As professionals and fundraisers, your team’s communication skills are top notch when you’re talking about your mission, programs, and the funds needed to fill the immediate gaps. But it’s sometimes hard to master the nuances of talking with donors about investing in your organization for the long term.

Whether you’re discussing a charitable remainder trust, bargain sale, designated fund, or endowment gift, securing a legacy gift through a complex charitable transaction requires a multi-step dialogue with the donor. Of course, you can call the community foundation team to help you with legal and tax aspects of the gift while the mission part of the ask thrives in your capable hands.

Here is a four-step process that can help you land large legacy gifts in 2022.

1. Affirm your donor’s choices

Donors want to give to the aspects of your programs that are important to them. Further, they want to be acknowledged for their contributions no matter how big or small. It’s simple to put donors at ease when you start the conversation by thanking them for their gifts to date and then confirm that they’ve made giving choices that are much appreciated by your organization as well as the people your organization serves. This is an ideal conversation to have in January, so pull up records of past gifts and start reaching out to donors to share your organization’s positive results.

2. Offer your donors opportunities for education

As the year progresses, find creative ways to keep your donors informed about your mission and your team’s accomplishments. Remember also that donors want to stay ahead of the curve on tax law changes and the latest giving trends. The community foundation can help you stay up-to-date on hot topics such as the options available to donors if they have stock or land to give, for example, or the latest news out of Washington that might impact giving. Ongoing education can go a long way to increasing your chances of landing a large legacy or endowment gift when December rolls around.

3. Inspire your donors

Those late spring and summer months are an ideal time for storytelling. Tax issues are not weighing heavily on donors, nor are donors yet gearing up for year-end gifts. It’s a good time to create and share a few case studies (with donor permission, of course) involving real donors who have made large, complex gifts to your organization and the positive impact of those gifts on real peoples’ lives. Maximize these stories in your social media posts, donor communications, press releases, and event talking points. Donors love learning from each other.

4. Motivate your donors

When fall rolls around, you will be ready to motivate your donors by appealing to their desire to pass along the importance of giving to their children and grandchildren. A donor can launch a multi-generation legacy by making an endowment gift, by structuring a designated fund at the community foundation to support your nonprofit, or by creating a charitable remainder trust. The community foundation team can support you as you help your donors make important decisions to ensure that the family’s next generation will stay involved with your nonprofit in the years and decades ahead.