Do you want to reveal legacy prospects in your donor file but you just aren’t sure how to start? By sharing a true case study of how her program went from zero to 43 confirmed expected bequests in just eight months Kimberley will provide you with some concrete actions you can take today to boost your Planned Giving program.
You will leave this session with a workplan and all the information you need to convince your peers that starting a bequest program is inexpensive, easy to fit within current priorities and a very good investment of your time.
You will walk away from this session with:
- A clear action plan for your planned giving program
- More confidence to help start the legacy conversation with donors
- Understanding of how to integrate planned giving into your organization
Additional materials for Shaking the Tree: Five ways to jumpstart your legacy program
Download the audio here: Shaking the Money Tree (MP3)
Download the slides here: Shaking the Money Tree (PDF)
The powerful events called the "Donor Motivation Program" Kimberely mentions are at: http://www.donormotivation.com/
Some links about the trillion dollar wealth transfer are:
Transcript of Shaking the Tree: Five ways to jumpstart your legacy program
Marc: Welcome to the second NPA Presents of this month. I'm so thrilled to have you here. We have a really packed and practical webinar ahead of us with Kimberley MacKenzie.
Before we get into how she created an amazing legacy program, I'd like to just remind you if you're on live you have the GoToWebinar control panel. If you have questions, you can use the questions feature or the chat. I'll be monitoring both of those. We want this to be as practical for you as possible. When she does this in the full-day format, and people leave with a plan. Whatever questions you brought here we want to make sure that they are addressed as well as we can. Please use the questions, use the chat, or tweet with the hashtag that you see on your screen, #NPAPresents.
My guest today is Kimberley MacKenzie. What was really interesting as we were preparing for this webinar is that I feel like I've interacted with Kimberley for years because of social media. We had never, I don't think, spoken on the phone, until today. Is that right?
Kimberley: That's right, Marc.
Marc: That's so crazy.
Kimberley: We're like old friends already.
Marc: We're best buds already, yeah. Part of it, in all truth, is the power of social media. It's really exciting how you can develop some level of relationship over the years and over time. I first remember becoming aware of Kimberley. She was working with SOFII, the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation, and Inspiration, which is www.SOFII.org.
I recommend that to many of my coaching clients. If you want to see real case studies of things that have worked, that is a great place to go. If you just need to figure out how to move at some fundraising program further, Ken Burnett and his team has created an incredible showcase of real life examples, not just ideas.
What I love about Kimberley is that she brings a global perspective. She's spoken around the world. She was telling she's been in Nepal and in India. She also spoke at the International Fundraising Congress in Holland. She's in Toronto, so she adds that perspective that is just important to many of our members who are not living in the United States. For the United States folks we get a little egocentric, we just don't even know it. Kimberley's going to help temper that with this class.
What I'm more excited about is that she's been doing fundraising for over 15 years. She's just started consulting recently. In both her consulting and in her whole fundraising career, she's got this ability to go in, ask the right questions of a fundraising program and just transform them. She said that every time she's gone in and done her transformation of a philanthropy or fundraising program, the growth is double digits from then on. It's never small. It's always big numbers.
That's just a gift that she has and that's one of the benefits of having an overview of all sorts of different areas. It's nice to have a niche consultant at times, but a lot of the time, it's important to have someone who can see the big picture. She's also the editor for Canada's longest running e-newsletter. It's Charity Info, right?
Kimberley: Yes, CharityInfo.ca.
Marc: For Charity eNEWS. I'm totally taking up a lot of your time and I'm sorry for that. I'm just thrilled.
Kimberley: No, you just keep on talking.
Marc: I am thrilled to have Kimberley here. I'm going to be taking notes because fundraising legacy and bequest programs are so incredibly important for our organizations. When I was a one-person shop, I was just making it up as I went along, and I didn't have the success that Kimberley had. I'm looking forward to figuring out how to get that fixed. Kimberley, take it away.
Kimberley: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much for having me today. I'm thrilled to be able to present this webinar from my quiet, little home office just north of Toronto, Ontario, here in Canada. I'm happy to let you all know that the snow has finally melted, and we are safe to go out in the garden.
The webinar thing is kind of a cool thing. I may never put on a pair of Spanx again. This is just awesome. If we have any female attendees out there, they know what I'm talking about.
Marc: Oh, there are.
Kimberley: Let's get started. Today we're here to talk about shaking the tree. This workshop is something that I created, and as Marc mentioned, it can go in any form. We're going to try to throw it all into one hour today, which I think we'll be able to do, but we can also expand it to a full day and then leave you with an action plan. It's very nimble.
I encourage you, as we go along, I'm going to ask Marc to check in for questions. If you have questions, please just make sure that you raise your hand and we will try to make this as much of a dialog as we possibly can.
The reason I like this image of apple trees falling is not because we're going to grab the almost rotten low-lying fruit, but because I think that when we're talking about planned giving programs, the planned giving program is unlike any other program in your organization's portfolio.
It's fundamentally important to the future of your organization, and I see it like apples on a tree. An apple tree isn't going to bear fruit the first year and it may not bear fruit the second year. It's going to take time, effort, nurturing, and fertilization so that you can bear the big fruit. We know that we're going to be having a trillion-dollar wealth transfer in the next 10 to 15 years. This is the channel that has the most potential for growth for your organization.
It's one that many fundraisers have a difficult time moving forward because it's often, if you're in a small to mid-sized organization, delivered off of the corner of a desk. There's usually pressure to deliver your annual budget and there's very little time or foresight to think about 10, 15, 20 years down the road.
We're going to talk a little bit about how the things that I did to create a planned giving program in a smaller organization, and an actual case study of what those results were. Let's first just to try to define what planned giving is for us.
This little Wiki definition is very wordy. I promise you this is the worst slide in the whole deck, and it's actually probably not even worth reading. What I want you to think about when you think about planned giving is over 85% of the planned gifts given to charities is in the form of a simple bequest in a will.
