Legacy Giving on Autopilot With Willfora

by Matt Renzoni in March 29th, 2021

Gifts in Wills in Canada have a long way to go in terms of being established as a standard way of charitable giving. While over 10% of populations in the UK and Australia leave charitable gifts in Wills, only 5% of Canadians do so. According to the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP), bumping up the percentage of Canadians who leave gifts in Wills to just 8.5% represents a $40B opportunity for charities. 

Getting to that mark is going to take some time and education, but charities stand to gain so much from diversifying their fundraising income through branching out into legacy giving. While many have begun their journey into awareness strategies to begin conversations with donors around legacy giving, the ongoing struggle for charities has increasingly become securing gifts and gaining visibility into gifts in Wills that may already be present. 

For these reasons, many charities develop strong legacy giving awareness strategies only to find a bottleneck in what we call the “last mile” of legacy giving. Once a charity has uncovered who in their donor base is a good fit for legacy stewardship, a lack of resources to close the gap between intent and commitment is where a lot of these conversations come to a halt. Depending on the size of the charity, this in combination with a lack of time and human capital can keep charities from uncovering and tracking millions of dollars in future bequests.

Specifically for smaller charities who likely have less robust legacy programs than their larger counterparts, time is often the biggest barrier in diversifying their fundraising strategies. While traditional knowledge says that charities should have team members solely focus on one aspect of stewardship (ie. annual giving, major gifts, legacy giving), due to organization size and costs, this simply isn't feasible for many charities. 

When this happens, legacy giving is the first to lose attention, since annual and major gifts require more time and attention. Many charities in this category then hesitate to emphasize legacy giving because of the perceived complexity and additional attention needed. This then hinders the ability for the charity to diversify fundraising efforts and push beyond the status quo. 

Out of hundreds of charities in Canada who have legacy giving as an option listed on their website, few have a compelling offer that spurs action from the donor. Beyond the industry standard of sample bequest language and requesting an estate planning brochure, online Wills have now made it easier than ever to convert intent into action. 

The Willfora Advantage

Charities often need both a conversion vehicle for gifts in Wills as well as a way to track donors who have left a legacy gift, and Willfora’s solutions for charities are designed with both of these in mind. Instead of fearing growth of legacy giving due to the added time constraints it poses for team members, Willfora allows charities to build a legacy program with minimal time and effort. 

While we give charities the power to customize an online Will experience for their donors at an arm’s-length by utilizing simple Wills that can serve 80-90% of the population’s estate planning needs, legacy giving teams can then still have the time to properly steward donors with more complex estate planning requirements. You could even call this “legacy giving on auto-pilot”. 

After speaking with hundreds of charities, the time crunch to invest in legacy giving is one of the most common issues that charities face. Large charities aren’t immune to this issue either, as employee turnover often leads to legacy giving roles being vacant for months at a time. When this happens, another team member will usually cover the legacy giving day-to-day, and the organization once again resorts to only being reactive. Additionally, given the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the way that charities fundraise, far more organizations have been forced into this mold than in previous years. 

Willfora’s suite of tools also address this concern, as charities can still easily track future income and be proactive with legacy giving even when a team member oversees multiple giving portfolios. Think of it like a simple investment portfolio, where you only have to spend a few minutes each week managing your future income. With this arm’s-length approach, charities of all sizes stand to gain millions in future commitments with minimal time invested. 

If your charity wants to superpower legacy giving through a Charity Page or Sponsored Charity listing, please contact us to book a demo.

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