Top 4 Legacy Marketing Myths

WARNING: These myths may impair your charitable bequest potential

Have you concluded that Legacy Marketing just can’t work for your charity?

There are a lot of reasons why so many smart and good-looking fundraising professionals come to this conclusion.

That’s why I created this quick checklist of Legacy Marketing myths.  I want to make sure you don’t miss out on a great opportunity for your organization and your donors.

1. Only the ‘Big Guys’ get bequests.  We hear a lot about big-city research hospitals, prestigious universities, national health charities and ‘blue-chip’ arts organizations receiving bequests.  But charities of all sizes and without name-brand recognition are successfully communicating with their donors about making bequest gifts.  The key is to start respectfully speaking about it with your donors.  And I guarantee they are already on someone else’s list for this very important conversation!

2. My charity’s donors aren’t rich, so it’s just not worth it.  The average charitable bequest gift in Canada is now around $30,000.  This amount is typical for a donor of modest means.  And many donors who leave this size of gift have never made a single gift larger than $25 or $30 during their lifetime.  Can you imagine the transformative good that could be accomplished if two or three dozen of your average donors decided to include your charity in their Will?

3. Donors will only make bequests if I meet with them in person.  Many of us learned early on in our fundraising careers that Planned Giving equals tea and banana bread with little old ladies.  This isn’t really fair to little old ladies, Planned Giving professionals or banana bread.  Also, it’s really not very effective for maximizing the number of charitable bequests for your organization.  First, there are simply too many people willing to name your charity in their Will to ever have enough time to meet with all of them.  Second, most donors who leave gifts in their Will prefer NOT to have you sitting in their living room while they make estate plans.

4. Legacy Marketing has to cost a lot to be effective.  There are legacy marketing programs that can cost tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.  But this does not mean they are effective, even for big charities with lots of resources.  What’s most important is to make a plan, build a strategy that will fit your budget and start the conversation with your charity’s donors.  A smart place to begin is examining opportunities to include bequest giving information in your current print materials and online content.

I hope you’ve decided to have another look at this terrific way to significantly increase your fundraising revenues.  There are some great resources available to help you create a sharp Legacy Marketing strategy – many, are low or even no, cost!  You can contact me directly for some free advice on where to begin.


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