When There’s a Will

When There’s a Will

Learn more on this topic during our free webinar, April 25, “Planning on Planned Gifts?” presented by Mary J. Foley, Managing Director, Mission Advancement. Register by clicking HERE.  

You stand a much better chance of receiving a bequest if your organization follows the Three Rs:  remind, reinforce, repeat. Don’t get overwhelmed with the thought of a comprehensive, sophisticated planned giving program and understanding dozens of complicated tax-advantaged vehicles. The majority of planned gifts come in the form of simple bequests, so get your donors thinking about THAT.

You’re On a Mission…

…to fulfill your mission, but you can also help your supporters fulfill theirs by making a meaningful investment with a final gift. Bequests are highly emotional commitments; it means the donor is putting your organization on the same level as heirs. To do so there must be a trusting relationship established early on, long before St. Peter comes into the picture. Some organizations tie their bequests to endowments, which make the impact and affiliation even more powerful. Remind them that the last gift they ever make will live on forever! 

“Please remember St. Cecelia Home in your will.” 

You cannot mention, print or electronically send this message enough. It should be a part of every communication you have. Not only will it increase awareness of this option, but it also serves as a reminder that all those in your network should have a will. Despite the obvious need and practicality of a will, a shocking portion of Americans fail to make or complete this document. Not only does that put their heirs and those for whom they are responsible, at risk, it eliminates the possibility of a bequest gift to you.  We can’t have that.  At the end of your life, your assets will end up with heirs, the government and charities.  You can pick two, but only if you have a will.

A Good Planned Giving Prospect is…

…someone who is currently living and will one day die. That’s right – everyone is going to follow this path eventually and we want to give them every opportunity to support your mission before moving on to their heavenly reward. Are there likelier prospects than those who have a pulse? Of course. Check your database for donors who have given over time regularly. Even if they are small gifts, this consistency is a flag for bequest potential. Look for those who have ever requested information, responded to your mailings or attended your seminars.

Say Thank You…

…before it’s too late. A bequest society recognizes those who have indicated the inclusion of your organization in their wills. While it is always a delight to open the mail and find a check from the proceeds of an estate, it is too late to let the donor know how grateful you feel. Those surprise gifts are wonderful, but even better, is the opportunity to build on that relationship in the here and now.

Mission Advancement assists churches, parishes, dioceses, religious orders, sponsored ministries, educational, social service and environmental organizations in the areas of Fundraising, Communications, Organizational Development and Stewardship.


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