It's very rare to get a six- or seven-figure bequest. If you start having conversations with your donors about their will and their estate plans, you're more likely to get maybe a $10,000 or $20,000 donation or bequest out of anyone's legacy, and the average value of estates is about $1 million to $2 million.
The beautiful thing about these conversations, and this is what a lot of donors misunderstand, is you do not have to have extraordinary wealth to include a charity in your will.
What I want to do is reframe, for many of the fundraisers out there, a couple of things. I'd like you to think about bequests. There is no need to know the ins and outs of charitable remainder trusts, gift annuities, or second-to-die life insurance policies.
What I think fundraisers ought to do is find other people who know that stuff. We're going to focus on starting conversations with your donors, having authentic, real, emotional relationships with them, and earning a place in their last will and testament.
If you were all sitting in front of me today I'd say, "Does that sound like a good idea?" Marc, does that sound like a good idea?
Marc: I could do that.
Kimberley: This next slide, if you were to start a planned giving program, and you were to ask one of the charitable lawyers up here in Canada who's quite famous, this is his list of what you ought to be doing before you even start. You need to get your board's approval. Find out what your legal name is. Have appropriate due diligence. Create a gift acceptance policy. Create a brochure, marketable securities. I'm going to tell you I don't even know what that is. I think it means being able to accept of securities.
Create a planned giving society. You need another board committee. Figure out who has responsibility. That is kind of important. Establish a budget. Figure out how you're going to administer the requests. Get some training. Find your professional advisors. Track expectancies, marketing, respond, ramping up.
Those are all important things to do, but any fundraiser who works in a small organization knows firsthand that there's the ideal of how fundraising happens over here, and then there's this whole messy bit over here and somehow at the end of the year, you come out of it delivering or exceeding your budget. Fundraising never happens the way the books tell us it should. In any case, that's my experience. Maybe I'm not very good at it. I don't know.
This is what I did. Yes, I did get internal support. It's very simple. I got internal support. We'll talk about how to do that. I started having conversations with donors, so I stopped being fearful of the conversation and started to prepare myself for how to go about it. I provided donors with motivation.
Marc, I think when we were talking you mentioned that 70% of the people in the U.S. don't actually have a will.
Marc: It's called dying intestate. They die without a will.
Kimberley: We can serve the world by just helping our donors realize that they can give money to charity and at the end of the day less money will go to the government, and more money will actually go to their children.
Marc: It's that old thing of you can tell donors they're going to be a philanthropist either way when you pass away. Would you like to direct where it goes now or do you trust the government to direct if for you after?
Kimberley: Do you want your value to live on or no?
Kimberley: We'll talk a little bit about that. I think it's really important, particularly as your donors age, to engage with them in more meaningful ways. I think that what makes a fundraiser really successful, particularly in major and planned gifts, are those soft skills, and we'll talk a little bit about what those soft skills are, and then JFDI, just do it. Get out there and just get started.
These are the results of my case study. We had a successful revitalization of the Legacy Program. In three years we confirmed or secured over 69 legators, and we did that in a number of ways. Up here, look at the average gift. We looked at our track record from many years back and said, "We're expecting our average gift to be about $50,000 per bequest, which is a result of $3.4 million in expectancies." That's a significant future for the organization.
Over $3.5 million was pledged from five individuals, including my first million-dollar gift ever, and that was an amazing thing. I just showed up to a couple of retired schoolteachers for a cup of tea one day and walked out with a million-dollar pledge, and that was a great day to be a fundraiser. I'm not going to lie.
Basically, legacy giving became part of everything that we did. Every single channel and communication has a touch point for starting conversations about legacies, and this is what I mean when I say, "Create a climate of yes." We'll talk about creating a culture where your donors know who it is that they will be calling, where they feel like they trust, and feel like their end-of-life plans are safe with you.
I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself. That's the actual graph that went to the board before I left the organization, so this was included in the board report, and I didn't do it, the director of finance did.
Marc: Oh, better.
Kimberley: Oh, it's true. I didn't make that up or manipulate to tell the story I wanted to tell.
Marc: That's awesome.
Kimberley: John came up with it.
Let's just talk about the why. I touched on it a little bit. It's really hard to think long term when most organizations are struggling to deliver their budgets. You really do need a champion within the organization who absolutely knows that this has to be a priority.
What I did to get internal support was we needed to get the board to understand how important a planned giving program was, and that's often the biggest, most challenging, and difficult hurdle for directors of fundraising. Instead of thinking about the board, if you could just think about your executive director, just your boss, the president, the CEO, or the executive director, they are the ones who report to the board. Getting the board onside is their job.
As the director of development, in anything that we do, the trick is to have a good working relationship with your executive director. If you can get her or him onboard, you have a much better chance of moving forward with your board of directors together.
We both agreed that it was an important thing to do and then we knew that neither one of us could carry the message forward. I actually brought in a consultant, who did it for me as a favor because he was also a donor to the organization. His name is David Love.
I don't know if any of you know David, but he's been around for about 45 years, and really a true gift. Sometimes you meet those fundraisers in the world who are a gift, and you know it is as soon as you meet them, and David certainly was one.
David came in and presented to our board and, of course, they listened to him because he wasn't staff. It's just such an odd situation. We go through these exhaustive hiring processes and then you have to actually hire a consultant to achieve what you would need.
Marc: It's so backwards.
Kimberley: It's totally backwards, but it works out for us, I've got to say.
Marc: Yes, it does.
Kimberley: Anyway, sometimes you need someone else to bring the message forward to the board, and hit them over the head with a hammer. In that board meeting, I remember very clearly telling our board of directors at the time, "If you think our job will be done in the next 10 years, then doing nothing is an option. You'll all be finished with your service on the board. You won't need to realize the result of this decision.
"If you think that we still need to be moving forward with our mission, and that there will still be work to be done in the world, and if you think we'll still be relevant and important in 15, 20 years, then we need to start a planned giving program now."
