It was a slow summer day in the fundraising office where I worked. Most of the staff were out on holidays, leaving a few of us to hold down the fort.

The door jangled and in walked a man with purpose in his stride. The reception desk was empty (she was on holidays too) but a colleague of mine stuck her head out of her office door and asked if she could help him.

“I’d like to make a gift,” he said.

“Oh, that’s wonderful. I can help you with that,” she smiled. “How would you like to make that gift – by cash or by card?”

“No, I’d like to make a bequest,” he said.

“OH, a BEQUEST,” she said. “In that case you’ll need to see my colleague down the hall.”

She escorted the man to my office. He repeated to me that he was interested in making a bequest. I thanked him and asked him to tell me a bit more.

You see, he had worked at this charitable organization for 30 years. He met his wife there. They married but had no children. Now they were going to travel and he wanted to get a will done before they left on their trip. There were no kids, no other relatives, just a simple bequest of their estate to the charity. He suggested their net worth was pushing $1 million when you added in the value of their home.

At the end, he asked, “Do you know of any lawyers that I can speak to about doing this?”

My mundane filing tasks were immediately pushed to the side. Gathering and vetting a list of names and contact information for three lawyers became my priority that afternoon!

Summer holidays and travel can be a motivator for many people to get their wishes to leave a legacy down on paper. Many people don’t have a lawyer that they consult regularly, and are interested in a recommendation of someone they can trust. If you are a fundraiser, you might check to see if your organization has an up-to-date list. After that man’s visit, my list was ready and easy to reach.

If you don’t have a list but are interested in creating one, consider contacting donors or supporters of your organization who are lawyers and asking if they’d be willing to be part of a list shared upon request with legacy donors. You could also put an invitation in your regular newsletter inviting lawyers to contact you if they wished to add their name and contact information to your referral list. For ethical reasons, it’s best to have three or more names on this list.

May your summer afternoons be as delightful as that one of mine was.

Outside the office, Barb says, “summers were invented for families”. Her post evokes memories about trips taken as a family – creating a legacy from parents wishing to instill a love of travel, learning, and history in their children.

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