From time to time, we are fortunate to have “The Godfather of Good”, Agent David Love, guest blog for Agents of Good. Thanks Agent David!
“… and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”
Learning All the Time
We learn new things about planned giving all the time. Probably the potential for large gifts drives this quest for more knowledge but also the increasing application of direct marketing techniques brings new information to light.
At the recent AFP Congress in Toronto, a new idea (for me at least) crept into my head that I’d like to share with you.
Talking About Legacies
There are many ways we can talk to donors about leaving a legacy gift. If we’re lucky, our donor wants an honest face-to-face conversation. Nothing will ever replace this as the best way to get legacy gifts.
But many donors don’t want that. And what about the thousands of donors with whom we only enjoy a “distant” relationship with – often older donors – through the mail?
We know that these donors can make spectacular legacy gifts. But we also know that getting them to consider a gift in their Will can be a tricky business.
A great deal of work has been done in the UK looking at this. Two of the most well- respected legacy professionals sum up their experiences by saying either get them to “raise their hands” or get them to the ‘AHA’ moment when they say “I can do that”.
I’ve joined these two observations into one and I call the result creating The Atmosphere of “YES!” I chose the term “atmosphere” is because I’m talking about something that is pervasive – it’s all around us, all the time.
So easily said but how do we do it? Here are some nascent thoughts.
The Atmosphere of “YES”
At first blush, here are eight elements essential to creating The Atmosphere of “YES!”
- The need for legacy gifts needs to be clear – to everyone. This means our organization needs a compelling, passionate, relevant, ambitious, realistic future vision
- Our organization needs inspired, committed volunteer leadership. At Congress, I learned that top charities in the UK have created inspiring “legacy information kits” not for donors, but for volunteers! (I’m trying to get my hands on one.)
- Our organization must receive and proudly trumpet significant “family” commitment from folks like our past and current board, past and current staff, past and current volunteers and perhaps even major long-term suppliers.
- We need to show we are worthy of these legacy gifts. Once again, we broadcast far and wide our receipt of big legacy gifts and we let our donors – and the whole world – know that we did great things with them.
- Our organization works with a healthy pipeline of legacy prospects and we take elegant care of our pledgers – as determined by THEM, not US!
- Our organization sends inspiring donor-centred communications and we host energetic, meaningful (to the donors!) events
- We are in contact with our pledgers. We share their dreams. We share our results. We invite them to tell us their stories.
- We identify and eliminate all barriers to saying “YES” and all the reasons for saying “NO”.
A Work in Progress
Gentle reader, I could write entire articles about all eight points. But creating The Atmosphere of “YES!” may not be as important as I think it is.
But it feels right and that’s all I need to continue brooding about it. And to begin acting on it in my organization.
I would be delighted to hear from any Agent of Good readers. And I’m offering a cool prize to the first person who identifies the source of the quote at the beginning of this blog. Google search not allowed!