A Legacy Society is a membership association for those who have left a gift for the Mental Health Association of Central Florida in their will. Membership represents an ongoing commitment to our mission of serving Central Florida’s mental health.
To receive a gift in someone’s will is an incredible honor, but often we aren’t able to recognize the contribution until we learn about it after the donor’s passing. The Legacy Society is our way of making sure the donor’s who include us in their will get the recognition they deserve.
By making us aware that you are including the MHACF in your
will, you will not only receive recognition for your gift, but are also able to
inform us in how you prefer your gift be used. Additionally, you receive the following benefits:
By giving in your will, you are able to ensure that your gifts will continue to benefit the causes you care about after your passing. You will also receive benefits such as:
Your marketing plan for your legacy society should include multiple communications channels.
In the giving section on your website, put information about planned giving and your legacy society. You’ll probably want to give the legacy society its own page, complete with pictures of people at your legacy society events having a good time.
You’ve probably been to a museum or a hospital that had a thank you board with the names of estate donors listed. This has the dual effect of honoring donors who have told you about their planned giving commitment, and encouraging your donor’s peers to make a gift of their own.
Many planned gifts come from donors who are hidden in your donor file and give consistently in small or moderate amounts over a long period of time. Create direct mail materials for your most consistent donors and invite them to join the legacy society by making a planned gift.
One successful tool for promoting planned giving and legacy societies is the “Will Workshop.” Hosted by the legacy society, the will workshop provides free information from experts on the topic of creating a will, funeral planning, and estate planning. One successful model is to do the workshop as a ‘Lunch and Learn’ and provide free food for attendees.
If your donors are excited about giving to your organization, they might be willing to invite other donors to join the legacy society. This can be especially effective in organizations where donors have close relationships with other members of the organization who have not yet decided to give. Ask your current donors to think about people they could ask to join the legacy society.
The most effective (though most expensive) way to market your legacy society is through the efforts of a planned giving officer. A planned giving officer is a professional fundraiser who specializes in soliciting planned gifts from donors. They seek out donors who have a long giving history and close relationship with the organization and personally ask them to consider making a gift and joining the legacy society.
Legacy Societies are a long-term commitment. A donor may commit to a planned gift years or decades before your organization receives the gift. You need to have a plan in place to maintain it for the long haul. If the staff member or key volunteer leaves, you should be ready to keep the society going.
Good record keeping is essential. You need to keep an updated list of the members of your legacy society. You should have a staff member or volunteer leader who contacts legacy society members regularly. An annual basis is the minimum. Small touches can make a big difference here. Make a phone call, send a Christmas and birthday card.
One great way to maintain continuity is to have a volunteer committee that runs the Annual Legacy Society dinner. If you give responsibility to a group of passionate member/donors, they feel even more connected to the giving society. And it will also encourage them to invite their friends to get involved. Start a committee of volunteers with a rotating chairmanship. It will ensures that you have a group of people who are invested in maintaining and growing your legacy society.