Reinvent your legacy society to become a stewardship society instead

MarketSmart characters
MarketSmart lightbulb icon

Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

I’ve always been a bit baffled by Legacy Societies. Here’s why:

  1. Oddly, many nonprofits try very hard to get people to “join.” Yet, the benefits of joining kinda’ suck. Some just give you a pin.
  2. Once people “join”, too often the donors get ignored (in other words, many nonprofits rarely ever do much with the members).

So why create a Legacy Society if the benefits are nominal and/or insignificant?
Why push so many people to join only to be forgotten?
Legacy Gift SignageInstead, why not reinvent your legacy society to become a stewardship society instead. Here’s what I mean:

  1. Invite all of your loyal supporters, members, volunteers, etc
  2. Don’t worry about whether or not they planned to leave a gift yet
  3. Dream up awesome, amazing benefits for the members (REAL benefits that will warm their hearts!)
  4. Steward the heck out of them (Shower them with love, invitations, impact reports, phone calls and opportunities to get involved)
  5. Encourage them to participate in events with personalized invitations to events that you know will be relevant for them (about the programs they want to support)
  6. Help them mingle and share stories with one another at events
  7. Put those who have already made planned gifts on a pedestal at the events (with their permission of course)
  8. Display signage at the events
  9. Ask the planned givers to share their stories and explain why they planned a gift
  10. Provide several means for members to raise their hands showing interest in the legacy giving option
  11. Follow up with those leads
  12. Consider asking a planned gift supporter to go with you on your visits

Maybe this is a crazy idea? Let me know what you think.

Related Posts

> The best way to predict the future is to invent it
>> Dramatically improve your fundraising: Fundraising recipes
>> The simplest and most effective 6-step major gift and planned gift marketing strategy ever


Have a moment? Share this message about the importance of reinvention!



3 responses to “Reinvent your legacy society to become a stewardship society instead”

  1. karen t says:

    Does this apply to donors who do not reside in the city/state in which your org operates? I find the legacy society as it existed in the past baffling as well. Somewhat akin to attempting to create urgency by telling donors we’re nearing our FY end or the donor honor roles in publications.

  2. Shamim says:

    I love your ideas of a stewardship society!

  3. marketsmart says:

    I think it DOES apply to donors who do not reside in the city/state in which your organization operates. Sure! Why not?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get smarter with the SmartIdeas blog

Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!