Any great leader recognizes they can’t go it alone. The same goes for legacy fundraisers. Surrounding yourself with individuals who will champion the gifts in wills program and offer support and advice when needed will make the journey much smoother.
A Legacy Advisory Council should be composed of professionals that bring knowledge, expertise, and support that you may not have. They should support the organization’s mission and share a desire to reach its goals through their involvement in the Council on a volunteer basis. Their role is to support the fundraising professional by providing their expert advice as it pertains to the effective management of the gift in wills program and to advise donors (if/when appropriate).
Typical professionals sought:
- Legal advisors
- Life insurance specialists
- Financial planners or advisors
- Knowledgeable philanthropist
- Wealth managers
Where does one find such volunteers?
- Current or past Board of Directors
- Local Board of Trade
- Chamber of Commerce (or any form of similar business groups)
- Professional Associations (Bar Association, CPA, etc.)
- Current donors
- Organizational volunteers
So now what?
First and foremost, you need to be extremely clear on what you need Council members to do and that must be defined in the Terms of Reference. As a reference, you ToR must detail the rules of engagement under the following headings:
- Functioning of the committee
- Terms of office
- Meetings (frequency, location, duration, etc.)
- Reporting relationship
With every Council member clearly understanding what is expected of them, you can all set out to effectively work together towards building a successful gifts in will program. Does this mean that having a Legacy Advisory Council is necessary for all organizations? Of course not. However, many have found the extra support and the sounding board as a reassurance when facing difficult gift or donor situations.