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Five Questions When Cultivating Donors for Legacy Gifts

I have learned much in my time working with and supporting nonprofits in their fundraising. One thing that might hold truer than anything else is cultivating donors to make planned gifts generally takes time. Developing relationships, stewardship, decisions, execution and implementation does not happen instantaneously but requires a process. Sometimes that process continues for many years before a gift is ever made.

Crescendo provides tools, education and resources to assist fundraising professionals in cultivating their donors for legacy giving. We help to identify their best prospects and how to talk to them. We help nonprofits show their donors how to give wisely. At Crescendo, we do this with our GiftLegacy marketing platform and CresPro donor proposal software.

Everything takes time, including gift cultivation and the decision-making process for your donors to make transformational gifts to support your cause. Donors need time to make their decisions. Leaving a legacy gift is the ultimate decision for your donors to make. This is how do they want to be remembered.

If you are a fundraising professional, here are five questions to ask yourself in cultivating your donors to leave a legacy gift:

1. Is your donor philanthropically minded?

Planned giving is a good tool to help relieve tax burdens, but that is not its sole purpose, or even its primary purpose. Donors make gifts for many reasons, but charitable intent is the primary motivation behind most gifts. Tax liability may be a motivating factor, but the heartstring ties to your mission are what drive the gift.

2. Does your donor trust you and your organization?

Leaving your legacy is a very personal thing. It is the ultimate decision and sometimes a person’s last decision. You need to lay the foundation to convince your donor that their legacy wishes can be fulfilled by their gift to your organization. When they trust that their blood, sweat and tears will not be wasted, they understand that making a gift will be used to make this world better when they are gone.

3. Has your donor’s financial situation changed?

In today’s volatile world things can change quickly. Saying yes can sometimes be hard, but saying no can also be just as hard. Philanthropic people want to give, it’s their passion. You may want to check in with your donor to determine if they have the ability to do make their legacy gift, or maybe even increase their planned gift.

4. Do they understand the gift and how it works?

Most people spend their entire career building their wealth. Your donors have arrived where they are today, by making the right choices and understanding those choices. They will move forward with legacy giving when they understand and are comfortable with the planned gift.

5. Have you provided donors with options?

There are many different ways to give and many gift vehicles that may fit the needs of your donor. You are tasked with explaining the choice and the benefits. You will want to brush up on the basics to know which may be a best fit for your donor. It is important for your donor to see that you are working hard to find the best solution, ways to give and give wisely. You may find that working together with their professional advisors moves the process along.

Crescendo can help you reach and cultivate your best prospects to support your cause. Contact us to learn how we can help you.

Steven Walker

By Steven Walker
Integrated Marketing- Central Region, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

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