How to Take Advantage of the LEAVE A LEGACY™ Month

Each year I look forward to participating in local LEAVE A LEGACY™ (LAL) activities.  As you know, May is LEAVE A LEGACY™ month. LAL is a national, community-based public awareness campaign of CAGP that encourages people to leave a gift through their will or another planned giving vehicle to a charity or cause that is meaningful to them.

LEAVE A LEGACY™ was first established in the United States by the Central Ohio Planners and licensed to CAGP in Canada. The program encourages prospective donors to work with development officers at the charities they already support, and/or professional advisors with whom they already have a relationship, to establish a charitable bequest or other planned gift that best suits their situation.

In my role at The Arthritis Society, I’m the Chair of the Planned Giving Strategy Team which operates Canada-wide.  I recently asked each territory – BC/Yukon, Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada – how they feel the LEAVE A LEGACY™ message is resonating in their communities.  It was unanimous that in the major metros, there is a strong LEAVE A LEGACY™  presence during April/May. Across my home Province in Ontario we have many planned giving listings and articles in local papers. In fact, our newspaper partners continue to make it a feature with our thanks and appreciation.  Here are two features from Spring 2017 in the GTA Globe and the Vancouver Sun.  Powerful stories from our CAGP network across Canada!

Our Toronto Chapter team finds it helpful to pay attention to how other CAGP Chapters and charities structure their LEAVE A LEGACY™ program and activities. And I hope you find this helpful, too!  Besides leveraging the newspaper features, the GTA Chapter hosts  LEAVE A LEGACY™ Information Series that runs in 3 communities over 5 months from May to September (inclusive).  Our local library main branch is our core venue along with two other community libraries, and we partner two industry expert presenters with an assigned topic. The sessions are designed to work as standalone and in sequence, for those participants taking advantage of the full series.  This was a great innovation that the GTA LAL Committee brought forward several years ago and has been a continued success and value to the community.  Check out our 2017 LAL Information Series!   

In my own practice, I invite guests to join me at various sessions, and I pay close attention to those stakeholders whom I feel may be struggling with what to do next, or who may be “stuck” in their planning.  Joining a group setting, with messages reinforced by professionals, often helps them to get unstuck and on more than one occasion ignites a person to take action.  Also I have found this is an effective engagement opportunity for senior staff and board members.

For those of you outside of a major metro, have you considered pulling together with your local charities and forming an informal consortium of charities? Why not create your own offering that hosts the community! Several of our CAGP chapters now use this strategy to great success and community engagement. The advisors would be involved and may be called upon to form your expert panel.  I participate in such annual series in two close-knit communities about 1.5 hours away from Toronto, led by the local hospital foundation that involves various charities from the local hospital and community foundations to health and social service charities.  The hospital foundation takes the lead in terms of marketing, promotion, and organizing, and all smaller local charities and advisors participate, have a voice, and invite guests. The coordinated effort helps defray costs, inform a wider audience, and actually provides a better experience for the charities, advisors and guests.  Here is a photo of the advisor panel from a most recent event.

As part of this national CAGP blog, we would appreciate receiving your comments and ideas that may be helpful to readers on how you have galvanized your community to advance this important work – so all Canadians can leave a legacy!

Let’s get out there, have some conversations, and get busy celebrating lives and impact, and advancing philanthropy! It’s a real privilege to serve in this sector among an amazing community of charities and advisors, sponsors and champions.

Resources & great reads this month:

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