If you are reading this you understand the need to either start, or grow, a legacy giving program. And I get it – you want to build a successful program while maintaining authentic relationships with your donors. Heck – that is why we got into development work in the first place, right?
The following are three ways to improve your communication and relationship with your donors to grow your program.
1) Speak to them the right way
The first thing I do with a new client is to read their latest marketing materials. What I often find are communications that talk about the organization, it’s history, what it has achieved and what it is looking to do in the future. What is missing is the point of view of the donor. Our donors want to know that we are using their donations wisely and achieving our mission and they also want to hear that they had a part in that. So instead of saying, “look what we have achieved…” it becomes, “look what you have helped us achieved.”
You may need different legacy messages for different segments of donors. When you segment your donor lists evaluate them by engagement and speak directly to their values. Likewise, everyone receives information in different ways – have you accounted for this? Do you include your messaging in emails, newsletters, live events, etc.
Quick fixes that cost very little:
- Add legacy messaging in all of your electronic communications
- Add legacy messaging to items you are about to recreate (old pledge cards, annual reports, gala journals, etc.)
- Piggyback on existing events
2) Lead your donor
Adding legacy giving marketing and messaging to our communications will fall flat if we don’t tell our donors what to do with that information. We assume they will know, but many will be confused and not know what to do with it. Legacy giving can be confusing – so many gift vehicles! Do I need a lawyer? How do I start this process? There can be so many questions going through your donors’ mind, and if they are confused, they will not make a gift. Let’s make it easy for our donors. They are busy people also!
A better way to engage our donors is to lead them through the process, and here are some of the ways you can support, and lead, our donors.
- Provide case studies
- Provide tools to help them close the gift
- Provide guidance through education
- Make it easy for them to contact you
- Give them options for giving
- Follow up!
3) Recognize the person, not the gift
It can certainly be impressive when you receive a large legacy gift. You want to share it with the world, right? That is understandable. However, the mistake that may come along with that is the promotion of the gift, not the individual behind the gift and the reason they made it. We are inclined to think the donor may want their big being publicized, but when you dig down deeper, it is the reason why they made the gift, not the amount or the method that needs to be honored and shared.
Behind the gift is a person, and a family, and community. Make sure you recognize and steward your donors the way they want to be honored (it’s ok to ask them!) Make your stewardship unique to your organization and donors and watch your program flourish and your donor retention go up.
Guest Author: Lori Kranczer
Questions about Legacy Giving?
Lori Kranczer, Esq.
Founder and Principal Consultant,
Everyday Planned Giving, LLC