Then the question is, "How do we do it? We don't have the budget." You can start small. I'm talking about this one now. Suggest an investment from a current bequest revenue, if you have one, and/or do it moving forward, or take $5,000. It really doesn't cost that much money to do what I'm going to share with you in a minute.
Just try to get your board to think about instead of bequest revenue going into an endowment fund and getting tucked away, take a small percentage of that, depending on what your revenue is, and reinvest it into the planned giving program.
If you can start doing that, I know it's hard, but sometimes it's like buying your first house. Once you've got your first house, then it's easier to get your second house. That's one way to budget for a planned giving program.
Present a plan that will have minimal impact on operations. This really was interwoven throughout everything else. We just thought about everything else a little bit differently and asked ourselves, "Can we talk about legacies here? Does that make sense?"
Involve board members in the program, and I am not talking about another board committee. I think they should all be banished. What I'm talking about is one-on-one involving people. In the Board Development Workshop we talk about it a little bit more.
As the Director of Development, it's your job to figure out which board members will be most useful to you. There may be board members who get it. They've left a legacy or if they have grey hair or they have a nice, sensitive, kind demeanor. It's cherry picking the people who you think make sense to be involved in this program.
At this point, this slide will be available to you later and if you'd like to do it now you can just pause the webinar and come back to us..
Marc: Just for the technical record, you can only do that if you're listening to this as a recording. Sorry.
Kimberley: Sorry. Forget that.
What I want you to do at some point, because this is how you're going to get value for this hour, is to think, "What do you need to do? What is your climate in your organization? What do you need to do to get your board to agree that a planned giving program is part of your time, and that your organization is worthy of a small piece of the pie of that trillion-dollar wealth transfer?"
Once you identify your barriers, it'll be lot easier for you to come up with your plan to overcome them. With every point, that's what we're going to do. We're going to take a moment to pause and get you to think about, "What do you need to do? Where is your organization at and how can you overcome some of those?"
Marc: First of all, it would be identifying the barriers and those could be people or situation. Is that right?
Marc: Then developing ways to overcome.
Kimberley: Yes, and then say, "Who do I need to talk to? Who's the most resistant? How do I get them on board?" Start advancing that. Everybody needs to be onside for a planned giving program. You cannot be a Lone Ranger on this one.
Marc: How do you get people that don't get planned giving excited about the long-term legacy? We're so used to the stock market where you have to make the next quarter or we have to make the annual year. It's the odd thing about planned giving, but we hope our donors don't mature, that the gifts don't mature. You're not looking for people to die.
Kimberley: It's okay to laugh about death and we'll talk a little bit about that.
Marc: Oh, you have to.
Kimberley: It's a part of nature's lifecycle.
How do you get them excited about the future possibilities? We just talked about the trillion-dollar wealth transfer. We talked about these aging Baby Boomers. We educated them about what's going to happen with that money and we talk about other people who leave bequests. They're in the paper all the time.
The millionaire next door who's sitting there, the tiny house where the schoolteacher lives and she's been squirreling away her money for her whole life, and she gives 20, 30, sometimes 50 small donations to organizations that she believes in. When she dies she'll leave a seven-figure bequest to probably three charities.
Educate the board about how that actually happens. Also, there's a lot of information on the internet. I avoided those slides on purpose, but we could certainly look into them. You do look at the economics around planned giving, and what financial forecasters are anticipating. I think it is really around $46 trillion in the next 30 years will be transferred, and part of those transfers will include bequests to charities.
Let's move on. That's number one, to get folks onside. The second one is to start a conversation, and that's going to happen in a number of ways.
This is where we start to get into some really nice design work. I worked with John Lepp and Jen Love with Agents of Good. Actually I worked with John before he was an Agent of Good and I have to really give him a bit of a shout out here. He is the very best designer in our sector. John's helped me raise a lot of money, so that's what I think.
Anyway, he and Jen convinced me to put my photograph on our planned giving ads. I gave them a lot of resistance on this and said, "No. It's not about me. It's not about my ego. I'm just a facilitator of philanthropy. It's all about the CEO, the chair of the board, and the donor."
They really helped me see that if you're going to phoning somebody for a confidential discussion about your legacy options, if you're going to be making a phone call to say, "Hey, I want to talk to you about my death," then it's really smart to put a picture there, to have somebody nice, friendly, warm to say, "Here I am." It's very donor-centric, to say, "Here I am. You're invited to connect with me, and we'll work through your plans together."
This can go in a newsletter. You can create a little buck slip. I did that. If anybody would like a copy of the buck slip I recently did for a client, I'd be happy to send it to you.
Marc: Just for everybody listening what's a buck slip?
Kimberley: A buck slip is pretty jargony. It's just a little, tiny, 3x8 slip that goes in with the tax receipt for information. You just have a little, subtle legacy piece that people pop in an envelope with their tax receipts.
It's about repetition. You can't force this conversation. It's about being in front of donors all the time saying, "I'm here to talk when you're ready," and then they'll come and talk to you when they're ready. It has to be on their time. It's very passive marketing.
This was in our magazine. You could put in your newsletter. You can pop a little piece of information in with your tax receipts to say, "When you're ready to have the conversation about your legacy I would like you to consider us. Give me a call."
That just happened, and it just went out and was part of our everyday operations. This was the big thing that I think really jumpstarted the program, and, again, the Agents of Good did this for me. They designed a beautiful little invitation package. Now we're taking a direct mail approach here. We're talking about legacies in the mail.
We pulled our data and found 4,275 people that we felt were good prospects to start a conversation with about legacy giving. The exact criteria for pulling that data, I don't recall, but I know that we're looking at history, longevity, how long has that donor been with the organization, monthly donors, people who gave multiple times per year, demonstrated loyalty.
