have mentioned to you in the past that they’re interested in doing a legacy gift or, you know, they said it in passing or they responded to an ad. Put those in another category. Flag those.
And then you have your major gift donors that are connected to a particular program. So those are the donors like we mentioned before that, you know, they come to every event or, you know, pertaining to a particular program or they give a restricted gift. You know who they are. You know how they represent to you. So those are a different category of donors.
Also, anyone that’s done a capital campaign, donors that have given to capital campaigns and also paid their pledges off are incredible legacy prospects. And this is because they understand coming together and supporting the organization for the future, for some larger reason or cause. So they make wonderful planned giving prospects. So definitely keep those in another category.
And then we have what I mentioned before, the longevity and frequency of giving. And this is going to be your largest pool of donors that you’re going to continue to cultivate through most of the marketing because you’re not going to be able to speak to all of them, right? It’s going to be a large group of people. So this is really where marketing comes in with those donors.
And so those are . . . You know, you can stretch it and pull it in different ways. It could be donors that have given any amount of gifts, three time a year in the past 5 years, or it could be have given twice a year in 10 years. You can just, you know, change it around to fit your organization in the matter of the size of your donor base, okay? So hopefully, you have that type of history in your database and you can pull that information and you can query on that.
Other factors to look at are, like I mentioned before, age, wealth, location. You can do queries on that. I don’t always recommend it. Age is the best one out of those but wealth is really tricky because some of your donors may not have wealth during their lifetime to give but they may have some assets such as real estate, you know, the home that they’re living in that they would be able to do as legacy gift. So don’t only look at those factors when you’re looking at your database. Look at other things as well. And maybe Steven wants to hop on and mention like any kind of putting in Bloomerang the types of information to be able to query on. Steven, are you there?
Steven: Yeah. I love those two lists. I really love that you put engagement first on this previous slide because we actually have an engagement meter in Bloomerang that pools together all of the past interactions that the donor has done and kind of gives you an engagement level score. So you can, you know, run a report on, “Here are my most engaged donors.” And it really finds, when you do engagement level, whether or not you use Bloomerang, but it’s really easy in Bloomerang, but if you do that, I think you’ll find a lot of like diamonds in the rough who maybe might have flown under the radar because they aren’t making, you know, three, four-figure gifts. They’re giving $20 a month, $5 a month or maybe they’re also volunteering and fundraising for you. And they like really like you. So they could be good prospects.
So yeah, all this stuff. I mean, we really built Bloomerang to do exactly what Lori is putting on these lists. And it tracks so well with all of the research in the sector. So I love this.
Lori: Great. Okay. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, engagement is key and that looks different for every organization. So like you said, volunteering or some organizations, they know every time or the people that buy football season tickets, you know, to the university games, those are their most loyal donors and most engaged donors. But there are certain factors I’m sure when you look at your organization to know what it is that makes that donor an engaged donor. And it’s amazing that Bloomerang tracks that with a meter and I know that meter. I think it’s a great tool.
Okay. So let’s move on because we’re running out of time. Okay. So a question to everybody here and you should know the answer by now. Who has the better bequest giving process? Donor X gives $5,000 once or Donor Y gives $50 every year for 10 years?
Yes, absolutely. Donor Y. Donor X may have been that person that came to a gala that was asked by someone to come to a gala. Has no connection to your organization, and will never give another gift again, okay? But Donor Y is truly engaged and that is a better legacy giving donor.
Okay. So let’s move on. So the legacy conversation. Let’s talk a little bit about how to have the conversation with your donors. So we’ve covered the marketing. We covered your board. We covered segmentation of your lists. Let’s talk about the conversation to have with your donors. You need to understand why people make a legacy gift. That’s really the important reason.
Remember, it’s not about the gift itself. No one is really out there looking for the best way to get a tax savings, okay? They are looking to engage with your organization and to make an impact. So you want to connect their passion to their gift and your organization. Remember, this is an opportunity you are providing to your donor. So I don’t want to say it’s a gift to them but in a way it is. And donors appreciate it. You know, I’ve never seen a donor upset that they made a legacy gift. This is something that’s really, really important to them. So you want to give that to your donors.
