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Charities / Legacy Partners Programs

Legacy Partners Programs

Legacy Partners Programs -

What’s the problem we’re trying to solve?

With declining government grants, donor fatigue and growing competition for support from corporations and major donors, it is becoming a challenge to secure sustainable income to meet the operational and program needs of charitable organizations.  To be successful, charities need to develop sustainable sources of revenue.

What are the trends and opportunities?

The intergenerational transfer of wealth will peak over the next 15 years where the ‘savers’ will be transferring their wealth to a generation of ‘consumers’.  While the numbers vary, it is estimated there will be $1 trillion transferred in Canada.  However, parents are concerned that the wealth they transfer to the next generation will be cashed in to pay off debt.
In a survey conducted by Decima Research, 1 in 3 adults would leave a bequest if asked, however only 7% of Canadians have named a charity in their will.  Why the discrepancy?  Because the person has never been asked!  While many charities have developed annual giving programs, they don’t have the time or the expertise to ask their donors to name their charity to receive a bequest in their will.

What is one solution to develop a sustainable revenue source?

The Niagara Community Foundation launched a Legacy Partners Program in 2014 whereby we will be working with up to ten charities over a five year period providing the charities with support and resources to develop and implement a program to secure bequests and other estate gifts from the charity’s donors.  The gifts secured through this program would be placed in an endowment fund at the Foundation and the income earned would provide a sustainable revenue source. 
The goal is to secure between $3,000,000 and $5,000,000 in current and deferred gifts over the five year period.  The average estate gift to a charity in Canada is $25,000.  However, based on the Foundation’s experience our average estate gift has been $150,000 (excluding a $6 million gift received in 2012), all of which has gone into endowment funds.  We believe our average gift is higher because the gifts are endowed as opposed to being used for operating and program support.
The annual staffing cost to the charity partner is $6,300 which would be subsidized by an annual grant from the Foundation of $2,000 in each of the five years.  The Foundation has identified experienced consultants who would be contracted to work 6 full days, or equivalent, directly with the charity to mentor, coach, advise, meet and consult with the charity and their identified donors.  This fee would also cover 3 additional days of planning for the consultant. 
Charitable gift or estate planning enables many donors to consider an ultimate gift, exercising their full capacity – even when they may not consider themselves wealthy enough to do so.  This program is in essence a philanthropic advisory service that the charity would offer to their donors.  The planning sessions would be conducted in strictest confidence.  Individual donor information is not shared outside of the planning process and nothing is disclosed to the charity without the donor’s prior agreement and permission.  The planning process that would take place between the donor and the consultant shows how philanthropy can be integrated into their overall financial and wealth planning strategy, meeting their personal and family needs while providing the ability to be far more charitable than perhaps they previously thought possible. 
A first priority of this service is addressing the needs and concerns of the charity’s donors – not soliciting a gift.  By helping their donors feel more secure about their future, they will help to secure the charity’s future.  It should be noted that this process leads to broad-based community giving and support as most donors currently give to several organizations.
At the end of the five years, the charity would evaluate their next course of action (i.e. continue to fund the program on their own or have secured enough commitments to provide a sustainable source of income).   


Charities who have signed on to the Legacy Partners Program include: