Tips 3 & 4 to launching your legacy program

Hmm, it’s Wednesday evening and I promised I’d post every Tuesday …. Ok back on track folks! Last

Hmm, it’s Wednesday evening and I promised I’d post every Tuesday ….


Ok back on track folks!

Last week I covered in greater detail the first two tips from the microlearning video I referred to in my January 8 post. Today I’ll discuss the last 2 tips.

Tip 3: Start small: drip legacy messages in all your marketing materials

You can’t be everywhere and everything to everyone – especially if you are working in a small shop. Be strategic, thoughtful and deliberate.

Start by doing an inventory of all your marketing materials, find ways to insert legacy messaging in all of them – where and when it’s appropriate. What I mean by this is if the main objective of a newsletter is to bring attention to a particular issue, don’t confuse your donors by throwing in an additional message like legacies. But if it’s on different updates within the organization, then go ahead!

There are some fundamental truths in marketing that have been scientifically proven; one of which is that someone must see a message at least 7 times before they remember it. While we may believe that we sound like a broken record or that the message is old, remember that to your donor (who most likely receives materials from countless other organizations) they may have read your message for the first time.

Lastly, do not be deterred if you do not have a budget to develop new marketing materials. Just be creative and use everything at your disposal. Also, don’t forget those digital platforms. Use your organizational Facebook and Instagram accounts -, your target legacy donors are there too!

Tip 4: Look for the gems in your database

Research shows that typical legacy donors are women with higher education degrees and over the age of 65. The folks at Jerold Panas, Lintzy & Partners even draft a list of 14 characteristics of planned giving donors.

Also consider your longtime donors, especially your monthly donors. Why? Simply put, they are your most committed donors and legacy is all about long-time commitment.

What I did when I was at a small shop years ago is call to thank every donor when they made a donation. If they answered the phone during the day and were elderly, I flagged them as prospects in the database. My go-to question was always “What made you start donating to the organization?“. I learned so much about the organization but also about the donor, her values, her story. The insights they shared helped me build the legacy program the organization needed. I loved these calls and I always came out humbled and inspired.

Finally, categorize all your prospects and start speaking to them about leaving a legacy based on their communication preferences. Make it as personal as possible and see how they respond.

Adapt, improve, repeat!

So how will you start talking to your donors about legacies? What tools will you use?

As always, send me your questions and I’ll respond on a Thursday post. Until then, keep working your legacy program!


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