So you do want to ask, you know, a question maybe to them when you’re talking to them, “What does this organization do that’s most important to you?” And there are different ways to bring this up. And I don’t like giving the scripts to people because then I feel like they’re just thinking . . . they get nervous and don’t know how to have the conversation with their donors. This is a donor conversation or a legacy conversation with your donors should be the easiest conversation you should have with your donors because your donors should be talking about why they’ve given to you, what they love most about the organization, what is important to them, what they see for the future.
That’s the conversation. You’re not going to be talking about REIT trusts and all of those kind of complicated gifts, not in the beginning. So I don’t want anyone to not talk legacy with their donors because they’re concerned that there needs to be an expert on taxes. There needs to be a legal expert. That comes later and if that’s not you either as an expert, you can bring people in to help you with that. So you don’t need to be an expert but . . .
[Silence 00:49:40 – 00:51:57]
Lori: Hello. I’m back. Can you hear me?
Steven: Hey, Lori. You’re back.
Lori: I’m so sorry about that, guys. So this is what happens with . . .
Steven: That’s okay.
Lori: . . . technology, right? All right. Okay. Great. All right. Let’s get back into this. Okay. So we were talking about the legacy conversation. I apologize, everyone. This is . . . You know, it happens sometimes. All right. So you want to bring up legacy, you know, how have you devoted your time and given generously over the years. Have you considered what your legacy will be? You want to see do they want their . . . Thanks, Michelle. Welcome back. Do you want your family involved? Are there other people you want to get involved in talking about this gift?
You want to bring them in and really when I train people on doing legacy conversations and helping them build their programs, they tell me it’s the easiest gift that they have with their donors and they start carrying their declaration of intent with them everywhere because anytime they have a conversation or a meeting with a donor they may potentially bring it up. And so they always have that ready.
So in your conversation with your donor, don’t expect to go in and, especially the first conversation, talk with your donor about legacy and ask them for a gift. Please don’t do that, unless it’s really, really appropriate but usually it’s not. I mean, it’s like asking someone to marry you on the first date. You don’t want to do that. But once you start to build that relationship and you’re having that conversation it may take a couple conversations over a few months. It could . . . You know, it could be much faster. It could take longer. I’ve had donors that I was working with for years until they did give a gift.
So it’s very donor-centric, right, where it works on their timeframe. It’s their impactful gift. We want to work with them to make that what they want it to be. But you’ll have several types of I guess responses from your donors. You’ll have either, yes, they’re going to do it. That’s fantastic and then you can get to close the gift.
And you’ll have no and that’s unfortunate but no doesn’t have to be no forever. Please ask your donors why. So because many times a donor says no, it’s not really because they don’t want to support your organization with a legacy gift. Maybe it’s not the right time for them now or maybe it’s that they think that they can’t make a gift with, you know, their assets. Maybe they think they can only do a legacy gift through an endowment and they don’t know that they can use real estate. So find out why because you don’t want to lose out on that.
And now I need to be mindful of the time. So let’s get moving forward but there’s also conditions and objections that your donors may come up with and that’s okay. It’s just like any other conversation you’re having with a donor. So remember, even when you ask your donor for a current gift to your annual campaign, they may have objections and conditions and say no. So don’t let that hold you back, okay?
So let’s move forward. Okay. So the fourth thing that you need to do, and this is the very boring part, I would say, but it’s absolutely necessary. These are the foundations that you need for a legacy program. So there are the systems, the policies, the process that you have in place. You’ll need to think everything through. For the most part, there are certain things that you will need but for every organization it may look different, okay? So to start, before you ask for a bequest, you should have some policies in place. For example, a gift-acceptance policy. And I’m hoping you already have that in place but you may . . . Did I lose connection already? Can everyone hear me? Someone said we lost the connection again.
Steven: Yes, you’re still here, Lori.
