Is your organization ready for an inspired legacy partnership? A Yes to several of these points would be propitious.
- We will be here in 10 years, whether this program succeeds or not
- We receive annual gifts, some major gifts, and are familiar with planned giving strategies. We do get some planned gifts.
- We have sufficient staff to keep up with the fundraising and the administration.
- Our staffing is relatively stable.
- Our Executive Director has the vision of inspired legacy partnerships
- Although we have immediate needs, we are also able to take the long view
- We want to build current programs and endowment.
- Our Board is supportive of long term programs that may take 3-5 years to make a big positive difference.
- We are not just looking to raise money for ourselves. We see ourselves as meeting human and social needs. We rejoice in the generosity of our donors when those gifts advance the cause, even if in certain instances those gifts do not come to us.
- We see other local nonprofits, at least some of them, as allies, friends and partners in the work, not just as competitors for donor dollars.
- We see the donor as a precious social asset, as a leader, and as a human being in her own right. We honor what is best in the donor for the donor's sake, for her family's sake and for the sake of society. We do not objectify our donors. We do not see them as a two-legged ATM whose purpose is to be tapped for cash to support our work and to pay our salaries.
- We have an Advisory Board of professionals who might support something like this and refer potential donors into such a program.
- I am willing to do a little self-study to get up to speed on issues of concern to wealthy donor families.
- I,am willing to do a little self-study to familiarize myself with the languages of finance, tax, and legal, so that I can bridge into the advisor conversation and be a team player.
Is now the right time?
- We have a critical mass of donors, advisors, volunteers, Board members, allies, and staff who might be interested in taking the larger view.
- We have a small budget or can raise one.
- I have time to prototype something new.
- We can get some other nonprofits to help us do an event.
- We can team up with other nonprofits to bring in some outside speakers.
- We can attract advisors, maybe by offering Continuing Education credits.
If mostly you answer "No," then an inspired legacies program is not for you, but if you can answer "Yes," to the majority of questions, you may well be ready to follow leaders like Charles Collier at Harvard to the highest levels of philanthropic advisory work.
If your mission includes words like "God's love," "neighbor," or "Lux and Veritas," and if you think of your donors as constituents to be served, all their lives long, then you may be mission aligned with a program like this.
We must all be prudent. The donor, charity and advisor must always ask, "What is in it for me?" The answer is, "Less than it could be," unless we converge on an inspired plan that brings us all together as partners in this work. Without a real overall plan, the donor should not let lose of the big dollars. Without advisors who can see beyond taxes and financial return the donor will be led by blind guides. Without nonprofits who can see the donor as a human being first and a donor second, we are all just using each other. When we meet on higher ground dollars flow, donors are more fulfilled, and nonprofits can do the work that make life better for us all. For some donors, some advisors, and some nonprofits, the time is right, for others not. None of us can do it alone.