Inspiring Generosity


Legacy Giving: Love that Low-Hanging Fruit – Part 2

                  No head for 17 days?! Indeed, a strange fact.

Let’s face it. I was kind of an odd kid. While other girls were reading Little Women, I was poring over the Standard Home Library’s, Wonder Book of Strange Facts, aka, Ripley’s “Believe It or Not.” It was amazing. Why keep up with the March sisters when you can learn that “Alfred Langeven could blow out a candle with his eyes” or that “Seals only sleep at intervals of one and a half minutes”? Did you know these things? Me neither!

Speaking of strange facts, let’s recall two weeks ago. In my blog post, Legacy Giving: Love that Low-Hanging Fruit – Part 1, I reported that only 8% of people who have a will leave anything to a charity, hospital, university, or faith organization. 8%! Believe it or not.

Here’s what you can do to change this peculiar statistic:
1. Remind people why leaving a legacy gift to your church or organization is important
2. Ask them to leave a legacy gift.
Once you’ve done this, create a way for people to let you know that they're planning a legacy gift to your organization.
When you know who’s in your legacy circle, you must honor and steward them. Here are some ideas how to do that:
1. Specially thank them every year. This can be as simple as sending out a card at Thanksgiving or on Groundhog Day – “Thank you for being a part of our Legacy Circle. You will change the world for future generations.” You can also highlight your members during All Saints Sunday.
2. Host an educational event. Instead of the same ol’, same ol’ “Estate Planning Workshop” plan a “Retire Well” or “Manage Your Budget” seminar. This can be for the people in your legacy circle and (bonus) you can also invite others too. It’s a good time to remind attendees about the benefits of a legacy
3. Party! Thank people in your legacy circle with an ice cream social or a simple supper. Have a “state of the church” presentation or invite a trustee to talk about the latest projects that are being accomplished because of legacy giving.
Like all good things, inviting and stewarding legacy gifts takes intentionality. If you’re not asking, in all likelihood, someone else is. If you’re not appreciative, people will notice. It doesn’t have to be onerous, but being intentional takes works. It’s that simple and that hard. Believe it or not.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Did you know that the Flemish word for motor car is “snelpaardelooszonderspporwegpetrolrijtuig”? Thank you, Mr. Ripley. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com

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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.