Given the immense time and effort it takes to cultivate relationships with potential bequest donors, the quality of your prospect list is absolutely critical. You need to be able to focus your efforts on those most likely to leave a sizeable bequest and remain loyal to your organisation until the end of their days.
So what kind of things should you look for when trying to identify bequest prospects from within your donor database? Here we offer 5 suggestions to get you started.
- Age – Obviously the older the bequest prospect is, the closer you will be to benefiting from their generosity. Older people will also be more likely to be thinking about the end of their lifetime and considering what to do with their assets. Even if you do not record the age of your donors, there are other indicators which can help you identify those in the older age bracket, such as, handwriting style, payment method and length of donor history.
- Gender – It is a biological fact that women are more likely to outlive their male partners and therefore be the decision maker when it comes to making a bequest.
- Marital Status – An older donor who has never been married is less likely to have dependents and more likely to be able to leave a large proportion of their estate to charity. So look for the elderly donors with a “Miss” as their title. Likewise, a “Ms” who is generally unmarried is also more likely to be without dependents.
- Donation History – when it comes to bequests, the length of time a person has been giving is often more important than the value of their gifts. A long history of supporting your organisation is a sign of loyalty and a good indication that the person will follow through with their intention to bequeath.
- Home address – the suburb a prospect lives in, is a good indicator of their capacity to provide a bequest. Pay particular attention to people who have volunteered, requested information or only given small amounts but live in a $1 million plus postcode. It may be that all their finances are tied up in the family home, but they will have a sizeable estate to distribute once the house is sold.
Bequests is one of the most commonly avoided areas of fundraising, but also one of the most potentially game changing. The most active bequest fundraisers in Australian are consistently raising in the tens of millions each year. Yes, it can be daunting at first, but with a clear strategy, the right tools and a positive attitude, you can lay the ground-work for some seriously large donations in years to come.
If you would like some advice or direction in the area of bequests, please call on 1300 721 799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.