This very nice woman was a legal secretary until age 96 – probably never someone who stood out for fundraisers to fawn over. (CLICK HERE OR THE PICTURE TO SEE THE STORY IN THE NEW YORK TIMES)
Yet, she just left close to $9 million to fund scholarships, with the Henry Street Settlement receiving $6.24 million, their largest single gift (probably by far) via a charitable bequest (i.e. one of the many unknown planned giving donors who quietly make a huge impact after their lives).
Check your nonprofit org’s records. Who’s made the 5 largest gifts to the institution?
I would be surprised if bequests or other planned giving options don’t comprise at least 4 out of your top 5.
Fundraisers and heads of nonprofits – take note! Sylvia Bloom – the woman in the picture – actually left most of her estate to be used for scholarships at the discretion of her niece (who happens to be on the board of the Henry Street Settlement)!
Sylvia and her niece are both incredible people. But, just think about this. What if Sylvia had been one of your long term direct mail donors – I am guessing that she supported plenty of charities during her life.
Imagine if your org had any planned giving efforts – maybe planned giving newsletters or other marketing that encouraged Sylvia to consider your organization as a recipient of her legacy giving. Then image if your organization didn’t do anything in planned giving.
Think about the missed opportunity. Sylvia probably didn’t receive much direct planned giving content and opted to allow her niece full discretion over her legacy.
For nonprofits in America who been around awhile (15 or more years) to not engage in any meaningful planned giving efforts is just irresponsible.
The country is aging fast. Your data base is probably aging faster. Planned giving is really the only sensible way to make sure your institution has a decent chance to share in estates like Sylvia’s.
So where do you start? Check out our Planned Giving Boot Camp 6-part webinar crash course by CLICKING HERE.
Ok, so I have to plug more courses at any chance I have. Seriously, these courses are all designed to put immediately useful tools and ideas into your hands. You’ll learn about creating your own Legacy Opener (patent pending;). I’ll tell you which planned giving marketing options work and which don’t! Which vehicles are appropriate and which are not! And, not too much on the technical end!
Thank you for making it to the end of this post! I wonder how many readers actually get this far!