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Boost your planned giving program with a legacy society

By February 3, 2015July 6th, 2022Steier Tips

A legacy society is an effective planned giving program that thanks your current planned giving donors and creates a vehicle to cultivate and encourage new donors. A legacy society also allows you to deepen your relationship with existing donors, which could lead to new gifts or plant the seeds for larger gifts in the future.

Before you introduce a legacy society, designate a special name that is meaningful to your organization. Considering naming the society after your founder or an important figure in your organization’s history.

Once you have a name in place, it’s time to recruit members. Have the leader of your organization draft a personal letter of invitation to your most loyal donors. You can also send a targeted mailing to donors age 55 and older. Along with the letter, draft a simple questionnaire that asks your donors to self-identify whether they have remembered your organization in their will or living trust, named you as a beneficiary of a life-insurance policy, 401(k) or IRA, or created a charitable trust or gift annuity that names you as a beneficiary. Enclose a reply envelope and ask them to return the questionnaire to your leader. We do not recommend you set a minimum dollar amount to join your legacy society or require substantiation of a gift.

A capital campaign is another great time to either begin a legacy society or boost membership. During a Steier Group campaign planning study interview, participants are always asked whether or not they have remembered the organization in their will. It’s a fitting time to talk about planned giving and can lead to the discovery of large, future estate gifts.

Starting a legacy society is worth your time and energy. It will lead not only to lasting friendships but also long-lasting support for your organization.

Interested in learning more about ways to recognize and thank members of your legacy society? Contact us today.