The Nonprofit Hero Factory: Episode 39

How to Build and Grow Nonprofit Legacy Programs, with Ligia Peña

In this Episode:

How do you build and grow a nonprofit legacy gift program at the most sensitive time in modern history?

Legacy planning can be tough to talk about in general… but during a pandemic that has claimed millions of lives might be the toughest. And yet, we have a responsibility. Not to our organizations, but to the people who care about the issues we’re tackling. We owe them the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the world.

When legacy inquiries spiked 300% last year, nonprofits that had well-established gift-in-will programs found themselves better-equipped to maintain their funding and services. They were also in a better position to honor the hopes of their supporters for a better future.

Legacy fundraising consultant Ligia Peña helps organizations create or reboot their legacy programs systematically. She joins us on the show to share how nonprofits of all sizes can identify and track the most important key performance indicators, creating simple dashboards that assess the health of the program.

Listen to this Episode

[00:00:05.150] – Intro
Welcome to The Nonprofit Hero Factory, a weekly live video broadcast and podcast where we’ll be helping nonprofit leaders and innovators create more heroes for their cause and a better world for all of us. Da-Ding.

[00:00:21.790] – Boris
Hi, everybody. Welcome back to The Nonprofit Hero Factory. I’m excited to present a topic today that we haven’t talked about on the show before but is really critical. We’re in the heart of the giving season right now. As you’re watching or listening to this episode, I’m sure your campaigns are in full swing, and you may or may not be really paying attention to one very important aspect of your fundraising at this time specifically, although I hope it’s part of your bigger picture, which is legacy fundraising. And it’s never really easy necessarily to talk about legacy fundraising, especially when it comes to talking to donors about their legacy gifts and well, when a legacy gift might kick in.

[00:01:00.140] – Boris
But we have someone with us today who is not just a professional when it comes to helping organizations develop their legacy programs but also helps them figure out how to talk about legacy programs so that it’s not as awkward and makes it easier to then connect with audiences and get them to… well, take the actions you need them to take so you could create a better world for all of us.

[00:01:22.980] – Boris
Her name is Ligia Peña. Ligia is a CFRE and President of Globetrotting Fundraiser, where she specializes in helping nonprofits with their fundraising and legacy strategy. She’s also a PhD candidate at the University of Kent, researching national legacy marketing campaigns as a tool to change society’s behavior towards gifts in wills. As an AFP master trainer, she’s trained countless fundraisers around the globe. She’s a sought-after and seasoned international presenter who enjoys sharing her knowledge and empowering nonprofit professionals to think about legacies differently by daring to be creative and innovative. Her superpower, Ligia, describes as teaching nonprofits how to structurally build or reboot their legacy program while making talking about death fun.

[00:02:07.760] – Boris
With that, let’s welcome Ligia onto the show to tell us more of her story. Hi, Ligia.

[00:02:13.240] – Ligia Pena
Hi. Thank you for having me.

[00:02:15.510] – Boris
Thanks so much for joining me today. So for those that don’t know, which is probably everybody listening, Ligia and I are in an ongoing consultant’s support network, if you will, for nonprofit consultants. And it’s been great getting to know you Ligia over the last I don’t know few months now that I’ve been involved and frankly to learn from you. So I’m really excited to have you on the show to share a lot of your wisdom that you’ve accumulated over the years with all of us.

[00:02:41.760] – Ligia Pena
Oh, likewise. Thank you so much. I’m very excited to talk about legacy. It’s something that I can talk about for hours and hours and hours. So we’ll try to cram as much as possible in this podcast.

[00:02:54.100] – Boris
Yeah. I wish I could make the podcast as long as it really needs to be to deliver all the information that any of my guests want to share, which is awesome and incredibly valuable. But there’s this thing called life that people want to get on with sometimes. I don’t get it personally.

[00:03:11.750] – Ligia Pena
I know. Phew!

[00:03:14.050] – Boris
Let’s dive in Ligia with your story. So I read your bio. You’re clearly an impressive individual, but what got you here? Why are you doing the work that you’re doing now?