The fundraising pyramid has it a little bit backwards. I should throw a pyramid slide in here at some point. Anyway, try to imagine the classic fundraising pyramid where you've got the events in the wide band at the bottom and there's attrition as you move donors through the cycle. You end up with a very tiny amount of people who give a bequest or include you in their planned giving program, and usually that comes after they've made a major gift.
That's not how this works. These donors come from people who have a long history, a habit of giving to your organization. With Ontario Nature where I was, that organization has been around for a long time, I think almost 40 years. We went really far back into our database to find those people who supported us at the very beginning.
Then this is what we asked them. We sent them a letter with a survey and we didn't start with a boring solicitation. We asked them the question, "When was the last time nature took your breath away?"
This is about connecting them to the mission. The whole approach is very much like what I learned from Ken Burnett, who I think did a webinar for you a while back, Marc. I learned in the very beginning of my fundraising career that money is simply a means to an end. Money is just the transaction. What you're really doing is connecting people to the cause.
When you talk about legacies and what they want to accomplish in their estate plans, you don't want to talk about, "Leave a bequest to our organization because we're awesome." You want to talk to them about the mission. Get them passionate, caring, and thinking about why they're a part of your community.
This letter really just talks about the mission and the history of the organization and letting people know that this organization not only has a long track record and history as dependable and trustworthy, but also there's hope for the future. Start talking about what you see in the future 10 to 20 years from now.
Here it says, "In 10, 20, even 50 years, we'll still act for nature." What that says to somebody who's entering the last phase of their life is, "We'll still do what you care about. We'll do this on your behalf. Think about that. Your legacy can live on."
People think that planned giving is about dying. It's not. It's about living after you're dead. It's about your values carrying on after you've passed on. This is also an important paragraph here. It says, "Making a legacy gift is a personal decision. Of course, you want to look after your family first." We know that that is their primary concern. The first thing that donors do is look around at their family and make sure everybody's cared for.
Just admit that to them. Say, "We know you want to take care of your family, but after those commitments are made you can leave a gift to nature. You can leave a gift to help animals," or whatever the charity is.
Marc: I find that line is so important in letting down people's guard and protecting their relationship with kids. Depending on the age of the donor when you start talking to families, they have heard that charities will come in and try to steal it all, and then long-term care centers often require your entire estate to go to them. It feels like everybody's looking for your parent's money and it's, "What about me?" It's after the kids are taken care of and whatever's left, if any. That's really great.
Kimberley: We've got so much work to do to advance the charitable sector and the reputation of fundraisers around the world. This area is where I'm talking about the soft skills.
I'm going to start to move a little quicker. I was a little bit worried that we might move too quickly through this, but there's so much to say. These slides are going to be available to you later.
Don't tell donors how to make a bequest. They know. They have a financial advisor. Tell them why they should be making a bequest to your organization. Does that make sense? So many charities say, "This is how and these are the kinds of gifts you can make." Talk about leaving a gift in their will and why your organization is the one that deserves it. Then find other people, other advisors from the private sector that you can refer out to or encourage them to always speak to their financial advisor.
Finally, with the letter, the last thing is, again, we're going to end it with warm, shared values. This is the important part. Simple, simple, simple survey. You're asking for four things, "Have you already left a will? Do you intend to leave a will? Do you want to talk to me about your will? Would you like more information? Are you not interested at this time?"
That's really important. If you say, "I'm not interested," then you can never talk to them about this again. Maybe they're just not ready. You want to make sure that you put "at this time."
Then ask them about their interests. What are their values? What do they care about? How old are they? That's a really bold one, I know, but it's a pretty innocuous survey already. It's very gentle, and they're already so passionate about the mission that it's okay to be a little bit bold.
This was really risky. Starting a conversation about bequests can be uncomfortable, which is why you need full board support before you start doing it.
This is what happened. I had these quotes. Here are a few, "Well, certainly not after receiving this intrusive and insensitive material. Please do not send me anymore ambulance chaser messages. Is this sent to elderly who will/should die soon?" Oh, this is my favorite, "Was this message crafted by a professional fundraiser?"
Marc: Not those. Oh, man.
Kimberley: I know. Heaven forbid.
You know if people are complaining, they're engaged. You say it in direct mail all the time. Complaints are great. It means they care. Well, these are results. Of the surveys that we sent out, we had a 9.16 response rate, meaning 392 surveys were sent back. Those were the only four complaints. We received enough donations to cover the costs. Twenty eight people asked for more information. There are my 30 confirmed legators. Yes, I have. Yes, I will.
Marc: From that one survey?
Kimberley: Yes. Twenty nine said, "We want to talk about this." That letter really worked. Again, a shout out for my Agents of Good for their support, and for teaching me how this works, because it absolutely was transformative.
Now the conversation has started. We know. We've got a program. I can't do the math. There are almost 90 people there who are part of my planned giving program.
I want you to take a moment at some point today, or in the middle of the night when you're still thinking about this awesome webinar, about how you're going to start a conversation with your donors. Where can you put advertisements? Can you put a little slip in tax receipts? Do you have budget or investments that you can draw on to do a very and small survey?
Marc: Something that I did at a pro boarding school when we were trying to pull ours together was we wanted to name it after a long-time, beloved faculty member, so we did. We called it the PC Club. Pierson Curtis was a great guy at the boarding school and everybody knew him, especially the people that would be making the bequests.
I think we shaped it in the frame of people have been leaving bequests to us anyway and we want to formalize this by organizing it some, and thanking them while we have a chance to because we can't them after the bequest comes in.
We had conversations with people and it was really good that that's how we started it, because they said, "Well, I love what you're trying to do, and PC definitely this is great, but the name stinks." We said, "What?" He said, "PC was just not a club guy. He was a camper. He was an egalitarian. He wasn't into this exclusive club mentality." We ended up calling it the Pierson Curtis Circle.
Kimberley: That's much nicer.
Marc: That was all it needed, and it made it much more inclusive and feeling even better to talk about. You're not entering a club upon your death. You're entering a circle. It was all premarketing work, and it helped make our program stronger too.
