Launching an Estate Giving Program

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What needs to be done to launch an Estate Giving Program?

Establish a Committee (which meets very infrequently)

Prospective Membership:
• Two Board members
• Long term loyal donor (who has identified that they have made a estate gift)
• Local general practice or estates lawyer
• Bank or Account Manager
• Accountant
• Financial Advisor

Gift Acceptance Policy

It is very important that your charity has clear policies about how Estate Gifts will be used.
These are usually policies approval by the Board of Directors.

Given the nature of estate gifts (from assets) some charities establish an endowment fund (to provide annual income and preserve capital), create capital funds where capital can be spent or other special purposes. It is also very important that this information is shared with estate gift prospects.

Before launch
• Secure commitment of donors to make a estate gift whose stories can be shared

• Written materials for use in newsletters, website, special estate giving communiques, annual funding solicitation letters/emails (see Post #3)
• Annual “report” to self-identified estate giving donors

Supporting infrastructure
• Discount brokerage account (or relationship with another charity like Canada Helps) to facilitate gifts of securities

How do I maintain an Estate Giving Program?

Simply put, Estate Gifts are usually revocable and can be cancelled at any time. Because of this it is important to regularly communicate with people who have identified that they have included your charity as a beneficiary in their will. Similarly it is important that you communicate with people who have indicated an interest in an estate gift and your estate giving “prospects”.

Some organizations establish an “Estate Giving Club” including an annual recognition event (separate or in conjunction with another event) and an “annual report” including estate giving stories. Those who choose to make a gift need to assured that you respect their support, will steward their gift with respect and purpose.

Have questions or want to discuss setting up an Estate Giving Program?  Click here to request assistance from MAS.

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