[00:03:26.290] – Ligia Pena
I’m doing this particular work because my work as a fundraiser for the first 15 years was as a small shop generalist. And after 15 years of doing pretty much the same thing over and over again in different charities, obviously adapting and learning and expanding. It became very clear that what I really felt like—the areas of fundraising where I felt that I was working in my zone of genius was in the relationship fundraising element, not the transactional fundraising area of fundraising. And to me, doing planned giving, as we tend to call it here in North America or legacy or gifts in wills is really the epitome to me of relationship fundraising.

[00:04:14.740] – Ligia Pena
And so I started doing planned giving many years ago and then ended up getting this fantastic job working for an international NGO as their global legacy person. And there was no turning back from that point forward. And so now I’m consulting.

[00:04:33.550] – Boris
Yes, you are. And lucky clients that do get to work with you. But for those that haven’t and don’t really know as much as you do, for example, on the subject. Let’s talk a little bit about what’s going on in the nonprofit space and specifically, of course, in the planned giving or the legacy giving world. I’m sure things have gotten a little more intense or shaken up during the pandemic as every other aspect has. Talk to me, what’s going on out there? What are you seeing?

[00:05:04.090] – Ligia Pena
It’s really interesting because, you know necessity… What’s that expression? Necessity is the mother of…

[00:05:12.310] – Boris
Necessity is the mother of invention.

[00:05:13.670] – Ligia Pena
Exactly. And despite all of the elements of the pandemic that have been absolutely horrendous and sad and upsetting and stressful, et cetera, that everyone experienced globally. When it comes… when I look at the impact of a pandemic on legacies specifically, and this is something that I’ve observed not only in North America but across the world, is that it pushed fundraisers and charities to adopt new ways of engaging with donors and new ways to talk about the topic of legacies.

[00:05:52.550] – Ligia Pena
Because what happened? If we go to… if we go back in time to March through June, July of 2020, what happened is charities that would on average receive two or three notifications per month of a legacy, suddenly were getting 20, 50 notifications per month. They were getting 20 or 30 inquiries on how to leave a gift in their will per week. So this is… and lawyers and notaries around the world and online will writing services saw in the upwards of 300% increase in business. And so that just really pushed the sector to look at legacies through a different lens. And that is something that’s super exciting to me as a legacy nerd.

[00:06:52.250] – Boris
So on the one hand, of course, it’s tragic and there’s a lot of tragedy happening.

[00:06:58.310] – Ligia Pena
Of course.

[00:06:58.310] – Boris
And on the other hand, it’s a critical time for organizations to be looking at their legacy programs, to be optimizing them to figure out better communications, better tracking, better everything in order to really not just benefit from it but honestly—and I’m sure this is how most people including yourself think about it is give people the opportunity to make a lasting impact, whatever may happen during a tragedy like the pandemic that has befallen the entire world at this point.

[00:07:32.630] – Ligia Pena
Oh, absolutely. And I want our listeners to know I’m not making light of the pandemic at all. But here’s what happens is that by looking at the numbers and I’m just projecting here because I don’t think anyone has done the research yet. It’s definitely something I’m interested in probably doing a bit of a small research project on is looking at the charities in 2020 and 2021 that have been able to weather the storm, the pandemic storm, or have managed to continue operating with minimal impact. I wonder how many of those are those who had a legacy program that was functioning, was generating income versus those that did not, my suspicion—and again, I’m just projecting. And my assumption is this, but it hasn’t been proven yet—

[00:08:33.820] – Ligia Pena
My assumption is those that were focusing… who had fundraising programs that were all about small transactions or transactional fundraising. Short-term funding probably paid the price a lot more than those that had their nest egg being legacies. Because when you look at it, if you were to take the concept of fundraise… a diversified fundraising program and you transform that into an example of what it is that—how you invest for your own future. Well, basically, a legacy program and gifts in wills are the equivalent of your 401 (k) in the US, right? Or whatever pension plan you have. It’s that money that in the future is going to come in and when you need it, you can tap into it.

[00:09:24.380] – Ligia Pena
Well, a lot of charities still don’t understand that concept. That that’s what a planned giving program is. So they keep saying, well, my paycheck is in two weeks, therefore, that’s what I live on. It’s not sustainable. You lose your job from one day to the next, and now you’re unemployed, and that’s what a lot of people saw during the pandemic.