Kimberley: Absolutely. I'm actually not going to talk about this one too much because I want to get to some of the other pieces, but, folks, you can Google Donor Motivation Program. It's a fabulous event program. Again, after convincing the board, we drew on some reserves and made an investment in planned giving. We actually hired Keith Thomson to come and do a Donor Motivation Program.
These events are different than financial service offerings to your donors. They're truly donor-centered. There is absolutely no solicitation. It engages the board in reaching out and getting people to come. There's a lot of different touch points with it, and the whole presentation is shaped around providing your donors with reassurance that, "Yes, you can make your financial plans to ensure that you have enough money to live on. You can leave the bulk of your estate to your children. You can reduce your taxes and you can extend your values beyond your lifetime."
It was another way of offering to engage and talk to people. What it did was it provided an event where people came, and you had to have several because different people come to different ones. I think we had four of them in a 16-month period or something. Again, they sign a piece of paper saying, "Yes, I would like to talk to the financial planner," or, "Yes, I would like to talk to Kimberley."
That's where I had people take me aside in front of the cheese buffet and say, "I left a half a million dollars to you in my estate plans." We wouldn't know that otherwise because most of the time you don't.
Marc: Most of the ones that I've heard of have been boring financial advisors. This sounds much different.
Kimberley: This is totally different. This really speaks to and addresses the primary needs of the individuals, like they're not going to have enough money, that their kids won't have money, and that they're going to make some tough decisions about their charities.
Marc: I'm adding that link into the resources in the slides for everybody that wants to see it in the vault, so you'll find a link to that program.
Kimberley: Cool. You have that kind of power to just change my slides, Marc?
Marc: No, but I can add it to the page below your slides.
Kimberley: Oh, okay. I was giving the whole thing over to you now. How about that? I'm happy to do so.
Let's talk about the really emotional stuff. This was something we did. Remember now we've gotten the organization onside to start talking about legacies. We've found some prospects for legacies through the survey. We now know who we're talking to. We're continuing to have messaging about legacies in our other publications so that at any time, when any of the donors are ready to have the conversation, they know we're available.
Now we need to steward. Stewardship, as Penelope Burk says, is the profit center for the charity. It's about how people feel when they interact with or see your logo. We want them to feel good and positive because most wills are changed shortly before death.
Once you are in somebody's estate plans, the job then becomes to keep them there. You need to build stewardship programs for your legacy donors, as you were talking about with the Circle. With this environmental organization it was full of naturalists, not naturists, who enjoy getting outside and being in nature.
I think I was following up on the Donor Motivation Program, maybe making some phone calls to see if people would come out. As I was phoning, I would talk to donors and they would say, "Oh, I just can't go to those events anymore because I can't hear when I'm there," or, "I don't drive, but I used to love to go on the canoe trips," and those kinds of things. I realized that what we needed to do was have something that made sense for our older donors, so I needed to understand what some of the barriers were.
I asked Phoebe Cleverly, who was, at the time, in her early 80s and she was still leading nature hikes, to write an intimate letter to those people. Again, very donor-centered. She's 83 years old. She still enjoys walks and connecting with nature, but she doesn't do it as much. Her outings have changed somewhat. She's acknowledging that life slows down and it's quiet, but sometimes even more enjoyable. We can already help our donors identify with, "I can't do what I used to do."
We invited them to a very simple walk that was intended for people who may not feel confident going outside hiking on their own anymore. We made sure there was a one-to-one ratio so that everybody had a younger companion to walk with, should they want an arm or company.
I don't know if it's in the letter. It might have been when they are RSVP'd, but we mentioned somewhere that we would have toilets available. Think about it. If you're a senior and you have mobility issues or you have incontinence issues, it's about providing an event that they can participate in with their dignity intact.
It's a very respectful communication. It came from a peer. It didn't come from me, and it connects them, again, with the mission. Of course, at the end of every letter, because we sent this letter out to a lot of people who didn't come, it says, "Every gift in every will makes a difference, no matter how large or small."
I learned from Richard Radcliffe, who's a planned giving consultant over in the UK, where all those famous consultants are, he said years ago, "Put that on the back of your business card. People think they need to be rich to leave a gift in their wills."
I actually did put that on the back of my business card. Just say, "You're invited to connect at any time, when you're ready."
These are just some pictures of us out on our hike with our folks. There's Phoebe right at the very front, and we had a lot of volunteers and board members. When you think about working in a charity, this was absolutely a feel-good day. We had people who came out from nursing homes to go outside and connect with nature.
What this does is it really helps them know that our seniors are important, valuable, respected, and not just there to keep making donations to us. Finding a way to engage some of your senior donors is fundamentally important. On that note we had a little picnic. It wasn't expensive at all. I made it myself.
Something else that young folks, like I used to be, don't think about anymore are some of the issues that the seniors deal with. I had soft food that is easily digested. It's really important. We had tuna sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, bananas, not apples, date squares, and juice boxes. It's super simple. Everybody loved the picnic, and it was done in a respectful way and everybody had just an absolutely fabulous time.
Marc: In his storytelling seminar Ken Burnett said, "Don't yell at my mother," because when they get to an older point, the direct mail program said, "Why aren't you giving to us anymore?" They were ramping up their volume. This is great. This is a perfect antidote to that. It's, "We totally get where you are and we're not going to say you're old and frail, but we're going to make it approachable."
Kimberley: It's accessible.
Marc: We'll do what you like. How cool.
Kimberley: It's an accessible way for you to connect with your mission. The other thing that we did with these folks, now that we knew who we were talking to, was that we realized that we did have some donors. The program had been stale for many years. We had actually received bequests, but we had done absolutely nothing to honor those bequests. Now everybody plants a tree and that's nice. We're planting trees in people's names.
We invited all of the people who said they wanted to have conversations about their legacy to come and help us honor those who had passed before them. This turned into another cultivation event, and we planted a tree. We read the names out loud. We had a quiet moment of silence for those who had passed before, who loved nature. It was a stewardship, a cultivation event, again.
