Legacy giving – make it easy

With billions of dollars poised to pass from one generation to the next over the next 50 years, why don’t more nonprofits have effective legacy giving programs?

Because they make it more complicated than it needs to be on themselves and their prospective legacy givers. According to Caleb B. Rick of Legacy Giving, attorneys and accountants have persuaded fundraisers that their donors must master the complexities of  Charitable Remainder Trusts and similar instruments before they can remember your charity in their wills.

Not true, Caleb says. In reality, those eye-glazing legacy giving messages just drive the majority of planned giving prospects away.

The fact is that legacy donors, like other donors, don’t give money to philanthropy because they want to make a profit. They make legacy gifts because they care about your mission and making a long-term difference in the world.

Tax advantages and other financial benefits of complex giving vehicles make it easier for some donors to give, but those factors don’t drive their decisions.

Focus on the why: your long-term vision for change. Make it clear that you share a commitment to benefit future generations . Bring in the lawyers after the donor decides to leave a legacy, not before.

And only if you need lawyers. In fact, Caleb advises, most donors can leave money to your charity with a simple beneficiary form designation for commonly held assets such as bank accounts, IRAs and insurance polices.

These simple and fully revocable forms are usually provided by the  bank or other administrator and can generally be filed with just a couple of notarized signatures.

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