A key conclusion from The Planned Giving Study initiated and funded by Pentera—that legacy societies are effective with donors of planned gifts—is discussed in Giving USA 2017, the acclaimed annual report on philanthropy from The Giving Institute.
The 400-page analysis of last year’s charitable activity, written by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, was published in June. The section on “Giving by Bequest” lists three “practitioner highlights,” with the one on legacy societies based on The Planned Giving Study. The Giving USA report also has a one-page summary of the study.
“Legacy societies are effective—but the key to their success is to have clear messaging and few requirements for participation,” states the Giving USA 2017 highlight that is based on the Pentera-initiated study. “An active legacy society nurtures its membership steadily and helps maintain the importance of the society in the donor’s life over long periods of time.”
The Planned Giving Study also found that legacy society members tend to give more than non-members and are more likely to make additional gifts. The study recommends that after a donor makes an initial gift, the nonprofit should use various stewardship strategies—including legacy society membership and activities—to strengthen the relationship between the donor and the organization, which can help maintain the initial gift and lead to additional gifts.