Legacy Collateral You Need And The Ones You Can Live Without

This past Monday I finished delivering the first ever Association of Fundraising Professionals ICON Deep Dive virtual workshop

This past Monday I finished delivering the first ever Association of Fundraising Professionals ICON Deep Dive virtual workshop on building a strong legacy pipeline. An important part of the sessions was legacy marketing at every stage of the pipeline.

It reminded me of a February 26, 2019 post that encouraged readers to explore the vast possibility of legacy videos. The post warranted a refresher so here goes!

Whether you’re just launching a legacy program or you’re re-evaluating your program’s strategy and collaterals, there are some fundamental tools of a general nature that you should have on hand for donors, and others you can live without.

Absolute must haves:

  1. A legacy web page: it’s the front door to your legacy program. Most, if not all, donors, will look at the organization’s website. Take the time to create an easily accessible page that inspires donors to consider legacy giving by focusing on impact and fabulous storytelling (skip the legal and fiscal mumbo-jumbo!). You can read more on that in this post.
  2. Sample bequest and codicil language: either as a handout or on your website, make it easy for donors to write their will by providing sample language with the organization’s full name, address and charitable status number.

Nice to have:

  1. Will writing workbook: most of us don’t quite know what to expect or how to start preparing for writing our will. You can bring value to your donors by offering a workbook that will help them think through all the steps and the things they need to think about before they head off to their attorney to draft their will.
  2. Will/Codicil process infographic: I came across this amazing infographic from the Royal Opera House a couple of months ago and LOVED IT! Again, in the spirit of bringing value to donors, the infographic breaks down the simple steps a donor must take to leave a gift in their will. This includes whether they are writing a will from scratch or simply updating it though a codicil.
  3. Gift Announcement Form: a non-legally binding form where the donor can share additional information about their legacy gift. I’ve also seen it called Letter of Wishes – either way, it gives donors the opportunity to share with the organization the details of the gift.
  4. Video testimonials: people connect to people and what better way to do that via a video. The blog post mentioned above covers the fundamentals but if you’re looking for inspiration, check out this playlist of videos I’ve collected.

You’ll find templates of some of these documents on my Resources page – please make sure you have documents of a legal nature vetted by a legal professional.

What you can skip altogether or hold off:

  1. Brochure/leaflet: if you are not ready to proactively market your legacy program or if you are not sending out a legacy appeal, hold off before developing legacy brochures or leaflets. We’ve all been there where we develop marketing materials and then we end up with boxes filled with outdated brochures in the back of the storage room. However, once you are ready to get cracking on proactively soliciting legacy gifts, take your time to develop something inspirational and informative so donors know why legacies are important to the organization.
  2. Pins and other paraphernalia: ask your donors first how they want to be recognized. If they don’t care about pens, pins, certificates, etc. don’t waste money on branding legacy society paraphernalia. Instead focus on meaningful and personalized recognition of your legacy pledgers.  

In the end, consider developing tools as you need them based on your strategy. It serves no purpose to have 5,000 leaflets in 2 boxes sitting underneath your desk if you don’t immediately need them. Save your donors’ money and your energy and build the house one brick at a time.

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