Discovering the Secret Giver
They also noted that the majority of decisions regarding bequests are happening at a younger age than historically believed (younger than 50 years old). Once a nonprofit is included in a will, it is rarely dropped. Donors and potential donors strongly prefer to first learn about the charity through the mail. Five percent of Americans who do not have wills say they will probably make a bequest to a charity when they have a document in place. Americans aged 70 and older with wills in place are the least likely of any age group to add a nonprofit at some point in the future. So, we need to focus on a younger target market than typically believed.
Of the research compiled by the Stelter and Selzer companies, I was particularly interested in the secret bequest giver based on the experiences I have had in the past in bequest giving. Only a minority of those surveyed in the study have alerted any nonprofit about their giving intentions. They do not want to tell nonprofits about their bequests and do not intend to share information with them in the future.
These secret givers say the details of their wills are their own business and no one else needs to know. They worry that if they disclose bequest information they will be pestered with mailings, phone calls and pressure if they change their minds. Many also feel that they might begin to get special treatment and that would make them feel uncomfortable. Others feel the organization would sell their information to other charities.
What charities need to know is the main reason donors and prospects make bequests to charities relates to feeling good about giving, not the benefits or recognition that accompany the gift. Most of these bequests are not large in nature. The Salvation Army also received one bequest that totaled $1.24 this year!
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.