Lori: I must have lost connection again. Oh, okay. Great. Okay. So Heidi says we lost connection. Okay. So you’ll need your gift-acceptance policy. Now if you have that already, that’s fantastic but take a look and make sure that it’s still relevant because sometimes it could have been crafted 10 years ago or 20 years ago and times have changed and the types of gifts you’re willing to take may have changed. So take a look at that with a fresh set of eyes, okay?
Then you have your endowment and your investment policies. Now remember, the ultimate goal is to bring these gifts in and then eventually build your endowment. So look at your endowment and your investment policies.
Your materials. You need your marketing materials like we talked about. Sample bequest language, a DOI, which stands for Declaration of Intent. That’s when someone would sign off on something and say, “Yes, I’m making a gift.” And your endowment agreement, so which is different from your policy. So an endowment agreement would be between your donor and the organization about creating an endowment with your organization. So you need to have that as well and it could just be a standard one that you have that you may adjust for the future but have that in place. It will just make it easier if the donor says, “Yes, let’s do it,” and then you have everything in place.
And then also before you start, you need to know what people are involved. Who is doing solicitations? Who is doing research on the donors? Who is pulling your reports of the different donors from the donor base? So know who’s involved, okay?
Then you have during the gift cycle what are your moves management? Like how are you getting people through the cycle of different conversations and getting them to having that gift? And you also want to know who your advisors are. So if, by any chance, that you get a gift that’s very complicated and don’t know how to do something, who are you going to? Who’s going to help you do that gift? Is it someone on your board that you have? Is it someone that you have as a consultant? For example, I consult with lots of organizations and help them with this part of their gift cycle but know who you’re going to talk with. So this way, you don’t have to be the expert. So you know who you’re going to go to if that . . . anything arises that you need to ask questions.
And then after the gift closes, you need your systems in place for the data entry, your donor’s acknowledgement, stewardships, the investment of the funds. So there’s a lot of different players that go into legacy giving. It’s not just on the shoulders of your development staff. It really involves a lot of people in your organization. And once you have systems in place, it makes everything so much easier that you can just continue to market and talk with your donors and be able to reap the, you know, bring these gifts in.
All right. The next step. So to maintain your program you make sure that marketing equals donors. You need to be marketing on . . . It’s not, you know, a one and done type of thing. You need to continue to market to your donors in order to build that pipeline, okay. Because I can certainly show in examples I’ve worked with other organizations once they stop marketing, then the gifts start to decrease, okay?
And then engagement is key. Engagement of your donors. The donors that are most engaged will be your best donors prospects and then you need to continue to engage the donors once they do a gift.
Okay. Steward your existing donors. That is also incredibly important. So if you already have or maybe you’re new to a program and you inherited a legacy giving program, you have some donors that are in that program already, then please continue to work with your existing donors. Steward them, recognize them, and make sure that they are happy with their gift and they continue to do their gift because it’s easier to keep a legacy gift than to get a new one.
So next steps. So here are some things that you can go and just . . . You can go and do it today. You can simply gather those materials I talked about in the past two to three years. You can look at all your marketing materials. You can see if you have a case statement. You can look and see what policies you have in place. You can see what agreements you have in place. Start to gather all of the materials that I put in these slides. I think those slides will be made available to you. So print them out, the ones that have those lists on it, and start to gather the things that you need.
You can also speak with your board chair and if you’re the ED or speak with your ED, start to speak with your board about where you see the organization going for legacy giving. Where is the need? What do you need to raise? What are your goals? So once you start to do that, it becomes much easier to really create the program and run with it.
And then the next step is to run your segmentation reports. So take that list also and you can start to think about who your best donors are and where are your prospects and start to categorize those donors that you’re going to approach either through marketing or through conversation.
And then start to develop your marketing materials. And I know that seems like a lot. I’m putting a lot of things in here but really if you take small steps, you will start to have a program if you continue to take small steps all year long.
So we have reached the end and this me. So if you have any questions feel free to email me. I’m happy to chat with anyone about legacy giving and anything we talked about today. I do apologize again for that little interruption. We missed a couple minutes in there. And if you’re interested, I have a closed Facebook group that’s only about legacy giving. So you’re welcome to join it. It’s free and in there it’s all nonprofit professionals and consultants and board members that are interested in doing legacy giving. I go live once a week. We do trainings. There’s resources. It’s a really lovely group of people. So you’re welcome to join. That’s the link at the bottom there.
