How saying No to a donor can end up in a legacy pledge

As a relationship manager special gifts, I speak to a lot of donors about including Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) in their last will. Not only do donors want to know what difference their gift will make in the lives of people that urgently need medical aid, victims of war and natural disasters. But donors also like to talk about their personal life, their personal situation, their values and beliefs.

In my experience, a conversation about legacies often leads to people sharing the story of their life with me. Conversations I really love. Spending an afternoon with a donor talking about their experiences in life and the choices they have made, also for including MSF in their will, are very dear to me and to MSF.

I feel free to discuss as much as possible with them. Sometimes problems need to be discussed and it happens that people ask me to tell them how they can make sure their annoying little cousin does not inherit. (more…)

Legacy Fundraising 101… Fresh from the IFC!

This is my first blog for 101fundraising and it was my first time at an IFC masterclass.

Since part of my job is developing legacy fundraising in new markets, Mitch Hinz, my boss, decided to put me in the legacy masterclass this year. The speakers were Stephen George and Allan Freeman.

In the masterclass, we discussed about things that seemed all logic and just common sense, but you never realized it until someone actually told you! At least that’s what happened to me. The masterclass for me was a complete legacy 101. (more…)

How to find your inner Richard Radcliffe!

People who have had the pleasure to listen to Richard Radcliffe’s inspiring and challenging presentations on legacy fundraising, may have had the same thought as I’ve had after meeting him: ‘How on earth can I get as experienced as he is and make legacy fundraising feel like a walk in the park?’

And specially when you have read in Sebastian Wilberforce’s ‘Legacy fundraising‘ that “Richard Radcliffe has more then 30 years experience in the charity sector….specializes in planning and running legacy focus groups….he has met more than 15.000 donors….”, legacy fundraisers with only a few  years of experience may start to feel a bit lost. And some of us, like me, may start to wonder how many lives we need to get even close to the experience Richard has in legacy fundraising. 

I think you can start by looking for that little piece of Richard Radcliffe in your inner self, the piece that makes him know how donors, volunteers, prospects, board members, colleagues and beneficiaries think about making their last will and including a charity in it. (more…)

Back to where it started: getting your leaders involved

While in the good old days the MT and board members brought in the big money, knew all of their major donors and took care of their needs, nowadays major donors are mostly the responsibility of a fundraiser. And often this job is just one of the things he or she is taking care of. Fundraisers are struggling between the ‘bulk’, and the personal attention one special donor needs and definitely deserves.

But this is slowly changing: more and more NGO’s start to expand their fundraising team with dedicated fundraisers, solely focusing on the needs of major donors and legacy plegders, increasing the group of (potential) major donors. Some of the biggest NGO’s in Holland even have a whole team responsible for gifts from major donors, sometimes with the help of a prospect researcher. Major donor working-groups are being born, master classes are being followed, books are being read, agencies specialized in major gift fundraising are founded. Fundraisers transform into ‘Relationship manager’, or ‘Special gift advisor’, strategic plans on increasing major gift income are written. But, when all this hard work is done, at the end it comes back to the one thing it all started with: getting your leaders involved in your major donor fundraising. Why? Because, no matter how dedicated and trustworthy the fundraiser may be, at the end (or should I say, at the beginning of your major gift cycle) your best prospects want to talk to your board members, your directors, your ambassadors. (more…)