When Donors Die, Don’t Let Their Impact Die Too: How Planned Giving Can Continue Their Legacy


Nonprofit organizations rely heavily on the generosity of current donors to support their mission. But what happens when a donor passes away? Does their contribution stop? For many organizations, the answer is yes. To address this issue, nonprofits can leverage existing donor relationships and encourage these committed donors to leave a lasting legacy through planned giving vehicles such as wills and beneficiary designations. By fostering planned giving, nonprofits can secure future support, ensuring that their donors can continue to support the nonprofit’s mission even after they die.

Building Relationships with Donors

The key to successful planned giving is building strong relationships with donors. Nonprofits should focus on cultivating long-term relationships based on trust, transparency, and shared values. By demonstrating the impact of their work and showing donors how their contributions can make a difference, nonprofits can inspire donors to consider planned giving as a way to leave a lasting legacy.

A Firsthand Story

Earlier this year, LifeLegacy was having a conversation with a religious organization. The Head of Development noted how many funerals are held at their church each month compared to the number of planned gifts left –which were very few. And that’s not because parishioners didn’t love the church. In fact, they had a very strong annual donor base and an active church community. But he recognized that the parish was not effectively communicating the power of planned giving to their supporters and not showing clear, simple options for how they can continue their support via a legacy gift. Leveraging tools such as LifeLegacy’s Gift Intention Form, Last Will & Testament, and more have allowed organizations like this church to secure more planned gifts as the Great Wealth Transfer unfolds.

Educating Donors about Planned Giving Options

Many donors are not aware of the various planned giving options available to them. Nonprofits can play a crucial role in educating donors about these options, including wills, charitable gift annuities, and charitable remainder trusts. By providing information and resources, nonprofits can help donors make informed decisions about their planned giving strategies.

Engaging Donors in Conversations about Legacy

Nonprofits need to engage donors in conversations about their legacy and the impact they want to have on the world. By asking thoughtful questions and listening to donors’ stories and motivations, nonprofits can help donors articulate their philanthropic goals and explore how planned giving can help them achieve those goals.

Creating a Legacy Giving Program

Nonprofits can establish a legacy giving program to promote planned giving and recognize donors who have included the organization in their estate plans. This program can include educational workshops, donor recognition events, and personalized stewardship efforts to thank donors for their planned gifts. Donors who commit to a planned gift should automatically be eligible for any “giving society.”

Partnering with Professional Advisors

Nonprofits can also benefit from partnering with professional advisors such as estate planners, financial advisors, and attorneys who can help donors create and implement their planned giving strategies. By working together with these advisors, nonprofits can ensure donors receive the support and guidance they need to make informed decisions about their planned giving.


Planned giving offers donors the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy and support the causes they care about most. By fostering a planned giving program, nonprofits can secure future support, ensuring their vital work continues for generations to come. By building strong relationships with donors, educating them about their options, and engaging them in conversations about legacy, nonprofits can inspire donors to consider planned giving a meaningful way to make a difference in the world. LifeLegacy can help. Our Giving Suite, which includes white-labeled and customized tools such as a will, gift intention tool, QCD, DAF, and more, can help nonprofits offer legacy giving options to donors.

Author: Craig Simms

Author: Craig Simms

Head of Partnerships


Estate Planning: A Family Tradition Since 1917

While LifeLegacy is at the forefront of modernizing estate planning, our roots show that we have been part of an “estate planning tradition”.  My great, great, great grandfather Apollis (born in 1830) was a man ahead of his time.

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