Bequests Deliver

The fundraiser was feeling frisky one day.  He was certain his school raised more money each year than any other school in their network around the country.

He set out to confirm his suspicions.

The first call was to New York.  Did they raise more money?

“Nope.”  The fundraiser smiled.

Cleveland. “Not us.”  Los Angeles.  “Good for you!  Not us, for sure.”

The fundraiser started feeling cocky.

Three more calls, and he was almost there.  Then he called Cincinnati.

“It’s not us but it’s not you, either.”

“You’re kidding!  I was sure!  Who, then?”

“Red Cloud Indian Mission School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.  They raise $8 million a year.”  (This was a long time ago.)

“I don’t believe it!  How?”

“I don’t know.  You’ll have to call them and ask.”

The fundraiser’s fingers flew across the dial.

After a few rings, someone answered the phone and he was directed to the school’s development office.

An older gentleman answered.  He was a full-time volunteer who was living at the school for the year.  It was August, and everyone else was on vacation.

“Well,” thought the fundraiser, “this guy will have to do.”

“I hear you raise more money each year than any other of our schools!  Can you tell me how many major gift prospects you have under moves management, how many solicitation visits your team makes each month…?”

The volunteer was clueless.  “Honestly, I’m not sure what you mean.  I just open the mail and input the gifts into the database.”

Not willing to let go, the fundraiser tried another way.  “Can you think for me, where does the money come from?”

“Well, we get about $300,000 a year from the mail.  And we have a Sports Night in the Twin Cities each year that brings in another $300,000 or so.”

Exasperation.  “But sir, your school raises $8 million a year!  Where does all that come from?”

“O, that’s easy!  We receive a little more than $6 million a year from friends who have remembered us in their will.

“About 30 years ago I’m told, on the bottom of our letterhead and in every other material we send out we put “Please Remember Red Cloud School in Your Will.

“And I guess people do!”

Next time, numbers two, three and four of the seven steps to create a sound and effective bequest program for your organization that will capture 85% or more of your planned gift potential.

Until then have a good day, my friends.


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