The Nebraska Community Foundation works with community, organizational and donor-advised affiliated funds serving 250 communities located in 80 counties. NCF and its affiliated funds have reinvested $269 million in Nebraska since 1994.
A survey of Nebraskans proves that you are very generous people. More than 85% of Nebraskans report making charitable gifts during their lifetimes. However, when asked, “Have you included your favorite charitable organization in your estate plans” only 4% of Nebraskans said yes.
The good news from this survey is that more than 70% of Nebraskans said that if they were educated, motivated and asked to include a gift in their estate plan to benefit their favorite charity they would be willing to consider doing so.
This is a great opportunity for your affiliated fund and the reason why planned giving donor education events are critical. Your friends, neighbors and family want information on ways to make charitable gifts in their estate plans, they want to be shown how their gifts will make a difference and they want to be asked to take action to implement a plan that makes sense to them.
A series of well-conceived and executed planned giving donor events will allow your affiliated fund to help people benefit the fund with gifts in their estate plans.
As the survey points out, donor education events on planned giving are an important part of your affiliated fund’s overall development program. Before you start holding these events, however, your affiliated fund should have developed recognition and momentum in the community. For example, once your affiliated fund has successfully completed a challenge grant to build an endowment, raised funds for a specific project or implemented an annual giving program, then it’s time to build on those successes by inviting donors to learn about the ways they can further their support with a planned gift through planned giving donor education events. Having a track record of making grants that make a difference in your community is also important to give your affiliated fund credibility and visibility.
The two kinds of donor events NCF recommend to our affiliated funds are Gathering Events and Legacy Dinners.
A Gathering Event introduces the various planned giving methods. It may be the first step in helping people think about making a planned gift to benefit your affiliated fund. It is a casual, social event typically held in someone’s home.
During a Gathering Event, someone from your Fund Advisory Committee provides information about your affiliated fund including plans for the future. A donor makes a personal testimonial to encourage the attendees to consider what they may be able to do to benefit the fund. An NCF staff person gives a brief overview about various planned giving tools and attendees have the opportunity to ask questions. No actual gift solicitation happens during the event.
A Legacy Dinner is a “thank you” to donors with a history of giving to your affiliated fund and an educational event about the most popular planned giving methods. It is for existing donors who are prime prospects to consider a planned gift and a step in providing more detailed information about the various planned giving tools to these people. A Legacy Dinner is an opportunity to engage local professional advisors by inviting them to attend and bring a client who may be a top planned giving prospect.
A Legacy Dinner is a more formal event than a Gathering Event. It is typically a sit-down dinner held at a local restaurant or club and includes a nice meal. The meal is provided by the affiliated fund at no cost to the attendees.
During a Legacy Dinner, one of your Fund Advisory Committee leaders gives an update on affiliated fund activities including plans for the future A donor makes a personal testimonial to encourage the attendees to consider what they may be able to do to benefit the fund. An NCF staff member makes an entertaining presentation that provides attendees with a fun, hands-on experience of what it is like to make a planned gift. This presentation features actual donor stories and reviews the use and application of the most popular planned giving methods. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. No actual gift solicitation happens during the event.
The keys to success for both Gathering Events and Legacy Dinners are personal invitations and personal follow-up. Successful events take planning and preparation, so call your NCF development staff contact right away if you are thinking about holding one of these events.
Download a copy of the How-To Manual for Gathering Events and Legacy Dinners.
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