So you get it. You always knew it mattered, but now your boss or your board finally recognize that this legacy giving thing is an opportunity and you need to take action. But when? Here are is a Q&A to help you decide:
I try really hard to make decisions that consider my donors’ needs. Is there a natural time of year when my donors are thinking about legacy giving?
No. Most people create a will based on major life events, such as getting married (or divorced), or having a child. Even something like facing major surgery or travelling overseas might prompt an individual or a couple to revise their will. And it is on those occasions that they might include a charity as part of their changes.
Having a proactive approach to legacy giving means introducing your donors to the idea of making a legacy gift, so that when they have a major life event and revisit their will, the idea and commitment to make a gift is already planted.
So does this mean I need to have a full-time program? I know this is important, but I have a lot to do already…
No, but remember that legacy giving is an important-but-not urgent activity. So if you try to “just get to it when you can,” it will probably never happened, since something that needs to be dealt with RIGHT NOW will happen instead.
We have yet to find a small non-profit with staff sitting still and twiddling their thumbs for lack of things to do. To manage the unending time pressure, we suggest a project-based approach – spend a set time each year making a concerted effort to proactively grow your legacy giving program.
And lucky for you, Legacy Jump Start is exactly that: a project-based approach increase legacy giving at your organization. You are welcome to use our momentum to create your momentum. Hint Hint
In Legacy Jump Start, our goal is for you to spend 6 weeks proactively asking for gifts. And once you do that work, you’ll know what needs to happen if someone walks into your office and declares they are taking a trip of a lifetime and would like to make a bequest to your organization as part of updating their will, because this happens to the lucky ones.
But what if the times you offer Legacy Jump Start don’t work for me?
At this point in time, we offer Legacy Jump Start three times a year, at the beginning of the year, late spring, and early fall. This allows us to provide quality support for our participants. We want to be hands-on: supporting you, answering questions, and helping you overcome obstacles along the way.
Knowing that, here is our suggestion:
If you have got support and agreement from your board or team, now is the time to get started. One of the first things to do in the Legacy Jump Start program is to set your goals and block out time in your calendar. Start the course knowing that you will maximize the little time you have and the work can fit into your schedule.
Treat this as a pilot or test project and be aware that you can you can tweak and build on the process for a larger push when you have more time.
Ok, I registered, I committed the time, and then this REALLY BIG THING happened that I had to deal with and it took up all the extra time I had. (And then some, like I missed lunch.)
Quick – grab a sandwich! But stuff happens. We get it. We have so been there.
Remember, with purchase you will have lifetime access to the Legacy Jump Start material – so you can come back to the material anytime. In fact, the program is designed to be a repeatable project. And next time, you won’t be starting from scratch. Nice, eh?
One more thing: what about Leave a Legacy month? Isn’t that the “time” to do legacy giving?
Leave a Legacy month is in May of each year. It’s a project of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners. In many communities a full-page newsletter insert is produced for the local newspaper. It is a great initiative and promotes legacy giving to a wider community that may never have considered legacy giving. If the timing works for your organization, go ahead and incorporate Leave a Legacy month into your schedule.
But, as a colleague of mine used to say, “Done is better than perfect.” Take action on legacy giving sooner rather than later – this is no perfect time, just now.
Registration is now open for Legacy Jump Start, our do-it-yourself plan for anyone ready to make proactive legacy giving part of their fundraising program.