Honoring Memorial Gifts

Emily Sulzle | Assistant Director of Gift Planning

In fiscal year 2020, NCF received more than 1,200 gifts in memory of a loved one who had passed away. These gifts are among some of the most meaningful gifts a donor will ever make. It is of the utmost importance that memorial gift donors are stewarded well – from the gift being placed in the intended account, to the donor receiving thanks, and the family of the individual for whom the gift was given in memory of receiving notification that the gift was made. In order to do this, here is a brief outline of the NCF/affiliated fund process, the roles and responsibilities of both NCF and the fund advisory committee (FAC) regarding the memorial gift, and how to share the opportunity surrounding memorial gifts.

Process:

  • A gift is received, either via check or electronically. For all gifts over $35 received by NCF, if the gift was sent to NCF from the FAC, no further notification is sent to the FAC of the gift. If the gift comes directly to NCF from the donor or the donor’s financial institution, a “Contributions Received” email is sent from NCF’s accounting department to the primary contact on the FAC and the fund’s affiliated fund coordinator.
  • NCF sends a receipt to the donor acknowledging that the gift was designated as a memorial gift.
  • The affiliated fund thanks the donor and notifies the family of the gift.

Roles & Responsibilities:

  • As the fiduciary entity, NCF sends the tax receipt to the donor and notifies the fund of the gift (if they’re not already aware).
  • As the local presence with the strongest relationship to the family of the loved one the gift was given in memory of, the FAC should make sure they share with the family that gifts were given in memory of their loved one. The fund could call the family, send a letter with the memorial totals after a certain period of time has passed, or simply send a card.

Opportunity:

  • Memorials are a beautiful way to remember a loved one, and as the local donor hub for your community, your Fund will have many people interested in giving memorial gifts. Your FAC may want to share information on how families can request memorials be sent to your Fund or how donors may designate memorial gifts:
    • Many times, individuals suggest memorial contributions to specific organizations. Please note that gifts designated to an affiliated fund will be placed into the fund’s general account unless a specific account, such as the “Local Affiliated Fund’s Endowment Account” is named in either the obituary, directed by the family, or designated by the donor on the gift itself.
    • Funds do share language for memorial gifts with local professional advisors, funeral homes, and individuals. The right time to share the information for memorial gifts is before the information is needed! Some funds even share their brochures or other marketing materials with local advisors for this very reason.

Reach out to your Affiliated Fund Coordinator with questions or for more information!