The liberating truth behind smart bequest fundraising — it’s about life

by guest blogger Christiana Stergiou, Fundraisingologist at Moceanic.

You are going to die. And probably sooner than you think.

Not a great way to start a conversation is it?

To hear some people talk about it, you’d think communicating with donors about bequests is like some kind of cruel, death-obsessed whack in the face. Something no polite person would ever foist on a fellow human.

I hear it all the time: People don’t want to talk about death.

That might be true. But talking to donors about including your charity in their will has nothing to do with death.

These are some of the most life-affirming kinds of conversation you’ll ever have!

Because bequest conversations are all about life. In the richest, largest, and fullest sense.

To think about leaving a charity you care about in your will is to think about the very purpose and meaning of your life. It’s about your values that live on into the future far beyond you. It leaves you feeling peaceful and empowered. Transcendent.

That’s what you talk about when you talk about bequests. Most donors absolutely love that conversation.

When someone tells me their donors don’t want to talk about death, I think I know what they really mean: They mean, I don’t want to talk about death.

It’s frankly a more difficult topic for young people than it is for older people. I know I learned as a young bequest manager talking to older donors. At first I had to grit my teeth and try not to show my discomfort. Gradually I discovered the beauty and joy of it — thanks to my lovely older donors and some wonderful older colleagues at work.

Bequests can and do change everything for organizations that know how to ask for them. And they are a wonderful opportunity for our donors to continue their support well into the future.

If you want to succeed at bequest fundraising, you must work from the basic assumption that it’s not about death. (It’s also not about lawyers, and not about money or taxes.)

It’s about life!

Want to know more about how to succeed at bequest fundraising? Click through to find out about Christiana’s free online workshop, 5 Steps to a Wildly Successful Bequest Fundraising Program. It’s an amazing workshop that can help you deliver transformative donor revenue for years to come. October 17 and 18 … don’t you dare miss this opportunity to tap into the power of bequest giving!


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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