And I also do want to mention that I am starting in July a membership program for organizations that want to go from A to Z, really start the journey of creating a legacy giving program. And I cover everything, not just the [flash 01:01:38]. So it’s a whole mature program. So from the start, you’re starting at no legacy giving program and then I’m going to go through the whole journey that I . . . or the path that I have laid out in steps. You will get all the materials, the resources, the training, everything to have a mature program. And there will be content that’s released weekly and it’s just for a small monthly fee. So it’s really . . . It’s 19 years in the making of all my experience in working with nonprofits and it’s going to launch in July, July 15th.
So if you’re interested in that, I will be announcing it to the closed Facebook group. So please join that group if you’re interested in learning about the membership program, okay? So with that note, I guess we can take a few questions. I’m sorry we’re a little . . . over time a little bit. I can take a few questions now. So, Steven, do you want to go on and . . .
Steven: Awesome. Yeah, let’s do it. I know it’s a little past 3:00 but I love this topic so I’m going to . . . Anyone who wants to hang out and stay a few minutes extra I think we should do some questions. So Lori, I know you already answered a couple on your way but there’s some good ones in here. I don’t have time for all of them but first, I just want to say thank you. You know, you took a lot of time out of your day today and to plan this and put it together. So thank you for doing this. Everyone should get . . .
Lori: My pleasure.
Steven: . . . on your email list, join . . . Yeah, join that Facebook group. I know there’s going to be good discussions in there. So thank you, thank you. There’s some really interesting questions here. I’m just going to pull some out here. One from Karen. Karen’s dealing with a very specific situation where someone who has pledged a legacy gift passed away maybe before, you know, that was sort of maybe put into the will. What should you do? Should you reach out to surviving relatives? I know it’s a really sensitive kind of, you know, situation but have you ever dealt with that personally, Lori, with maybe organizations you’ve worked with or clients where that sort of weird timing has happened?
Lori: Yes, I have and so I’ve done it myself and also worked with nonprofits that have had a situation come up. So it really, you know, depends. Everyone feels a little differently about it. I’ll just go talk in general terms since I don’t know the particular situation. But if it’s an actual pledge, so if there’s something that’s signed, the donor said it’s a pledge, it’s not an intent, then . . . And if there’s also . . . Specifically, if there’s something that the organization depended upon for that gift or created something for, so, for example, for an organization I worked with we were told we were getting a large bequest. The donor passed away. There was no bequest but we named a room after the donor on her behalf. It was all fun. There were pictures taken of it, you know.
So therefore, the estate paid the bequest, okay, because there was detrimental reliance on that gift. That’s a legal term but just if there was something that the organization did in response to getting that gift in the future, it is possible to get that gift. But how you go about doing it really depends on your relationship with the donor, the family, how large the gift is. You know, some organizations don’t like to do it because they feel it’s just sort of bad press, you know, or it really . . . I have to say it depends but it can be done. It just depends on how.
Steven: Okay. Very cool. Here’s one from Carol. I love this question. Carol’s on the development committee. They got board support for creating this program, which is good, but they have a younger ED who it’s not as much of a priority for that they’ve got a plan but it’s kind of being ignored by that ED. What’s your advice for buy-in, right? I think this issue of buy-in is probably something that a lot of people listening are maybe dealing with. How do you get that person to care? Is it really just a matter of, you know, sharing the statistics and, you know, all the stuff about sustainability and, you know, having that cushion of funding that you mentioned in the beginning? How do you get that buy-in from the person who maybe doesn’t care about legacy?
Lori: So this is very interesting. So you’re saying the ED is not interested . . .
Lori: . . . in pursuing this. And so I have never seen that before because if it’s coming from the board, then the ED should be working on a legacy giving program. So I would say that ED could give me a call or that whoever asked that [question 01:06:20] give me a call. There are ways to very simply add a legacy giving program to an existing program.
