Wisdom Wednesdays: Spring … When a Young Man’s Fancy Turns to … Wills & Bequests!

by Jon Dize

Spring … Rebirth … Renewal … Spring Forward … Looking Forward … Planning Ahead … Planned Giving …

Ok, maybe this is how my mind works, but Spring is an excellent time for you and your organization to consider wills, bequests and other planned giving efforts.  The snow is melting, the future looks bright (more sun in the sky, and we celebrate the death and life of a Son).

Dize-JonPlanned giving should be as much a part of any fundraising calendar as the year-end mailing, the scholarship brochure, the Endowment Report, etc.  Below is a FAQ primer to get your leadership thinking:

What exactly is “a planned giving effort?”
In short, all organizations should be looking to promote ways to identify, plan and execute wealth transfer options, including wills/bequests, charitable trusts, etc., to benefit the mission.  Some experts call them “life gifts”, where you identify and support what was important to in your life. 

Why should we have a planned giving effort?
If you do not ask, you will not get.  It truly is as simple as it sounds. 

When do we start a planned giving effort?
Yesterday.  Everyone can think of a time your organization received a gift from someone’s will at just the right time.  “Wonderful!  God is good!  What a salvation to our project that was!”  Well, someone did some work in the past to make the gift a reality now.  Time to get moving. 

Whom should we approach in our planned giving effort?
Everyone.  While common logic may indicate that you should focus on those who are “nearing the end of their time here on earth,” studies show that families create wills on average when they are in their late 40s.  Get in there now for the long haul. 

How about just focusing on the wealthy?
While this may be a good plan, as local Leave A Legacy efforts around the country tell us, “you do not have to be wealthy; you just have to be willing.”  Would you rather receive one bequest for $50,000, or 10 gifts of $5,000 each?  There are arguments for both.

All of these concepts can be summed very nicely by something a pastor recently told me: “I oversaw nearly a dozen funerals of long-term members last year.  Not one of them included the church in their will.  I guess we cannot just ‘assume’ it will happen anymore.”

Spring into action, everyone!

Jon Dize, CFRM, serves as the Director of Development for The Lutheran Schools Partnership in Fort Wayne, Ind.  He is also president of the Indiana-Michigan Chapter ALDE. LinkedIn Twitter: JonDize17



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