The beautiful thing about this event was that it demonstrated that their gift was safe with us, that we would safeguard their legacy. I haven't heard of any other charities that did that.
The other thing is that with seniors, and an environmental organization, and tree planting, it's a little bit physically overwhelming. We removed those barriers by getting the local wealth management company involved. We had some ringers who would do the heavy lifting, and then we could just help our seniors' plant trees. Like I said, it helped demonstrate to them that their legacy was actually in good hands.
It's easy to sit back and say, "Oh, but that's an environmental organization. It's so easy for you, you've got trees and nature."
Marc: Everybody says about everybody else's causes, "Oh, it's easy for you because you have kids. No, it's easy for you because you have animals. No, it's easy for you because you're international. No, it's easy for you because you're domestic."
Kimberley: Exactly. Take responsibility and stop and say, "How can we do that?"
Marc: Hallelujah. Take responsibility. Awesome.
Kimberley: I'm all about actively participating in your professional development. Figure out how to make that work. Take the ideas and make it work for you.
Marc: This is great.
Kimberley: We're now going to talk about just the soft skills. This program is very different from the kind of energy you would require if you were maybe doing a gala or an event or any sort of peer-to-peer direct mail. It has its own energy about it. I hope that makes sense. I love this quote because it's so true. "Soft skills get little respect, but will make or break your career." It's really important.
I've put my mommy hat on. We need to teach our children how to use the right fork and sit at the table, how to say hello and goodbye, and be polite to people. These are all soft skills that I think we're focusing less and less on, especially as we move into this age of technology. It's so important knowing how to interact as a human being with your seniors, and actually with all of your donors. This is really important.
I wanted to just take a minute to talk about the soft skills required in the legacy program. Candor, empathy, listening, you always hear that. I think the candor is especially important. Often the conversations I've had about legacies, the donors don't really know how to say it, or maybe they choke up a little bit when they say it, but as the fundraiser there, you're there to facilitate the gift.
They're sitting there with you because they want to do this, so you can find ways to put it out on the table, be candid, and to have an honest, empathetic conversation with them.
Emotional intelligence is really important. Knowing when somebody has put up some barriers and doesn't want to talk anymore. How many of us have actually sat down and said, "What is the world going to look like when I die? What kind of a legacy do I want to leave?" That's really tough for someone in their 20s, 30s, 40s to be able to identify with what that means.
Getting comfortable with end-of-life issues is really important, and we'll a little bit more about personalizing estate files.
This is my mother-in-law and I had the honor of being with her at the end of her life. I didn't really know what to expect with that, but it certainly was a passage for me. It's like when you have a baby. You don't really know what to expect. After you've done it, your whole life changes. Sitting with Eileen as she died was something that had a profound impact on my life. I think makes it a little less scary for me to talk to donors about their estate plans. If you haven't had that fortunate opportunity to sit with somebody this is really good book to read, "Tuesdays With Morrie."
It's a fabulous, quick read. I read it while I was traveling on an airplane. I don't where I was going, somewhere. I wasn't going very far. It was a Nicaraguan trip, so that's a five-hour trip. "Everyone dies, but no one believes it. If we did, we do things differently." This book just changes your perspective on end-of-life issues and I think any fundraiser who is thinking about working in this realm, should make that required reading.
The other thing I wanted to talk about is this little piece here. This is a will and estate files are full of them, and you'll see it's very dry, legal, and quite boring. When I first started working at Ontario Nature, I was told that we had a donor who had a life insurance policy and I was to send them a tax receipt for $20,000, which was the premium on that life insurance policy. I was really busy in the trenches doing other stuff, so I didn't really pay attention, but I sent off the tax receipt and a little personal note saying, "Thank you so much."
Then the next year came around, and I had to issue another tax receipt for $20,000. I dug a little bit deeper into the file and I learned that this was a million-dollar life insurance policy in honor of someone named Graham, and when this insurance policy was realized, we were to purchase some land. I made a phone call and said, "Hey, I just happen to be out in your community," which was about a 90-minute drive away from my office, "but I just happen to be coming in your direction. Can I stop in for a cup of tea and drop off your tax receipt?" That's how you get a meeting. You're never there for them. You always just happen to be in the area.
She said yes, she'd love to have a cup of tea with me and she needed her tax receipt. I met Suzanne and Peter. I sat down with Suzanne and I asked her, "Tell me a little bit about what motivated you to take out this life insurance policy." This is her son Graham who died of a rare form of bone cancer when he was 18 years old. I realized, as I was sitting there crying with Suzanne about her son, that every time they received their tax receipt, they connected with their son, and they thought about him and the legacy that he is providing and the piece of land that they would purchasing when that life insurance is realized.
I think we as fundraisers make the mistake of turning our planned giving program into something that is transactional and administrative, and we don't take the time to really think about the donor's intentions behind those gifts.
It's okay if somebody's crying because every time I tell this story somebody cries. The planned giving program is an emotional one. It's okay to get emotional with your donors.
I asked Suzanne, "That's not in the file, and by the time this gift is realized, there are going to be several other people in this job. Can I please have Graham's picture? Can you please write down his story for me? Can I please have permission to share this example with the world, so we can start personalizing our estate files to the extent that we can?"
We're almost at the end. I've got about 10 more minutes, maybe 15. We can stay a little longer if there's an appetite to do that, Marc. I'll leave it up to you.
Marc: It seems like for those that are on the live broadcast, this seems to be a pattern, doesn't it? We have a 60-minute webinar and there's just great content.
Kimberley: And we stay all day long.
Marc: Fortunately it's going to be up in the vault. If you have to leave at the top of the hour, it's totally understandable. I think I've heard from enough members that they'd rather get the content, and know where to get it.
Kimberley: Oh, I haven't even asked if there are any questions at all. I've just been babbling away.
