Legacy Giving Program: Build an Endowment

If you have been in business for at least eight years, have donors, and are financially sound, e.g., operating in the black, then it’s time for a legacy giving program.

Most legacy gifts are anywhere from 10x-100x larger than the donor’s typical gift amount.          

Legacy Gifts (aka planned gifts or gift planning) are significant gifts (for the donor) made as part of their long-term financial or estate plans. We prefer the term “legacy” because it focuses on one of the benefits of this type of gift: the ability to have a lasting impact, or, similarly, to pay tribute.

Endowment funds are difficult to raise on their own, especially for smaller nonprofits that are not running large capital campaigns with an endowment component.

Here’s why we know you can be successful, even if you are a smaller nonprofit with limited development staff:

  • Gifts in wills  (68%)
  • Beneficiary designations
    • Retirement plans  (close to 30%)
    • Paid life insurance policy (18.5%)
  • Charitable Trusts  (18.5%)

(Total exceeds 100 because some donors use multiple vehicles.) The numbers from Giving USA™ Leaving a Legacy:  A New Look at Planned Giving Donors, November 6, 2019.

By focusing on gifts in wills and beneficiary designations from IRAs and insurance policies, sophisticated technical expertise is not required.

If that’s not reason enough, counterintuitively, legacy gift donors tend to increase their annual gifts after they have made the commitment. (Mythbusters: Planned Giving Edition, Russell James III, PhD,JD,CFP® Texas Tech, October 20, 2014)  Why? They have increased their engagement with your nonprofit by including it in their plans.

MajorDonors.com will make certain you have the essential legacy program elements:

  • Gift acceptance policy (what type of gifts are you going to accept—and not accept)
  • A named Legacy Giving Society (if you don’t have one)
  • A brochure that summarizes easy to implement legacy giving opportunities
  • A presentation you can use with your board and other legacy gift prospects.
  • A “drip, drip, drip”(imagine a relentless dripping faucet) marketing program that is integrated with your current marketing initiatives.
  • A way to identify your loyal donors. Note that we did not say “major donors.”
  • How to be a “Fundraising Guide” and have legacy giving conversations with your donors.

Please contact us to get your Legacy Giving Program started.