You are going to die. And probably sooner than you think.
Not a great way to start a conversation is it?
To hear some people talk about it, you’d think communicating with donors about bequests is like some kind of cruel, death-obsessed whack in the face. Something no polite person would ever foist on a fellow human.
I hear it all the time: People don’t want to talk about death.
That might be true. But talking to donors about including your charity in their will has nothing to do with death.
These are some of the most life-affirming kinds of conversation you’ll ever have!
Because bequest conversations are all about life. In the richest, largest, and fullest sense.
To think about leaving a charity you care about in your will is to think about the very purpose and meaning of your life. It’s about your values that live on into the future far beyond you. It leaves you feeling peaceful and empowered. Transcendent.
That’s what you talk about when you talk about bequests. Most donors absolutely love that conversation.
When someone tells me their donors don’t want to talk about death, I think I know what they really mean: They mean, I don’t want to talk about death.
It’s frankly a more difficult topic for young people than it is for older people. I know I learned that as a young bequest manager talking to older donors. At first, I had to grit my teeth and try not to show my discomfort. Gradually I discovered the beauty and joy of it — thanks to my lovely older donors and some wonderful older colleagues at work.
Bequests can and do change everything for organisations that know how to ask for them. And they are a wonderful opportunity for our donors to continue their support well into the future.
If you want to succeed at bequest fundraising, you must work from the basic assumption that it’s not about death. (It’s also not about lawyers, and not about money or taxes.)
It’s about life!