Marc: There is. One of the questions has been a really good question. Where do the transfer of funds figures come from? You talked about the trillion-dollar wealth transfer. I just did a quick Google search and it links into the page in the vault, from the Planned Giving Society.
Kimberley: There are a lot of financial advisors who do it. You, literally Google trillion-dollar wealth transfer. I was doing it just this morning. Pages and pages come up and they're economists who are talking about this.
Marc: It's still valid. The one I'm looking at from the Planned Giving Design Center was Paul Schervish and John Havens back in Boston University who did this. It's come under repute because of the dot-com bubble, and then 9/11, and then the housing bubble, but it keeps coming back. This was written originally in 2003, but updated in 2011, why that $41 trillion wealth transfer estimate is still valid.
Kimberley: That's an excellent comment, and I think what will make this workshop stronger is by ground truthing that statement earlier on. Thank you for that. You can find a lot of sources out there that you're comfortable with. I'll find one that I'm comfortable with.
Marc: I just accepted it. I'm really glad that one of our listeners asked it. My first book in fundraising was Debra Ashton's "The Blue Bible," the blue book on planned giving, back in the mid-'90s. I just for whatever reason felt like, "Oh, of course, I'll read a book on planned giving. Why wouldn't I? That's how I'll learn how to be a good fundraiser." This is a sweet spot for me. I love planned giving.
Kimberley: I'm going to tell you this other story about Mr. Allen. Mr. Allen phoned me one day and said, "I need to work on my estate plans and I want to come in and talk." I said, "You know I'm happy to come to you." "No. I'm going to be in the city. I want to come down. We're going to sit and talk to your program staff." I said, "Sure, absolutely."
I had never met him before. He came into the office and he was very businesslike. He had a mission. He needed to fix something. We were going to talk about his estate plans, and including Ontario Nature in his will. We sat down and I had our program guy. He said he wanted to donate his money to a restricted gift that would purchase land in a very specific area.
Of course, you want to keep your bequests as general as possible because the organization shifts over time, and you want to make sure that you can spend that money in the way the donor intended. It's really important, and that's where the candor comes in.
I said, "It's going to be a long time before this bequest is realized, and our priorities could shift. How about we have an unrestricted gift in your will, a residual gift which is a percentage of the income in your will, and I'll give you those words to take into your lawyer?"
I'd earlier asked him what it was he was passionate about and he happened to be passionate about wild orchids. We had one Nature Reserve where people come from all around the world to see these wild orchids.
I said, "If you're really passionate about wild orchids, why don't we put a bench there in your lifetime to thank you for your bequest, and you can go with your wife, sit on that bench, and look at the orchids?" He was very happy to do that, and, in fact, relieved.
This is what I talk about with the hard and the soft side of planned giving. There's the hard side that's mostly transactional and legal and then there's soft side.
Once I separated those for Mr. Allen and said, "You want to walk out of here with words for your lawyer today. We can absolutely do that. You also want to talk about how your values will live on and how you'll be recognized for your gift. Let's make that a separate conversation." He was very relieved and became my best friend. He's really sweet.
We're at the last couple of slides here, Marc.
This is a note that I received in the mail. This is my last point. This is what it said. It said, "I've been a member of On Nature for at least 45 years, a lifelong friend of nature. I've planted thousands of trees, but my time is now almost up, 90 birthdays and legally blind. Keep up the good work, kids." Of course, I took that, and I put it up on my bulletin board. I thought, "Oh, I need to go visit that guy. If anybody deserves to get me out of the office, it's him. We haven't spoken with him about a bequest. He loves us so much that he took the time to send me this note."
That was sent to me in November 2009. About a year and a half later I want to say I phoned him, and his wife answered the phone. I said, "Is Mr. Maxwell there, please? It's Kimberley MacKenzie from Ontario Nature." She just took a deep breath and said, "He died last week." I had thought about him every single day for about a year and a half. I had thought, "I need to go visit with him," and I didn't do it, and it was too late.
I started crying on the phone. Then she started crying. She said, "I know. It's really sad, isn't it?" I said, "Yeah, it's really sad." She had no idea how sad it was for me.
This happened too. "Follow up again with Fred Bodsworth," and I phoned him January 5, and I left a message. He died, so I never actually got to meet him either.
That's really my last point, folks, that I want to make with you. One day we're all going to be pushing up daisies. You cannot afford to wait any longer. It's time to start your legacy program, and there are some very simple, small, inexpensive things that you can do. Just even two or three of these things, just start doing it. Please, just start today.
Get your organization onside. Start the conversation. Consider a Donor Motivation Program, which is different than just having a financial expert come in and talk about money. Engage your constituents in meaningful ways. Develop those soft skills. Learn about end-of-life issues, and start today, most importantly.
"Death just ends a life, but not a relationship," and that's a quote from Mitch Albom from "Tuesdays with Morrie," a book that I strongly encourage you to read.
This is me. There are a number of ways that you can get in touch with me.
Marc: If they wanted to have you come in to do this with their board or do a presentation to their team, is this the best way to contact you?
Kimberley: Absolutely. There I am, and you can also tweet me @KimberleyCanada or send me an email. I just love it when my phone rings. I'm really not a fan of seven or eight emails, Marc, to make time [inaudible 01:01:07]. Just saying.
Marc: That was awful, wasn't it?
Kimberley: Just pick up the phone, like people used to do. My kids are hilarious. I phone them and they'll say, "Why are you calling? What's wrong?" I say, "I'm just calling."
Thank you very much for this opportunity. I have about 25 minutes, or my hard deadline is 2:30, so I'm happy to take any calls or questions that you may or may not have, Marc.
Marc: One of the questions, unfortunately it's probably more admin than legacy, is, "I've heard that you have to have a policy for what to do with gifts when they come in, that a certain amount goes to administration, operating budget, and a certain amount goes to whatever. Is that something you need before you identify the bequests or so that you can say with integrity that that's how they're going to be used, that this is our policy, or is that part of the gift?"