[00:09:44.450] – Ligia Pena
Anyway, I don’t want to over extend the metaphor, but that’s basically—charities need to look at planned giving programs through that lens and start doing that. Because let’s look at back in 2009 when the… in 2008 and 9 when the economy tanked. The organizations that weathered the storm as well during that are those that probably had a planned giving program and a major gift program.

[00:10:11.270] – Boris
No, I think that’s really fascinating. I would love to see that study if you would be able to put it together. I think it will definitely bring to light a lot of things. From what I have seen—and I haven’t talked to a lot of organizations about their legacy programs, but I have talked about their individual giving programs over the last year and a half. It’s the ones that were able to pivot or that were already in a position where they were most capable of helping the biggest number of people in communities that were impacted by the pandemic.

[00:10:45.510] – Boris
A lot of them were actually able to grow. Foundations poured more money into it. But I think… And again, really interested if you are able to do this study to see the results, if you could break them out by the category of services that the organization provides, the ones that were not directly or maybe even secondarily providing relief to people during the pandemic and didn’t have a great legacy program, or how did a legacy program impact them? I think that’s going to be where the biggest gap is probably going to be. Again, just like I’m guessing here, but that’s my take on the state of things right now.

[00:11:27.590] – Ligia Pena
That’s definitely an interesting hypothesis that should be layered into that. Absolutely. That’d be really interesting. So we’ll talk after.

[00:11:36.770] – Boris
You and I can gather our data and studies as much as we want. But let’s get back to some of the things that I think our listeners and viewers would really love to learn from you, which is: with these trends that are going on right now with everything happening, what is it that we need to do and can do in order to optimize and really measure our results in terms of legacy giving programs? And I know you talk a lot about data and about dashboards. I’d love to get your insights on that. What are the KPIs that we should really be tracking? What should we be looking for as we’re coming out of the pandemic? What should we be thinking about?

[00:12:23.030] – Ligia Pena
So, and what I’m about to share—it really applies whether we would have gone through a pandemic or not—I think to me is a fundamental thing that needs to change. Like when we started the call is, what are some of the challenges that we see? Well, I think a big issue that I see and everyone reports on legacies differently, but the most traditional way that organizations have been reporting on legacies is income. Well, income is just a really tiny snapshot of how many estates have been settled during the year. But it says absolutely nothing about the effort that your legacy fundraiser is doing today. It basically is reporting on something that you have absolutely no control of.

[00:13:13.690] – Ligia Pena
So how can you be developed as a fundraising director, as a CEO, how can you make strategic fundraising decisions about your legacy program when what you’re using as your benchmark to make those decisions is something you have absolutely zero control of? So go back to the drawing board and define your key performance indicators based on elements that you can control, that you can actually make business decisions to ensure that you continually push and advance your legacy program as well as your legacy professional, because your KPIs need to be evaluating both the program and the professional.

[00:13:59.780] – Ligia Pena
So some of the things that in the dashboard that I introduced to the organizations that I work with looks at some broad-based KPIs and then some specific KPIs. And the specific KPIs are based on the pipeline model that they decide to integrate. So it’s a pipeline of who you inquire… who you acquire from within your database or outside of your database to engage in the legacy conversation. What are the different stages of that journey? And then up until the point where you convert them into a legacy pledger.

[00:14:39.960] – Ligia Pena
So those are the specific KPIs that you should be looking at. How many new inquiries have you received? How many of those inquirers have turned into considerers? How many of those considerers have turned into intenders? And how many of those intenders converted into a pledge? Right. So those are things you can control strategically, through your marketing, through your engagement, through your conversations, through different ways. So those are the specific ones.

[00:15:09.160] – Ligia Pena
Next is then looking at more managerial type of KPIs is how many communications are being sent out? How many engagement… How much comms is being sent out to donors? How many individual one-on-one conversations your fundraiser is having with donors? And so this is done—and there’s additional—there’s like way more KPIs. But if you’re starting from scratch or if you’re currently reporting on things that you can’t control and you want to start integrating this element, start with those things. Look at your pipeline and identify KPIs that challenge you, to grow that pipeline. I know I keep harboring on the pipeline element, but that’s because it’s the most important piece of your fundraising program to ensure that you do get that money.

