Quick Tips — Bequest Asks

While attending this year’s Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference in Baltimore, I sat in on an interesting session by Stephen Pidgeon about getting bequest asks right.

Since I enjoyed the session so much, I want to share a few quick tips that I learned from Stephen:

  • When asking donors and prospects to consider making a bequest to your organization, acknowledge the importance of family and friends, as this demonstrates your respect for the donors’ relationships outside of your organization and can lead you into an easy ask for a residuary bequest (leaving whatever is left after they have taken care of loved ones to your organization).
  • Providing social information about recently made (or confirmed) bequest intentions in your ask can triple the number of people who consider and make their own bequest.
  • Organizations should be asking donors and prospects to consider bequests in all modes of communication other than the telephone (e.g. personal letter, supporter newsletter, inserts/ads, events, website, etc.).
  • Asks should be made by: a beneficiary of the organization’s work, a senior trustee who has made a bequest of his/her own, or another supporter who has made his/her own bequest.

I hope that you find these points interesting and that they will influence how your organization is pursuing its legacy giving goals, as I will be integrating these into my efforts for our next fiscal year.

For more from Stephen, check out his book Love Your Donors to Death.

Have any thoughts or specific responses to these ideas? Share them in the comments.


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