annual legacy society events

Annual legacy society luncheons: more valuable than you might realize!

Check out this short blog post from my friend Phyllis Freedman at SmartGiving:

http://www.smart-giving.com/plannedgivingblogger/bequests/dont-know-much-about-geography/

It reminds me of the great value of legacy society luncheons (or teas or dinners or whatever works for your crowd) for typical planned giving programs.  Not only is the event itself an opportunity to reconnect with planned giving donors (and typically results in new discussions and even new planned gifts), but the PR for the event and invitations themselves are great opportunities for marketing your program.

Here are some of the great value I have witnessed in my career from these events:

  1. The “save the date” is a light touch point, itself, for your legacy society donors (you don’t want to forget these folks – see this post for a frightening discussion of the percentage of charitable bequests that don’t come to fruition http://theplannedgivingblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/articleresearch-states-that-59-of-donor-bequest-intents-fail-to-come-to-fruition/ ).
  2. A classy invitation – with a nice description of the legacy society and some named inductees – can be a great marketing outreach piece for targeted, long-time givers and board members (whether they attend or not!).  Don’t just invite your society members – pick out a target group of potential prospects, too!
  3. The “encourage to attend” phone call to legacy society members and planned giving prospects is a nice way to initiate personal contact.
  4. Attendees of the event get an 1-2 hr infomercial/rah-rah session on your institution and typically inspires new commitments (or at least informing you of existing ones – I have seen some huge gifts revealed at these events).
  5. Post-event marketing, pictures and articles for newsletters, follow-up letters, etc.., are all very useful in keeping the planned giving message in front of your planned giving donors and prospects.

There is probably a lot more that I am missing.  If you add-up all of the touches surrounding an annual legacy society event, you might have a good amount of your light planned giving marketing taken care of, as well as some good prospecting, too.