Suppose my grandfather gave a major gift to the school he attended almost 100 years ago. What might inspire me to renew this family legacy?
The first thing is to know about his philanthropy. That kind of information is often lost to a family over the years. Sometimes it’s lost to the organization that benefitted as well. But what I don’t know about, I’ll never act upon. The impetus is on the school to get this information to me so that I may make an informed decision.
The second thing is to see how his donation was commemorated. Was there a plaque? A picture? Sending me a photo of these would definitely get my interest. It may inspire me to visit to see the plaque, or ask for a copy of the picture for my own family archives.
Of course one of the problems with materials more than fifty years old is that they may have deteriorated. If this is the case, suppose the school is offering to refurbish/restore the plaque, or incorporate it into a new donor wall. They may be willing to put my name with my grandfather’s, to show how our family has continued to support the school over the years. That gives me the opportunity to become part of the legacy. Very inspiring.
Traditionally, organizations with long histories have decent records only for the last few decades. Yet the ‘fugitive’ information holds tremendous potential to renew and strengthen legacy bonds. Reaching out to families of legacy donors, with information, visuals, and the opportunity to bolster their legacy is a powerful tool. You can create new opportunities to steward family philanthropy, just by taking stock – and taking advantage – of what you already have.
If you’d like Presidential to assist in the survey of legacy recognition, archive development, or an engagement strategy for to inspire legacy donors, please give us a call.