[00:16:08.430] – Ligia Pena
So it’s not the number of people who have raised their hand, although that’s obviously important, but it’s the number of people that you bring into the funnel, and how many you move ahead. And what happens oftentimes is that organizations are really good at the acquisition element, but then do a terrible job at converting and bringing them to the end of that funnel. And so that’s the key to the success of your legacy program is the conversion element.

[00:16:38.830] – Boris
So I really appreciate you being as specific as you just were. And I understand that you can’t be completely specific because every organization is going to be slightly different. And the way that they’re going to set up their pipeline or funnel—either metaphor—is going to be a little bit different, but it is critical to figure out what the most important KPIs are for each organization. And it sounds like—and correct me if I’m wrong here, you’ve basically broken them down into inputs, outputs, and outcomes. Where the inputs are, okay, here’s what we’ve done: here’s how many calls we’ve made, how many emails we’ve sent, how many follow ups we’ve had, how many conversations in-person meetings we may have have, right? Then the outputs are, okay, here’s how many people responded, here’s how many people were interested and that ladder that you spoke about… three different stages of interested or inquiring, you said?

[00:17:34.690] – Ligia Pena
Inquirers, considerers, intenders and pledgers.

[00:17:37.870] – Boris
Oh, so four levels?

[00:17:39.118] – Ligia Pena

[00:17:40.270] – Boris
Right. And so pledger is ultimately the outcome that you want when somebody has pledged?

[00:17:45.260] – Ligia Pena
Correct. The person that said, “You’re in my will, we’re good.” Yeah.

[00:17:50.350] – Boris
When they do that, do they declare a specific amount?

[00:17:53.950] – Ligia Pena
Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. So what you do want to be doing is having that additional conversation with the donor when they confirm that they have included your charity in their will, they say, “Well, we would love to have the opportunity to honor your gift and to thank you and to recognize you. Would you be willing to share with us the terms or the amounts or is it a specific gift? Is it a residual gift? What is it that you want?” And then that enables you also to have that conversation of, “did you have an intention of having your bequest be dedicated—not dedicated but reserved for like a particular project? Do you want it designated?”

[00:18:39.026] – Boris

[00:18:39.530] – Ligia Pena
Yeah. “Designated to a specific project or program that we’re running?” And so that enables you then to engage in that conversation and et cetera.

[00:18:51.950] – Boris
Right. We map these out, all these KPIs onto some sort of a dashboard, and then we could essentially look and see what results we’re producing long before we get the eventual bequest, the eventual donation?

[00:19:06.290] – Ligia Pena
Absolutely. Because if you’re reporting this, whether you do it on a quarterly basis or at a six-month mark, et cetera, then you can see trends of what’s happening. So, for instance, if I put my fundraising director hat on and my legacy officer brings me this, and I see that quarter after quarter, I don’t see any movement in the conversion from stages to stages. Then that would be the time—that would be a red flag for me to have a conversation, okay, what’s happening here? Why aren’t any of these donors being converted? Why isn’t this flowing?

[00:19:43.250] – Ligia Pena
Because, of course, when you go into legacy fundraising, you’re in it for the long term. This is not an ask and it comes in. Okay? So we know that. But your pipeline has to keep moving. So if I keep seeing that my legacy fundraiser keeps adding a lot of inquiries, but none of those inquiries are moving into considerers or intenders, then I need to have a serious conversation with them. Is it because we’re not investing enough? Is it because they’re overworked or are they just not the right person to be managing the program?

[00:20:15.780] – Ligia Pena
So you want to look at it from a business perspective. Is your program progressing? Because the last thing you want is to have a situation where 20 years from now, you suddenly have very few legacies coming in. Why? Because none of those donors were engaged with. None of those donors were converted.

[00:20:36.780] – Ligia Pena
I can tell you one organization I know for sure in a country they did that. They had a legacy officer for many, many years, and all she did was just maintain the relationship with donors who had already confirmed their gift. But she was not doing any acquisition or any conversion. They ended up being promoted to a team leader position. They hired a new legacy fundraiser. I was brought in to go sit down onboard her and look at their program. And then we realized that for the last ten years, there was no acquisition, no conversion done. And now they were facing a significant funding shortfall because they always depended on that legacy income, and the well had pretty much dried up.