That ED may be either . . . You know, like I mentioned in the beginning, there’s a lot of mindset issues coming from us, not the donors, about doing legacy gifting that hold us back. And it could . . . That ED may be falling into one of those, which is, you know, talking about, you know, fear of talking about these gifts, the technical jargon. Things like that can be worked through and then you can have a very successful program. So this is something that they really do need to pursue. It doesn’t matter the age or the experience of the ED. This is a very easy program to put into place.
Steven: I love it. Please chat to Lori, Carol.
Lori: So it’s who the board is going to talk to [about it 01:07:07].
Steven: Yes. At least you’ve got the board behind you. That’s good. Usually, it’s flip flopped, right? The board doesn’t want you to [inaudible 01:07:13].
Lori: Exactly. Exactly.
Steven: Well, why don’t I do one more question, Lori.
Steven: I’m going to kind of combine two or three questions that are very similar. You know, the Bloomerang crew that listens to these webinars every week tends to be, you know, kind of a small, mid-sized shop. So a few people have asked, “Hey, we don’t have a ton of donors. We’ve got, you know, 200 donors, 300 donors. Can we still do this?” Does it really matter or should those folks, you know, look in that list and find those engaged people? I mean, I think these small shops shouldn’t maybe be discouraged about legacy giving but sometimes it seems out of reach. What would you say to those small shops, Lori?
Lori: So I think that first of all I’m, of course, a huge proponent of legacy giving and every organization should be doing it regardless of how many donors you have. However, the only organizations that I feel that they shouldn’t focus on it just yet is if they’re very new. And like I mentioned at the beginning, once you have your . . . You need to have a very secure annual campaign running before you launch into legacy. And much about it . . . Also, your legacy donors will . . . You know, they have to . . . they got to love you for a while. So if you’re very new, you don’t have that relationship built up yet. But if you’re out 5, 10 years, then you should really consider doing a legacy giving program regardless how many donors you have.
Steven: I love it. Annual, then legacy. It makes sense. Well, this is awesome. I feel like, Lori, I could stay on for multiple more hours but I know some folks haven’t had lunch yet. It’s getting late in the day. So we’ll call it a day there. I know we didn’t get to all the questions but, Lori, would you mind taking some questions maybe by email? Is that cool with you?
Lori: Yeah, absolutely. Anyone who has questions feel free to email me or join that Facebook. You could ask questions in there as well. Yeah, I’m happy to.
Steven: Cool. All right. Do that. Join that group. That would be a fun one. I’m going to join that group too. I’d love to see the . . . I’d love to be a fly on the wall there too. So, well, this is fun. Thanks, Lori. This was really awesome to have you. A great presentation. I love the topic. I wish more people would talk about it and I think you did it justice. So thank you, thank you, thank you for being here, Lori. This was fun.
Lori: Thank you so much for having me.
Steven: And thanks to all of you for hanging out with us for an hour or so. A great group, as always. Hopefully, we’ll see you again next week. We’ve got a great presentation coming up. SWOT analysis . . . If you’ve never done a SWOT analysis for your organization, be here next week the same time the same place. We’ve got Claire Axelrad, one of our favorites here at Bloomerang, a friend of the program, for sure. Done a lot of webinars for us and we’ve got a free e-book on the same topic that Claire’s going to kind of dive into. So you can grab that e-book-on our website. Check out our blog. You’ll see it there. And join us. It’s going to be a great presentation. That will be useful for you. It might even be helpful getting the bequest program up and running too. I think there’s some parallels there.
So, hopefully, we’ll see you again next week. If you can’t make that place and time, there’s lots of other webinars on our schedule that you can check out. Lots of cool topics. A lot of diverse topics as well but I think you’ll see something there that maybe you’re struggling with or could use some help on. So, hopefully, we’ll see you again on another Thursday but for now, we’ll call it a day. I’ll send you the recording and the slides later on this afternoon. So be on the lookout for those. So have a good rest of your Thursday. Have a good rest of your week. And, hopefully, we’ll see you again next week. Bye now.