Bequest Myths Busted

With Australia’s population aging at a rapid rate, now is the perfect time to consider investing in a bequest or planned giving program.

It is estimated that over the next 20 years, inter generational wealth transfer of Australians will exceed $600 billion. However, despite the chance to raise some serious money, many fundraising organisations are still reluctant to establish or reinvigorate their bequest program. Recent Giving Trends data collected by OKP suggests that nearly a quarter of fundraising organisation surveyed do not have a bequest program. An in our experience, many of the ones that do are not actively seeking bequests.

We hate to see so many organisations miss out on the opportunity to raise significant funding and better connect with their most loyal supporters, so today we address some of the most common myths holding organisations back when it comes to bequests.

Bequests will give our donors an excuse to stop giving.

It is a common concern that long-term, loyal donors will stop giving once they have confirmed their intention to leave a bequest.  However, a donor who is invested enough in your work to consider you in their will alongside family and close friends, is unlikely see their bequest as an excuse to stop giving. In fact, they are likely to increase their support.  For many donors, making a bequest fuels passion for their chosen charity and becomes an opportunity to reconfirm their ongoing commitment.

Major donors are the best bequest prospects.

While your wealthiest donors are more likely to have money left over after their dependents have been taken care of, they are not necessarily your best bequest prospects.  There are plenty of people who have large sums of money tied up in property and investments, so rely on your assumptions of your prospect’s wealth.  Instead take the time to get to know your most engaged donors. Your best prospects are those donors who have been consistently supporting your organisation and are involved on multiple levels. I know of many stories where surprisingly large bequests have come from former volunteers, some of whom never donated a cent.

It is a waste of time to market bequests to younger donors.

You will probably never get to see the results of your efforts, but there is still a lot of merit in marketing bequests to younger donors.  Engaging younger donors through your bequest program helps build a bequest giving culture where legacy giving becomes a natural progression in a long-term donor relationship.  Getting your foot in the door early with younger bequest prospects is also an effective strategy for dealing with charitable competition.  Younger donors are unlikely to have strong relationships with more than 1 or 2 charities; therefore, you can secure their support when there is less competition for their loyalty.

Maintaining relationships with bequestors takes a lot of time and effort.

There is likely to be many years from notification of an intention to bequest and the receipt of a gift, but maintaining a long-term relationship doesn’t need to be difficult.  As long as you keep in regular touch with those who have intend to leave a bequest, they will be able to see the value in following through with their intention.  Recent studies have shown as few as 1 in 10 people ever remove a charity from their will.

If you think bequests could be the answer for your organisation, please call on 1300 721 799 or email to discuss how OKP might be able to help you maximise your success.




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