Gifts that in Wills and life insurance policies can be a significant income source for nonprofits year-to-year. Typically, legacy gifts are the most cost-effective revenue a nonprofit will generate alongside other major gifts a nonprofit may receive.
Unfortunately, planning for the inflow of legacy gifts has historically been next to impossible. It is due to this lack of visibility that many nonprofit leaders will decide to deprioritize planned giving or legacy giving campaigns, relative to other campaigns. Most of the time, leaders will further justify this decision because of their difficulty drawing a straight line from the investment they make in legacy giving to the income they receive in the future.
We only need to look at recent global events, such as the pandemic, and the resultant economic impacts, to see how short-sighted and detrimental these decisions can be. According to a recent survey by the Ontario Non-profit Network, 20% of respondents say they may have to shut down by the end of 2020, with another 25% stating that 2021 will bring greater financial stress.
Income from legacy gifts has the potential to be a significant, uncorrelated, diversified sources of revenue. Willfora helps nonprofits get better visibility into their legacy giving program to see the compounding results of their continued focus.
When we speak to potential legators, we often hear that supporting causes through Wills or insurance policies is a new concept, and when we explain the impact their support through a Will can have, the vast majority of legators typically increase the size of their gift or will support additional causes. This observation informed how designed and built our software platform, and how we work with lawyers, online will providers and life insurance companies to develop better legacy giving prompts.
Suggestions on how to spark the legacy conversation
1. Educate donors on "Why Legacy Giving"
When designing legacy marketing campaigns, help donors understand what legacy giving is. Most of your donors will have a general idea of donating through Wills, but its the misinformation you need to address. Some donors may think that leaving a gift in a will means taking significant resources away from other beneficiaries. Help them understand that this isn't binary and that even nominal support can significantly contribute to the cause.
2. Be transparent about the efficiency of different sources of revenue
Help donors see how meaningful legacy gifts can be to amplify the impact they already make through their support of your organization. We suggest that nonprofits lean into transparency by helping donors understand how much more impact dollars received from legacy gifts make versus lifetime donations. You can quantify the impact by assisting donors in seeing how their legacy dollars can dramatically change the operating margins in any single year.
3. Preserve neutrality when seeking commitments
Provide arms-length ways for donors to turn their intent into commitments without overly influencing their end-of-life planning process. Additionally, do so while reserving your neutrality by not suggesting a lawyer or group of lawyers or any single online will provider in the will creation or updating process. Ecosystem platform partners, such as Willfora, can help you secure commitments in a complaint and neutral way.
4. Highlight the impact of legacies on your organization
Speak to executors and estate administrators when you receive gifts from an estate and get permission from family members to share their stories and the impact the gift will have. Share these stories with your donors and bring more attention to the beauty of legacies and the people that make them.
Willfora's mission is to transform legacy giving into a major source of revenue for nonprofits. Our platform, partners and tools help nonprofits reimagine planned giving and see real, compounding results. If you are a forward-thinking nonprofit executive or an innovative legacy leader, we want to help you. For more information, visit www.willfora.com