It’s Make-A-Will Month

August is National Make-A-Will Month, an incredible opportunity for your nonprofit to increase its legacy or planned gifts.

The easiest planned gift for your nonprofit’s supporters to make is to leave a portion of their estate to your organization as a bequest in their will.

Yet it’s highly likely that your donors don’t know how to create a will. They need your guidance. In fact, six in ten parents either don’t have a will or have one that’s out of date.


The Wood Library of Canandaigua, New York managed the matter proactively by creating this brochure . The Library offers it to you, our readers, as an example to replicate for yourselves. The brochure outlines the steps your donors need to take to include you in their will.

I recommend emailing your own brochure, with a cover letter, to your donors every Sunday morning through the month of August. It’s best, however, to focus just on donors over age 55 who have a history of giving regularly to your nonprofit. If you’re managing your major donors more personally, then excluding them from that email might be wise.

The Timing is Right

The CV19 pandemic has shown us how fragile life is, so your words of empathy about protecting loved ones through estate planning will resonate well. Because of the pandemic, many people are taking action to review and update their will, a job which is often put off until a significant life event occurs.

Top Three Misconceptions/Truths

Here are three misconceptions for which donors especially need guidance because they might get in the way of getting their plans in order. These points can be usefully addressed in your cover letter.

1. I wrote my will 20 years ago, so I’m set!

Think about everything that has changed in the past 20 years, let alone in the past 24 months! Have you acquired property? Do you have children? Do your children have children? Have you acquired a new pet? Life changes quickly, so it’s recommended that you update your will every five years to reflect these changes.

2. I don’t have an estate, so I don’t need a will!

You don’t have to own a villa In Italy to need an estate plan. It’s important to have a plan in place for all the things and people that matter to you. This could be anything from who will take care of your social media accounts, or who you want to receive a notable family heirloom. Without plans in place, it can be difficult and complicated for your loved ones to make these decisions.

3. Estate Planning is expensive! That was the case, but now it doesn’t have to be! With FreeWill, the process can be completed at no charge and in 20 minutes or less. In fact, FreeWill provides planned- and major-giving tools for nonprofits that your donors will love. Specifically, FreeWill can customize appropriate resources for your organization. More than 900+ nonprofits have already used FreeWill to raise more than $5.9 billion in bequests, qualified charitable distributions, and stock gifts.

Also, if your donors plan to seek the assistance of an attorney, they can use FreeWill to create a list of documented wishes to give themselves a head start and save time—and money!

What are your planned giving engagement plans for Make-A-Will month? Please let us know in the comments section below; also please share this post with a colleague who might find it a helpful resource.

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