[00:21:25.130] – Boris

[00:21:25.130] – Ligia Pena
And it’s not something that you can replace in five minutes. It takes years.

[00:21:31.070] – Boris
So it’s critical to have this information available and accessible, perhaps reporting to the board, perhaps at least reporting to the executive director or CEO, whatever you have at the top of your organization. How do we do this? How do we put it together? When I think of a dashboard, I’m a marketing and data geek. So I think of a dashboard as something with charts and inputs and outputs already kind of meshed together. And there are tools that I know of for marketing purposes. But for a lot of people that might feel technical or too technical to get set up, what do we actually need to do? What are some of the tools that we could use to make this as simple as possible?

[00:22:14.730] – Ligia Pena
I can’t take credit for the dashboard that I have because it was someone else that had created it from scratch. I just modified it and adapted it to the needs. Excel. I have it on an Excel spreadsheet. Honestly, I went as low tech as possible because I never want to assume that someone else knows how to use these other tools. And there’s a lot of things like there’s a lot of tools out there, Tableau software and all of these other pay services that you can use, and they’re great. They’re fancy, but most people don’t know how to use it. I can’t be bothered to learn it. And the Excel spreadsheet most people do, and most people know how to input formulas.

[00:22:56.570] – Ligia Pena
So on my resource page on my website, I have a template of a dashboard that people can download and then turn into an Excel spreadsheet. And that’s it. That’s all you need to do, really. Keep it as simple as possible. And what I often tell my bootcamp participants or my clients is, you don’t need to report on all of the elements that are in the dashboard that I created. Just pick the first three or four or five however you think is more relevant to your organization, do those really well. And then as you get more and more sophisticated, add new KPIs, add new elements. Don’t think that you need to do absolutely everything. Just do what you can actually control for now, and you can actually report on and then improve from that point forward.

[00:23:47.310] – Boris
So I love what you said about keeping it as simple as possible. The best tool is the one that you know how to use and can use in the moment, that it’s available to you in the moment. If you have the time and bandwidth to develop something custom, to develop something larger or use one of these bigger platforms. And Tableau is probably the biggest one and probably too complex for 99% of people out there. But that certainly shows the range something from as simple as an Excel sheet to a package like Tableau that will do so many advanced things that data scientists can use, but the rest of us don’t really need to. And I know that there’s a data package from Google. I forget what the—Google Data Studio, I think it’s called.

[00:24:30.620] – Ligia Pena
Yeah, it is great.

[00:24:31.750] – Boris
Yeah, and fairly easy to use and then can be easily—you could package reports, basically export reports out of that on any sort of a regular basis and then share them with the team whomever that might be.

[00:24:45.240] – Ligia Pena
That’s actually what we used to use at Greenpeace.

[00:24:48.210] – Boris
There you go. So once you have this report going, and by the way, I love that you offer this. I’ve seen the tool that you offer. I think it’s super simple, straightforward. It doesn’t feel like some fancy dashboard. It feels like, oh, I just need to plug in some numbers over here and track my progress over time. And you offer a lot of great resources on your website. We’re going to link to as many of them as we can. You’ve got most of them on your resources page right there for people. So we’ll be sure to include that in the show notes.

[00:25:18.300] – Boris
One other resource, speaking of which, that you have on there, which I personally love is that you have examples of legacy pages that work on your website. Can you talk to me a little bit about that?

[00:25:32.970] – Ligia Pena
Yeah. That’s a work-in-progress, because I often get asked by organizations for examples of good legacy pages or in-memory pages. And truth be told, there’s a lot of really terrible ones. So whenever I come across something that I find fits within what the research tells us of how to talk to donors about legacies, I just put it in there. So honestly, I should go and add like, what are the things that I like about every page and what other fundraisers should be on the lookout for because it has to be educational. Right?

[00:26:14.310] – Ligia Pena
So that’s why… so those are pages that have been sent to me or that when I was doing research, I came across and went, oh, my goodness. But I find when it comes—because this is about a lot of storytelling as well. One organization that honestly is perhaps one of the organizations does storytelling the best is RNLI in the UK. It is absolutely insane how well they tell the story. It’s the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, RNLI. And their web page is fantastic, and their YouTube channel is fantastic for like heartfelt storytelling.

