Suppose my grandfather gave a major gift to the school he attended almost one hundred years ago. What might inspire me to continue on this family history of giving?
The first question to ponder pertains to the style of his philanthropy; what inspired the original gift? That kind of information is often lost to a family over the years. Sometimes it is lost to the organization that benefitted as well. But what I do not know about, I will never act upon. The onus 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 peak 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.
One of the problems with materials more than fifty years old is that they have likely deteriorated. If this is the case, suppose the school is offering to restore the plaque, or incorporate it into a new donor wall. The school 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 comprehensive records only going back a few decades. Yet the ‘fugitive’ information holds tremendous potential to renew and strengthen legacy bonds. Reaching out to the 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 with a little bit of investigation and organiztion - by taking stock - of what information you already have.
This is exactly where Presidential can be of assitance! If you’d like Presidential to assist in the survey of legacy recognition, archive development, or an engagement strategy to inspire legacy donors, please give us a call.