How to Tell a Nonprofit You’re Leaving a Legacy Gift

As we reach the end of the legacy planning program with a donor or family, we give some practical steps that can help communicate their plan and make sure those they love, and the causes they care about, know what to expect. At Apex Legacy Consultants, we’re an educational resource and a third-party consulting firm. We provide tips and tricks to our clients and donors, but it’s ultimately up to them to decide the best way forward and who they want to know about their plan.

If a donor has decided to include a charitable bequest or other planned gift to a nonprofit in their plan, we encourage them to let the organization(s) know! Some decide to keep that information under wraps, and that’s their prerogative.

But when a donor decides to alert the nonprofit(s) included in their plan, here are a few things we suggest they think about or include:

Include Your Name(s) and Contact Information

This seems like a no-brainer, but be sure to include whether a gift is included in your plan or a joint plan with a spouse or partner. Include your full names and a way for the nonprofit to get a hold of you if they have questions.

Tell Them Why the Organization Matters to You

Here’s your chance to share a bit of your story! Did this organization make a difference in your life or a loved one’s life. Do you believe in the cause they support, like animal rights, environmental efforts, gender or sexual equality, poverty, hunger, etc? Your words could be very meaningful, so share them!

Tell Them About the Gift You’re Leaving

Here you can choose to share as much or as little as you’d like! You might include notes on whether you’ll be giving a gift during life or through your estate after you’re gone. Will the gift be a lump sum or a variety of disbursements over several years? Will it be made in cash, stock, or through another asset? If the organization has an endowment or foundation, will your gift go to that entity, or straight to the organization itself?

Tell Them How You’d Like the Gift Used

If there’s a specific program or capital project you’d like your gift to support, it’s a great idea to let the organization know that. If there are any questions about whether the gift lines up to current, or future, priorities, those will come up now instead of decades down the road!

We’ve put together a handy template of an email you could send to the nonprofit organization(s) you’re including in your plan.

What to Expect From a Nonprofit You’ve Remembered

Every organization treats legacy donors differently. Organizations can, and should, consider celebrating and communicating with their legacy donors. As a donor who’s indicated that you’ll be remembering an organization through a bequest or planned gift, you may hear from the organization’s development team more regularly or be asked to be part of a legacy organization. Be sure to communicate your preferences, though! The ball is in your court. Just like you get to determine how or whether to inform a nonprofit about a planned gift, you get to decide how much you want to be recognized or how much you want to hear from the organization. You can change your gift at any time, too.


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