My pal (Tricia Benson) used to work at Human Rights Campaign. During her tenure, we helped her conduct a couple of simple marketing efforts that uncovered more than 200 previously undisclosed legacy gifts (new legacy society members) and thousands of leads. Now she’s at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation — A wonderful organization!
Anyway, we had breakfast together recently and she suggested I write about what fundraisers should do when they get a big gift to ensure that they capitalize on the event.
So, here are my 5 steps that will help you pounce on your good fortune (whether you were directly responsible for the revenue or not):
- Post a sign about the gift outside your door. Be creative. Get a picture of the supporter and write something like, “Thank you Juanita!” Under that headline add the amount of her legacy gift, a picture, and perhaps even a short story about her engagement history. Use colors. Make a big deal about it. Celebrate her life and your organization’s newfound revenue that will support your mission for years to come.
- Calculate your bequest potential. Use the Bequest Calculator to determine how much money your organization could generate if it got serious about planned gift marketing.
- Survey your board. At the next board meeting relay what happened and ask your board to take a short private survey to determine where they are in the consideration process for a legacy gift, if they already made plans to leave a gift, or if they definitely will never leave a gift for your organization.
- Create a serious plan along with a calendar. Now that everyone has heard about the big gift from Juanita, they know about the organization’s bequest potential, and board members have signed on, you need a serious 12-month and a 3-year marketing plan. Be sure to quantify anticipated results. Include metrics and a return on investment. Need help? Reach out to us! We’ll help you for FREE if you qualify.
- Request the budget. Make sure it’s aligned with your strategy and the return on investment.
>> Why nonprofit budgets should be developed in alignment with strategies
>> The Secret: Why people make major gifts and bequests