Raybin — A Marts & Lundy Company

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Requesting a Bequest

Charitable bequests for 2008 are estimated to be $22.66 billion. That’s 7% of total charitable giving for the year. Not an insignificant figure.

Giving USA reports that wills are most often made when an individual is in his/her mid-late 40’s. That’s considerably younger than we used to think. And, 34% of those who make a charitable bequest are motivated by materials they have received from a charity. The numbers show that the donor pool is there; the opportunity is in the hands of the organization to educate, communicate, simplify. So, it’s up to us to do our marketing.

But, there’s another route too, in addition to attractive materials. It is, not surprisingly, the personal ask. Most of us are reluctant to personally ask for a bequest. It seems so awkward to raise this subject. So, we hide behind the attractive materials.

But, if you’re in a campaign, the opportunity is ready-made. Incorporate the request for a bequest into the ask for the campaign gift. “Could you consider an outright gift of $500,000 for this campaign AND a bequest in your will to strengthen the endowment?”

In a recent campaign, our client did just that, because the Chair insisted. The response was 100%! It was a natural ask for the solicitors; and it was well-received by the prospects. While the bequest intentions were not counted in the campaign goal, the individuals were recognized, a Bequest Society was born, and, over time, their gifts will build the endowment.

Some of these donors were in their late 40’s-early 50’s. They hadn’t thought about a bequest before. But the seed was planted – and germinated. Even the original skeptics on that campaign committee were converted. Try it!