Kimberley: It's definitely an administrative issue. It's important for board to have fiduciary responsibility for the financial health of an organization. When a bequest comes in, if that policy's not in place, you can bet they're going to get to it. That will be the biggest motivator. What do you do with it?
If you wait to have a gift acceptance policy to start having conversations about legacies with your donors, you may never actually get started.
There are a number of things that charities can do. Some charities say they're going to put all of the bequest revenue into an endowment and the interest will accumulate. That'll help with the sustainability and longevity of the program. I recommend having some invested. It's a good idea for charities to have a bit of a buffer. Have a policy to take a little bit of that money out and reinvest it back into the planned giving program. That's how you'll pay for the program. The expenses will fluctuate depending on the revenue received that year.
Marc: The stewardship events, the staff time, the whatever, the communications do cost money.
Kimberley: One thing is that mailing. That mailing was maybe $3 apiece. If you do nothing else, just do the letter with the survey. If you're not able to reach out to the people who say, "Yes, I want to talk to you," then don't bother doing it. There's nothing worse than the survey going out and then nothing happening.
Marc: They're so used to that for most of our organizations. Not Nonprofit Academy members, of course, but for most of our organizations, they're used to raising their hand and then being ignored. That's interesting.
If someone were just all jazzed, they're saying, "I'm excited for this. I'm not sure I can handle hearing about a person's son's death, but I still want to get started," what would be the first thing? I guess it's going right back to the beginning, and probably re-watching this webinar and getting the internal support. Does that make the most sense?
Kimberley: Get it on a board meeting agenda. I'd be happy to talk to people if they want to talk about where their organization is at. There are a lot of different ways to get to New York City. It all depends on where you're starting from. How to get there is going to be unique for every organization, and I'm happy to talk on the phone with anybody who wants to just have a little one-on-one time to talk about where their organization is at, and then you can determine some first steps in moving forward.
Marc: That's great. Kimberley, I am so honored that you had shared. I was moved more than I expected to be. I love this topic, and I had to catch my breath a few times.
This is something I just want to stress for everybody's that's listening. People are already having these end-of-life decisions and discussions with their families and their advisors. Not enough, 30% or so, it looks like, versus the 70% that die without a will in the United States, anyway.
People are already having these conversations, so being able to just continue passively making this stuff available is so important so that when they're having the conversations they can have even more information at their disposal.
There's one thing I like to do because people Google. At any age now they're Googling. I put right on my foundation's hospital fundraising website for financial advisors and for donors, and both are virtually the same text, but I wanted two different audiences to look, called the codicil. I just put the simple wording for a bequest in there.
Why not? You could use something like this. Like Kimberley said, say things like, "Talk to your advisors or talk to your team." The reason I did that was because most people think of their lawyer for their bequests. They think of their investments for their investment person and their retirement maybe with their HR. Then they have their insurance guy, and then they have their CPA. It's all of it together. It's the taxes, the life insurance, the investment portfolio, and all of the things brought together that you really need to help people do. I love that we don't have to be the experts on CRUTs and CRATs and all that other annuity stuff.
Kimberley: I know that if you were doing planned giving full time, and I don't want to be disrespectful, if this was your job, if you were in a large shop and planned giving and administering estate gifts was all you did, then by all means, of course. I know that the majority of fundraisers out there are working like you and I have, Marc, in smaller organizations that are strapped with resources. I want to give you folks permission not to let ignorance of charitable gift annuities get in your way.
If you have a donor who walks in and says, "I think I want to open a charitable remainder trust for you, and I want money during my lifetime, and I want to leave you some money. How do we do that?" you're going to figure it out. For the bulk of the people, they're not going to do that.
Marc: If you're listening, and somebody says that say, "Great. Thank you so much."
Kimberley: "Great. Let me get back to you."
Marc: "Could we meet in a couple of weeks?" Then call the people that can help you get that done.
Kimberley: There are professional associations. Up here in Canada, we have the Canadian Association of Gift Planners. That would be the very first call I make. I sit on an executive of an organization locally here called The Planned Giving Council of Simcoe County, and that's charitable sector folks and private sector folks who come together to be resources for each other. That's who I would call.
Marc: Thank you so much. This has been tremendous and I know people are going to want to watch it over and over because it's well laid out. I just love that you said even things like, "There will be people that complain, and don't let that dissuade you. It was only four out of almost 400." You have to have your board on board because that could really throw them.
Kimberley: I need to say I'm working with a client right now and we're building their legacy program, and we're sending out a survey. One of the things that they wanted to do was engage their board members in something, so they thought, "Oh, we're going to send out this survey about legacies, and then we'll get board members to phone them back to have the discussion." I said, "No. This lies solely with staff. If your board members start getting involved in some of those complaints, the only response to those is, 'I'm so sorry. How can we make this better?' One of those to a board member could kibosh your whole program."
Marc: Yes, because nobody wants to be put on the spot like that, but as a professional, as a paid staff, that's our job, to handle those.
Kimberley: That's our job to have those conversations, and we can give board members thank you calls, and cultivation, and technique. They can come on those walks with us and do any number of other things.
Marc: Everybody, please, I really strongly encourage you to go www.KimberleyMacKenzie.ca, Kimberley's website. Tweet her @KimberleyCanada. She's done a lot of writing for Fundraising 101. She has the Charity e-Newsletter at www.CharityInfo.ca. Definitely learn more from her.
I encourage you to take her up on her invitation to call her if you have really serious questions about how to get this going because I know she's booked for months now.
Kimberley, thank you so much for being here.
Kimberley: Thank you very much. It was my sincere pleasure. Thank you, folks.
Marc: Everyone, remember that we have our coaching call coming up in a couple weeks, and we will send out the right phone number to everybody this month. Until then, this will be up in the vault in just a couple hours, and we'll see you in the forums in the meantime. Thanks so much. Enjoy fundraising.