Do you care more about your legacy society than the donors in it?
Some nonprofits seem to care about ‘having’ a legacy society far more than they care about the donors in them.
There’s lots of evidence supporting my claim. For instance:
- Way less than half of the people who make planned gifts notify the nonprofits in advance and many of those that do ask to be anonymous.
- Look online and try to determine the benefits of joining any legacy society and you’ll see that too many provide very little real, meaningful value to the donors.
- Some just give donors a pin and a newsletter.
- Others don’t do anything for the donors except put them on a list in the annual report (sometimes without their permission). Yipes!
I think the organizations maintaining these weak societies created them primarily for two reasons:
- They believe they have to create a legacy society in order to have a robust legacy giving program but they don’t understand their true purpose.
- They think the opportunity to join the legacy society is a major motivator. But think about it, would you change your will just to get into the legacy society or to get on a list in the annual report or on the website? I didn’t think so?
Some do it right.
They recognize that a legacy society can be a powerful marketing tool for:
- Encouraging supporters to disclose their legacy gift intentions.
- Ensuring that gifts remain in the supporters’ plans.
- Generating leads for additional legacy gifts.
- Gaining referrals.
How do they do it?
- They show that they sincerely care about and appreciate each donor — not just about the existence of the society.
- They provide them with massive value.
- They create offers for engagement and involvement.
- They offer opportunities for them to do even more in ways they never imagined.
- They help the donors show their friends, colleagues and peers that they are helping your organization by making the ultimate gift.
- They make sure they feel good!