How to Ensure That Your Legacy Gift Supporters Don't Take You Out of Their Estate Plans

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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.

There must be thousands of ways to practice Engagement Fundraising. Here’s one that’s really fabulous because it zeros-in on an audience that will deliver a tremendous return on your investment— current legacy society members who are still alive.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, located in Washington, D.C., invited their Legacy of Light Guardians (their legacy society) to be further remembered in an anniversary publication that featured the planned gift donors in a beautiful, professional photo and a summary of their story.
This is smart because so many estate plans change in the last few years of a person’s life.  If you don’t do something to really seal the deal, you’re likely to get tossed out of the will and replaced (perhaps by a caring hospice nurse). Just imagine if you lose 10% of your gift intentions per year without knowing it. How much is that?  $100,000?  $1 million?  More?
I don’t have anything against hospice. I’m just saying that the easiest thing for you to do is to shore up your gift intentions with excellent stewardship that ensures your legacy gift supporters won’t take you out of their estate plans. Here’s how:

1. Pull the list

2. Send personal invitations (or better yet… call ’em!)

3. Arrange the photography session by asking a professional photographer to take the pictures

4. Interview your supporters (get to know ’em even better)

5. Produce the publication (maybe a printer will donate the printing)

6. Personally deliver a few copies each to your donors

7. Give them out to legacy society prospects


NOTE: Full disclosure… The U.S. Holocaust Museum is one of our clients at MarketSmart (but we can’t take credit for thinking-up this fabulous initiative.)

2014-03-30 11.33.06 am



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