Tue, 05 Dec 2023

If your organization is just starting started with planned giving, you may not know where to start. There are several things to remember for success, including establishing a legacy society.


A legacy society is a membership club for those who have indicated they will leave a legacy for your organization. It can support your planned giving marketing strategy via word-of-mouth and give donors the additional motivation to leave a legacy for your organization.


In addition, it can help you strengthen your relationship with legacy contributors, resulting in more gifts from them and setting the seeds for future gifts of greater magnitude.


Creating a legacy society need not be challenging. Here are eight steps your organization may take to establish its legacy society and increase the number of planned gifts it receives:


1- Start a charitable giving program.

To establish a legacy society, you must implement a planned giving program to accept and market legacy gifts. Nonprofits without a legacy giving program may have donors who have not informed the organization of their legacies. This indicates that they cannot effectively manage these donors to ensure their contributions are utilized. By instituting a planned giving program, it is possible to identify these donors. In addition, you can seek and manage new contributors who leave a legacy or make another form of planned donation.


Employing a planned giving team or investing in tools that make leaving a legacy straightforward enables organizations of any size to accept planned gifts. Before initiating a planned giving program and establishing a legacy society, you may wish to review our guide to planned giving. It describes how donors can leave bequests and the significance of such gifts to a nonprofit.

2- Survey your current donors to determine who has already included your organization in their will.

The next stage in establishing a legacy society is determining who has already provided a bequest to your organization. One method is to send a survey to your supporters. This can also help you identify new opportunities for planned giving by revealing which respondents possess the characteristics of a planned giving donor.


Ask survey questions that will provide information about:


  • Donor capacity, including demographics, income, and considerations for future gifts.
  • Their propensity to give, evaluating their commitment to your company. You can inquire whether they have already included you in their will.
  • You can inquire about their emotional connection to your cause and their desire to learn more about legacy contributions to determine their motivation to give.

3- Choose a memorable name and create a logo.

The name of your legacy society is significant and merits close consideration. It should be an image or phrase your planned giving contributors may associate with your organization.


Most nonprofit organizations name their legacy society after a person, a date, a location, or an inspiring word or phrase. The American Heart Association, for instance, named its legacy society the Paul Dudley White Legacy Society in honor of one of its founding members.


Consider developing a logo to give your society a branded appearance and a sense of solidarity once you've chosen a name. You can use this on your website, correspondence with society members, and marketing materials for planned giving.

4- Don't do everything alone; ask your devoted fans to promote your societal legacy.

Once you've chosen a name for your organization, you can invite current legacy contributors to become its founding members. People who leave a legacy for your nonprofit have demonstrated a strong commitment to your goal and organization. Providing them with this opportunity can strengthen their dedication to your cause. This can also increase awareness among other donors or their social circles.


Ask your board members, staff, and devoted volunteers whether they would be willing to participate as a rotating chairperson for your legacy society. This will ensure that a group of individuals is invested in the maintenance and expansion of your society. And, due to their prominence, they can raise awareness among their peers and garner support from other board members.


5- Create a page on your website for members to sign up.


After you've chosen a name and logo for your legacy society, develop a page on your website detailing how members can join. This will allow you to direct anyone interested in leaving a legacy or planned contribution to a specific location. Include on this page the benefits and privileges of joining your legacy society and the guidelines for making a planned donation. Include a link to this page in all solicitation emails and on the donation website.


6- Describe the advantages and rewards of joining your legacy society.


It would help if you also described the advantages of joining your legacy society on your website. These special advantages are a method to recognize supporters and encourage their participation. Sending new members a welcome present, such as a lapel button or other mark of appreciation, is an excellent way to begin. You can also include a note from your CEO or board thanking them for their contribution and describing their impact on the organization's future.


In addition to invites to exclusive social events, discounts on items, and free newsletter subscriptions, many nonprofits also offer these incentives.


On the Paul Dudley White Legacy Society page, for instance, the American Heart Association mentions the following member benefits:


Legacy society advantages

You should also publicly recognize your legacy society members with their permission. This might be as simple as mentioning them in your yearly report, brochure, donation wall, or website.


Communicate frequently with the members of your legacy society.

Communication with legacy donors is most effective when it is consistent and personalized. Since legacy gifts offer the best return on investment of all types of fundraising, it is crucial to present these significant donors with frequent, individualized updates to make them feel involved and appreciated. This will not only help ensure that they maintain their legacy gift in their will, but it may also result in different gifts in the future, such as annual cash gifts or substantial stock donations.


Nonprofits can cultivate ties with legacy donors through a variety of inventive methods, including:


  • Telephone calls and personal visits
  • Birthday cards and presents
  • Unique newsletters
  • A recognition wall for donors
  • Exclusive excursions
  • Unique seminars and webinars

By identifying the style of stewardship that resonates best with your legacy donors, you can ensure that you deliver value to their membership. This can inspire other contributors to join or make their own planned gifts.


Obtain more legacy contributors by streamlining the donation process.

Your legacy organization can only flourish if you continue to receive new bequests. It is also essential to equip your donors with resources that make creating a will simple and quick.


These resources may contain connections to free online will-creation tools, such as MinaWill.com. Our tool collects donor data, making it simpler to acknowledge a donor's gift and introduce them to your legacy society.


Check out our other tools to learn more about how MinaWill can help your nonprofit accept more planned and significant gifts.

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