The bloodline of most nonprofits is funding. Without a regular funding stream, nonprofits, no matter how noble their mission, would be unable to implement essential programs to the communities that they serve. Thus, it is imperative for nonprofits to approach fundraising holistically. Among the myriad funding options available to nonprofits, Legacy Gifts seem to be the least tapped resource. One reason could very well be the air of mystery that surrounds it. With that said, I hope to shed more insights on the attributes that can lead to the development of a successful legacy program by non-profits. The main factors to be considered when planning a legacy gift include:
1). Non-profit's Sustainability
In order to attract a legacy gift, it is essential for nonprofits to dispel any doubts concerning its validity and future operations. Potential funders need to be assured that the nonprofit is in the business of serving its constituents for the long haul. More importantly, nonprofits should be in the position to answer the following question affirmatively. That is, " Will the organization still be around when the donor's last will and testament is read"? Assuring potential donors of concerns regarding a non-profits sustainability is a crucial step in attracting legacy gifts.
2. Mission, Goals and Activities
It goes without saying that crafting a succinct and compelling mission statement that captures the essence of a non-profit along with implementing goals and activities successfully is pertinent where legacy gifts are concerned. Potential donors have a deep seated need regarding the ability of a non-profit agency to execute excellent projects. Essentially, they want to know that their hard earned money wouldn't end up going down the drain. This is why non-profits interested in securing these gifts are often advised to make sure that they have a history of executing successful projects.
3. Legacy Gift Plan
Although this is a no-brainer, it still pays to prepare a legacy gift plan. Preparing a legacy gift plan will boost the ability of a non-profit's leadership to articulate the manner that legacy gifts will be spent in a clear, convincing and detailed fashion. An effectively prepared legacy plan should leave no doubt in a potential donor's mind about how their money will be spent and the good that will come out of their gift.
4. Benefits to Bequests
Variety is the spice of life just as varied benefits to bequests is the bloodline of non-profit legacy gifts ! Although some donors dole out gifts without an expectation of any form of reward, others expect to be rewarded through non-monetary means. For the latter group of donors, it pays to take note of their desires. Therefore, conscientiousness and thoughtfulness should go into designing irresistible benefits that will leave an indelible impression on them. It is worth noting that benefits do not have to cost an arm and a leg to be meaningful. For instance, a non-profit can dedicate a program or a scholarship to a donor.
One crucial factor that can ruin a non-profit's ability to secure legacy gifts is a poor reputation. To avoid falling into the poor branding bucket, it is equally important to build a robust reputation that inspires trust. Affiliations and partnerships should be forged with entities that have equally strong brands. This would ensure that the good work being performed by a non-profit reaches a wider pool of potential funders who would be willing to be affiliated with it once they depart the face of the earth.
Sustainability, effective mission, goals and activities, a legacy gift plan, benefits to bequests and a robust brand are critical components that ought to be addressed by nonprofits interested in securing legacy gifts. Funding is the bloodline of nonprofits and legacy gifts happens to be one more avenue that can ensure continuity of the crucial work that non-profits perform within various communities.
Bray, Ilona. (2005). Effective Fundraising For Nonprofits: Real World Strategies That Work . Berkeley, CA
© 2019 Sherita N. Brace