Leaving a legacy

This was the topic of a seminar for lawyers and financial planners held recently in Toronto to raise awareness of the many charitable organizations in the Ukrainian community. Organized by the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation and sponsored by Ukrainian Credit Union, I had the distinct pleasure of presenting the Shevchenko Foundation at this event.

When people consider leaving a bequest in their will for charity, more often than not, they want to do more than leave your organization a few dollars. They want to leave a legacy. One of the best ways to do this is to set up a Designated Fund or a Memorial Fund which offers a wonderful opportunity to ensure that a family’s name lives on in perpetuity and that the funds will be spent on a project or activity about which the donor was passionate.

Our challenge, as charities, is to work with donors to ensure that they are aware of the many ways in which they can support our organization. They also need to understand that we are willing to work with them to ensure that their wishes are fulfilled. It’s never easy or pleasant to talk about death, but if we are not speaking to our donors, be assured that someone else undoubtedly is.

The Shevchenko Foundation, a charity which promotes the advancement of Ukrainian culture in Canada, developed a unique program called the Kobzar Fellowship. Individuals who name the Foundation in their will are publicly inducted into the Fellowship, recognized and thanked for their generosity. What a novel concept!

What are you doing to encourage your donors and supporters to leave a legacy?

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