[00:27:00.680] – Boris
I’m excited to check them out. And you got exactly to the heart of why I was thrilled with the pages that you have on your side. I didn’t get to all of them, but the few that I looked at honestly, what makes them great is the storytelling. And I talk about donation page storytelling. I’ve never actually really looked at legacy pages specifically, but it’s the same kind of concept of you need to tell the story. You need to make sure that it connects to your audience. And I saw that the visuals were good, that the videos were right there and easy to see, that the impact was on the page. It had a great complete story on there with ways that people could jump in and get involved.

[00:27:41.260] – Boris
So I’m happy to go through if you’d like to break it down for you and say exactly why it’s working. And even maybe in some ways, that some of them might improve similar to what I do for donation pages for a lot of my clients and occasionally just for fun for people. But, yeah, it’s really the story that works. And you’re talking about… what potentially without your organization, without a nonprofit is the end of someone’s story when it comes to working with a certain cause or cause that they believe in, and you’re offering them—once again, giving them a call to action and offering them the superpower, the ability to have a legacy impact on a cause that they really care about. And it’s critical.

[00:28:27.720] – Ligia Pena
Exactly. And going back to the introduction that you did at the beginning of the podcast where you said that I make death—talking about death fun. A lot of it is that—and to your point about the website is that—in legacies, it’s not that you talk about death and we make it fun. It’s that it’s fun to talk about life and leaving a gift in a will is to talk with the donor about the lives that they live, the values that were important. Because through their gift in their will, they can reach symbolic immortality and academic research.

[00:29:07.160] – Ligia Pena
Actually, one of my research supervisors wrote her PhD thesis on the importance of symbolic immortality in legacy marketing, and that’s what we do. And I think once we understand that, it’s incredibly powerful to know. And I think it’ll take that fear away from fundraisers to say, “Oh, my gosh, I don’t feel comfortable talking about death.” Well, no, you need to understand that this is not about death. It’s about that symbolic immortality that a donor will have through that gift in their will. And in order to do that, you need to talk about the life that they lived.

[00:29:45.490] – Ligia Pena
And that’s why another resource that I really believe that fundraisers should read is this book by Dr. Russell James out of Texas Tech University. Let me see if I can hold it up. Inside the Mind of the Bequest Donor, which is also hyperlinked. A PDF version of the book is also hyperlinked on my research page. I think it’s a must read for every fundraiser that is interested or is currently working in the area of legacies. It’s incredibly important because it talks about the neurological aspect of—the parts of the brain that are activated when donors talk about gifts in wills, or read legacy marketing.

[00:30:27.610] – Boris
Ligia, you must have been reading my mind because the next thing I wanted to ask you was, what are some tools and resources aside from all the ones on your site that we are going to absolutely link to, that you recommend to people. So that book Inside the Mind of the Bequest Donor we’ll definitely link to that. And it’s great that it’s available on your site as well for download. Is there anything else that you recommend people check out in terms of the state of the industry, if that’s an appropriate term for legacy giving?

[00:30:57.610] – Ligia Pena
So, The Giving Institute also published in 2019, I think it was. Yes, I think it was in 2019 or 2020, sorry. Fall of ’19. Leaving a Legacy: A New Look at Planned Giving Donors. So I think that’s a must for fundraisers working in the US and it’s only $69. So click download, boom, you’ve got it. So that’s another great place. Reading anything that comes up. So I’m going to declare my bias here because I am doing my PhD I’m very much about read the academic research coming out. So things that Jen Shang and Adrian Sargeant are writing about donor motivation, donor psychology. Incredibly important. They publish a lot of stuff. You can find them on their website.

[00:31:49.040] – Ligia Pena
Claire Rowley, another academic friend and thesis supervisor. Dr. Russell James, that I mentioned as well. These are academics that are straddling academia and being practitioners. And so it’s important as fundraisers, and it’s incumbent on us to read the research because that’s where we know if we apply what—the researchers have actually done the test for us. All we need to do is apply it in our daily practice.

[00:32:22.570] – Boris
And I love research and figuring out how to apply it, especially when it comes to human behavior, behavioral economics, behavioral psychology, behavioral sciences in general, how we can really help people make the best choices for themselves and for the world around them when it comes to working with nonprofit organizations or NGOs, whatever they might be in your part of the world.

