Because of Bob

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Who is Bob? And what does he have to do with ActivateLegacy?

Bob was a long-time member of the nonprofit organization where I previously worked.  He had served on the executive board for over 15 years and truly believed in the organization’s mission.

Bob was your typical “salt of the earth,” guy: recently retired after spending his entire career with the same company; married for 40 years; living in the same modest  neighborhood home for 30 of those years. Everything about Bob was middle class and quite frankly… ordinary. He dutifully gave his board gift – a couple of hundred dollars each year – and he would attend a special event or two, but Bob was not on anybody’s radar for a major gift.

My organization had been around for nearly a hundred years, but like so many other nonprofits, had never spent much time focusing on planned giving or attempting to create a planned giving culture.  As we approached our centennial, however, we realized that if we wanted to be around for the next 100 years, perhaps it was time.

Inspired by their message and success in helping families discover that they could do more that matters, we teamed up with a legacy consulting firm to help focus our new gift planning efforts. As a gift to our key volunteers, we invited them to a series of dinner presentations focusing on different aspects of estate planning. Bob agreed to attend our first presentation because he was a good board member and wanted to be supportive.  And, honestly, at the time I was thinking that I really needed some warm bodies to fill the room!

Bob attended the dinner presentation and was inspired and motivated enough to meet privately with the legacy advisor. He and his wife went to the initial meeting wondering if they had saved enough for retirement. After a couple of meetings, Bob and his wife gained clarity and confidence about their financial future for the first time – happily discovering they had a far greater financial capacity than they ever imagined. Four months after attending the dinner, Bob announced their plan to leave a bequest of over $1 million dollars to our organization!

It turns out Bob and his wife were classic “middle class millionaires next door” – the individuals and families that I am convinced every nonprofit has within their organization. There are an estimated 8.4 million millionaires in the United States – but the vast majority see themselves simply as “middle class” citizens. I believe that many of these families could make a significant difference for themselves, their children, and their communities if they could discover their true financial capacity.

So what about you?  Do you have anyone like Bob in your organization? I believe you do. You just need to discover who they are and help them realize their full philanthropic potential – a win-win situation for everyone.

And that’s how Bob inspired me to help create ActivateLegacy – to help nonprofits find their own Bobs – the hidden diamonds in their own backyards.

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