Fundraising Kudos to: Yosemite Conservancy

I’m always on the lookout for graceful yet clear ways to remind donors that — let’s see, how shall I word this — they might want leave you money when they DIE. Okay, that’s an example of how not to phrase this important message.

The Yosemite Conservancy presented much better language in its Spring/Summer 2012 newsletter. The headline reads, “Anyone can leave a legacy.” That message is encouraging, not age-specific, and leaves out the “D” word.

I particularly like the use of the word “anyone” because, despite what the fundraising academics might tell you, it’s not only wealthy donors approaching old age who consider making legacy gifts. The real-world truth of the matter is that a surprising number of younger donors are happy to name a charity in their will or legacy, for the very reason that they do not yet have more immediately available assets to give.

The newsletter entry goes on to say, “Including Yosemite Conservancy as the beneficiary to your retirement or insurance plans are simple ways for anyone to make a lasting difference to Yosemite.”

This is also helpful, as it reminds donors that they don’t need to get into charitable annuities or other complex estate planning arrangements to name a nonprofit as a recipient of their estate.

Of course, you can’t just lift their text outright — but you might want to think about how you might adapt it for your group.