I once heard a story about a legacy gift that was about to be “closed” until the organization’s CFO fumbled the ball in the end zone. Here’s how it goes:
The fundraiser did a great job.
She’d been meeting with this particular supporter for years. She knew all about her goals and desires. Indeed, they had a very real and special relationship. They understood one another. They had a bond. And they were on the same page.
This wonderfully skilled fundraiser was told that the bequest would be in the amount of $1 million. Then, during a regular meeting with the senior staff at her organization, she was asked about how the cultivation process was going with that particular supporter. Of course she was happy to report that she had been informed about the gift. It was set. She “closed” the gift. Touchdown!
But, sadly, that’s when things started to unravel.
Not so fast! The CFO asked for the legacy gift notification form. “Where is it?” he asked. “Didn’t you get the supporter to sign it? We can’t count the gift if we don’t get that signed!! Please arrange a lunch right away so we can talk about it with her!”
The fundraiser dutifully arranged the lunch. Things were going relatively well (although the supporter was a little uneasy having never met the CFO before).
Then, came the fumble.
The CFO pulled out the Gift Notification Form and asked the supporter to sign it on-the-spot. It looked like a contract. It was intimidating. The supporter became really uncomfortable. Rightly so.
Undeterred, the CFO explained that signing it would help the organization plan for the future and help inspire others to make legacy gifts. But the donor simply didn’t want to help in that way. She couldn’t see how it benefitted her to help the organization plan. After all, she was giving them $1 million dollars. Hadn’t she done enough?
Of course she didn’t sign it.
And, a few years later she passed away. As time passed, no gift came their way. Instead, another organization received it.
Funny thing is… it didn’t matter much to the CFO because he had already moved on to another job. Yet it was so darn important for him to get her signature at the time (for his score card). Clearly it wasn’t very important to him later.
In most cases, I really don’t think Planned Gift Notification forms should be pushed on supporters so your nonprofit can keep score. Do you?
Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!