What is a legacy gift?

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I am going to let you in on two of the ways to look at legacy giving, and understand what makes a legacy gift different that other gifts.


Legacy gifts have an underlying donor value that is different than other gifts


Certainly, all charitable donations have some sort of donor charitable intent behind them.  If they didn’t then donors wouldn’t be donors. 


They would be consumers or savers, using their funds for other purposes – but, they would still have value attached.  One person may value a luxury car like a BMW over a more modest one like a Subaru. 


And the person that values a Subaru may value high-end shoes like Manolo Blahniks while the BMW driver values Payless. 


Neither is better.  It is based on the individual and factors such as life experience, family, work, etc.


The same goes with charitable giving. 


Why does one individual give annual donations with ease but doesn’t feel compelled to make a legacy gift (or, planned gift).


Or, another may attend big ticket gala dinners but not make an annual gift.


Some donors may do either (or neither) and make a planned gift.

donors love to give legacy gifts


The underlying cause is that these donors’ values directly connected with the organization on a deeper level. This could have been through a personal experience, family connection, etc.    


Legacy gifts are structured in different ways that annual gifts


This may be the part that most people think of when they consider legacy gifts.  The actual gift vehicle and process of closing these gifts are different.


Don’t let the unknown hold you back from asking your donors for legacy gifts!  These gift vehicles may be in your donors’ best interests -- philanthropically and financially.  They will also likely be impactful gifts to your organization.


What do these gifts look like? 


I won’t go into a whole description now, but they can be endowment gifts, gifts in a will (bequests), charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts and life insurance policies.  These are just some of the types of gift vehicles, and it is really up to the donor and their tax advisors, on the best gift structure for them. 


Your place is to ensure that you will be able to accept such a gift, to facilitate it’s closing and create recognition and stewardship of the gift.

If you want to read more about the differences between annual giving and legacy giving click here.

Ready to jumpstart your legacy giving program this year? Click here for my tip sheet.