[00:32:45.730] – Boris
Ligia, thank you so much for being on the show today and sharing all of this. This has been a wonderful conversation. I’ve learned a lot, and hopefully the audience at home has too. Do you have any call to action for those of us that—for all of our listeners and viewers that have made it this far and are fascinated by the work that you’re doing?

[00:33:06.010] – Ligia Pena
Keep reading, ask questions. Don’t be afraid to doubt yourself and then seek advice from myself or from others in the sector that work in this realm and keep pushing. Keep the pushing the envelopes. Learn about what’s going on in other markets and then apply that learning to your own.

[00:33:27.190] – Boris
Definitely. Well, thank you again so much.

[00:33:30.410] – Ligia Pena
Thank you.

[00:33:31.690] – Boris
And thank you everybody who joined us today for this episode of The Nonprofit Hero Factory with Ligia Peña. If you enjoyed this episode and learned something that you might be able to apply to your organization, any idea that has sparked in your mind that can help you create more heroes for your cause, then this was a good day for me and for Ligia. Thank you for joining us. Please share, like, and leave a review on iTunes or your favorite platform so that more nonprofit professionals like yourself can discover experts like Ligia and create a better world for all of us.

[00:34:04.450] – Boris
Bye bye, everybody.

[00:34:05.550] – Outro
Thank you all for watching and listening to The Nonprofit Hero Factory. We hope this episode has given you some ideas and strategies for creating more heroes for your cause and a better world for all of us. Please be sure to subscribe to this show on YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, Spotify or your favorite podcast platform and let us know what you think by leaving a review.

Concepts and Takeaways:

  • Nonprofits saw a large jump and the legacy planning industry saw a 300% spike in June and July of 2020, largely because of the pandemic. (5:55)
  • Nonprofits with better-established legacy programs were in a better position to weather the pandemic, even if short-term donations slowed down. (8:33)
  • One of the biggest mistakes that organizations make is tracking legacies in terms of income, which says nothing about the current efforts of fundraisers. (12:23)
  • Your KPIs should be defined on elements that you can actually control to help you make the right business decisions. (13:31)
    • Inquirers – How many new inquiries have you received?
    • Considerers – How many of those inquirers have turned into considerers?
    • Intenders – How many of those considerers have turned into intenders?
    • Pledgers – How many of those intenders converted into a pledge?
  • Once your performance KPIs are established, look at your managerial KPIs for your funnel, like: How much communications are being sent out? How many 1:1 conversations are fundraisers having with donors? (15:09)
    • The key to the success of your program is the conversion element in your funnel.
  • The funnel KPIs should essentially measure your inputs, outputs and outcomes (gifts in wills). (16:38)
  • Gift amounts aren’t always specified, but there are several conversational approaches to having them declared. (17:50)
  • These KPIs and associated dashboards should quickly show whether you’re making progress and securing more legacy gifts, versus resting on laurels. (20:20)
  • You don’t need elaborate custom tools. The dashboard can be set up easily in Excel. If you want to take it to the next level, you can try Google Data Studio. (22:14)
  • You also don’t need to dive into the deep end with tracking KPIs. Start with just a few (3–5), and add more as you progress and get more sophisticated with your program. (23:12)
  • Ligia curates a collection of great legacy fundraising web pages that are great at storytelling. (25:18)
  • You shouldn’t be talking to people about death, you should be talking about the opportunity to extend their impact in line with their own values. (27:57)
  • There are great texts and ongoing research being conducted in the realms of behavior and legacy giving. Staying current with researchers like the ones Ligia recommends can dramatically increase your effectiveness. (29:45)

Action Steps: What Now?

About this week’s guest

Ligia Peña

Ligia Peña

President, GlobetrottingFundraiser

Ligia Peña, CFRE is President of GlobetrottingFundraiser where she specializes in helping nonprofits with their fundraising and legacy strategy. She’s also a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kent, researching national legacy marketing campaigns as a tool to change society’s behaviour towards gifts in wills. As an AFP Master Trainer, she’s trained countless fundraisers around the globe. She’s a sought-after and seasoned international presenter who enjoys sharing her knowledge and empowering nonprofits professionals to think about legacies differently by daring to be creative and innovative.

Connect with Ligia Peña