Five Ways to Promote Bequest Gifts at (Almost) No Cost
4. Include photographs of those who helped, but also consider including photographs of the living family members of the person who provided the bequest. They usually will be pleased to be asked and they might become donors. If you've not received bequests that you know about, write an article about what bequest help can (or will) do, perhaps featuring a well-known person at your organization who can be quoted appealing directly for this kind of help.
5. In addition to the request for bequest help that will be everywhere, prepare a simple statement containing language to use that a donor can give to the person preparing his or her will.
Here's a bonus idea that you might want to consider implementing after a year of putting suggestions one through five in place. Do it now if you can, but many of us are initially so overwhelmed with other programs and activities that this kind of thing seems beyond what's possible.
6. Consider offering a free wills clinic twice a year. Members of your local planned-giving council will help you plan and conduct it. Visit www.ncpg.org to find your local council. Don't worry about how many people attend. If the result is just one bequest, all the time and energy will have been worth it.
With the exception of the last suggestion, all of these things can be done by any development professional right away, with almost no expense. The good news is that once your first bequest arrives, there will be a lot of interest and significant financial resources available to continue. It's getting started that usually stops us. But the rewards are so substantial that we need to begin. Now.
If you need an incentive, consider what will happen if a wealthy, high-status donor or board member dies, and your agency is not included in their estate plans.