You missed a planned gift.
Did you miss that legacy gift?
Yes, you likely did.
When you get consistent annual donations from your donors, you know when one is missing. That envelope didn’t arrive in the mail. You can set the gap in your bottom line. But usually, you can fix it if you catch it – either speak with your donor then, or perhaps the following year.
But what if you miss a legacy gift? Would you even know if you did?
I am betting you are missing them all the time (sorry to be the bearer of bad news!). You are missing them because you are not asking for them.
And you are not asking for them because of one, or more, of a variety of things. The following are some common challenges.
1. Your own mindset.
You are likely sabotaging the possibility of legacy gifts because of you are standing in your own way.
Do any of these sound familiar?
How do I ask for a legacy gift?
Will the annual gift go down?
The gifts are so complicated.
What if the donor says no, or is insulted?
You also may have your own limited beliefs which factor in, such as, how much fundraising does the organization really need? Or, how will these gifts have any impact for the future?
Do you have any beliefs about money or legacy gifts like:
Only wealthy people do legacy gifts
The wealthy have an unfair advantage over others (get more recognition, have more influence)
2. You may not have enough information about legacy gifts.
Many fundraisers are not confident in speaking about legacy giving because they either haven’t been trained or they don’t know who to turn to with questions. Don’t scour the internet to put together piecemeal information about planned giving. There are many courses that will allow you to get clarity and confidence in asking for legacy gifts.
3. Is your board supportive?
Your board of directors or trustees should be a guiding force in your legacy program. They should support your program by allocating a budget and staff to ensure its success, as well as create their own legacy gifts and support you in soliciting legacy commitments from others. In other words, if your board is not supportive, you are missing out on legacy gifts.
4. Do you have a strong legacy case statement?
This seemingly unnecessary document will flex its muscles in a variety of ways. The stronger, and more specific, it is the better. Need to have an answer to a donor who says why do you need legacy gifts? Look to your case statement. Need to be able to explain all the wonderful and cool stuff your organization will be doing in the future? Look to your case statement. Need some language to add to your marketing efforts about legacy giving? Again – your case statement. Need a brochure about legacy for a leave behind with a donor? You get my drift. This underutilized document has got your back. Click here to read more about a strong legacy case statement.
And lastly, the last reason you have missed out on legacy gifts is that you are uncomfortable asking for one.
If you are able to satisfy all the above obstacles, you will have the confidence, clarity and communication of why you need legacy gifts and will be able to have those conversations with ease. In fact, I bet they will become your favorite part of your portfolio.
Do you want to see where you are in your readiness to ask for legacy gifts? Take the fun and quick quiz –