For charities looking to gain more legacy giving commitments through gifts in Wills, just like runners, the last mile is often the longest. While strategies to start the conversation about legacy giving have existed for a while, few focus on the problem of moving a donor from intending to leave a gift to adding that gift in their Will. It may be easier than ever to figure out who could be a good fit for legacy giving and who may intend on leaving a gift, but then begins a whole new process of gaining those commitments.
Here are four reasons why actually gaining commitments from donors has traditionally been such a complicated process for charities:
1) The intent to commitment problem
According to research from the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP), 85% of Canadians are aware that they can leave a gift to a charity in their Will, yet charities still tend to focus solely on awareness and education campaigns for their donors.
While education on the importance of gifts in Wills should always come first, this is the point where donors get stuck and charities lose visibility into whether or not the donor will be leaving a gift in their Will. At this point, the “when” of creating a Will becomes the biggest friction point for donors. Although charities with seasoned legacy giving strategies include a number of legacy giving options in their marketing, few actually offer a vehicle for the donor to act on their intention to leave a gift.
With all of the focus on starting the conversation about gifts in Wills, a huge opportunity can be missed in providing an easy and secure way for donors to go about creating a Will that doesn’t involve large time commitments or monetary contributions. This is why many families and individuals can take years at a time to get around to creating or updating a Will.
Due to the traditional complexity of going to a lawyer to create a Will, simple online Wills have recently become an easy alternative that can serve the majority of the population’s needs. They also create action faster at a fraction of the cost.
2) Sporadic awareness
Whether through events, webinars, or digital advertising, legacy giving is often sporadic in charity marketing calendars instead of sprinkled throughout the year. The hard truth is that individuals and families are always going to take action when it’s right for them to do so, and that may or may not line up with when their favourite charity is running a legacy campaign.
The “who” of awareness campaigns is also important in order to gain commitments versus only intents. Why the aging baby boomer population (age 65-80) is often the target for legacy giving, their technologically savvy counterparts between ages 35-50 are actually the group most interested in creating a Will. The earlier in a person’s life that a gift has been made, the higher the opportunity that gift also has to grow.
Only major life events such as marriage or the birth of a child spur action when creating or updating a Will, and so charities will greatly benefit from adopting legacy strategies that span throughout the year. By offering a free alternative to create or update a Will with unique prompts for legacy giving, Charity Pages helps charities convert intents to gifts in Wills 365 days of the year, whenever a donor is ready to cross that bridge.
3) Trouble scaling
Charities may find that scaling their legacy giving program begins to take away from other fundraising activities. Especially for charities who are small in size but have robust legacy programs, it can be a challenge to keep up with the day-to-day of not having an arms-length process with donors. As charities begin to gain more interest in legacy giving, the time they can spend with donors for stewardship becomes limited.
It’s also important to note that many charities who have dedicated team members for legacy giving often have other fundraising activities fall under their portfolios. This often invites the question of how to manage both the general population of donors as well as donors who give in a major giving capacity. In conversations with charities, many often cite this stewardship dilemma as a worry with scaling too fast.
Instead of creating more work or adding the cost of new team members, Willfora’s service for charities augments legacy giving activities in order for teams to work closer with the donors whose needs may be outside the scope of a simple online Will. If 90% of donors can be serviced with simple Wills and have their needs met at an arm’s length, it gives the charity a far greater opportunity for stewardship with donors whose needs may require more customization or meeting with a lawyer.
Willfora additionally has a network of lawyers that can be contacted in the case that a testator’s requirements are beyond the scope of a simple Will.
4) Insights into future income
Perhaps the most powerful reason a charity should focus their efforts on legacy giving is to provide more predictable future income in order for the organization to make bolder, long-term bets. Without insight and visibility into future outcome, the whole concept of legacy giving can become anecdotal, and is often why charities apply little focus to it.
Willfora hopes to change that for good with data-driven visibility into future income and real-time insights on gift data made to charities. Charities can now see immediately when a gift in a Will has been made, which can then inform more tailored stewardship after the fact if they opt in to share their contact information with the charity. Again, this gives charities more opportunities to grow gifts over time, as Willfora offers unlimited updates to any Will created on the platform.
If you are a charity that wants to superpower your legacy giving program through a Charity Page or Sponsored Charity listing, please contact us to book a demo.