Online wills are a relatively new addition to the nonprofit environment and that unfamiliarity leads some bequest managers to worry that their organisation might not be a suitable fit.
Perhaps their supporter base is fairly small, their resources are already stretched, or their organisation focuses on a particularly sensitive cause area.
In reality, online wills have been successfully adopted by nonprofits of every size, scope, and sector – both here and in overseas markets.
In the US, online will platform FreeWill has over 1,150 nonprofit partners. Its UK counterpart, Farewill, works with over 270 charities and nonprofits.
In Australia, a similar supportive sentiment is growing. Despite launching online wills just two years ago, Gathered Here already partners with over 170 nonprofits, charities and foundations.
These partners vary wildly and no two look exactly alike. They range from one-person microcharities through to internationally recognised nonprofits with thousands of employees.
Some are operated entirely remotely while others have a wide network of brick and mortar locations. Some have been in operation for over 100 years while others are still in their infancy.
These organisations also cover the full spectrum of cause areas including animals and wildlife, arts and culture, children and young adults, climate and environment, health and medical, humanitarian, religious, research and education, social services and even sporting clubs.
Many of these organisations are seeing phenomenal success with their online will programs. In 2022, an estimated $224 million was pledged to nonprofits via the Gathered Here platform.
While some cause areas naturally claim a higher percentage of gifts (animal, health, humanitarian and children’s charities are among the most popular) nonprofits across every sector received gifts.
Even the sectors that saw a smaller percentage of gifts were greatly buoyed by the support they did receive. For example, the arts and culture sector claimed around 1% of all gifts pledged but those gifts were still worth several million dollars.
One Gathered Here partner, a small charity founded to support musicians and support staff, received 15 gifts over the course of a year. Just one of those gifts was estimated to be worth over $330,000.
With such a vast variety of charities and nonprofits embracing online wills, it’s no surprise that their capacity for investment is just as varied. Some are working with extremely tight deadlines while others have a budget most charities can only dream of.
But, regardless of their resources, each organisation is able to create an online will program which perfectly suits its unique needs.
Some nonprofits take advantage of Gathered Here’s completely free, pro bono package while others have invested tens of thousands of dollars into promoting legacy giving to new and existing supporters. Many fall somewhere in between.
Importantly, this flexibility allows nonprofits to make a savvy investment which is low-risk for their specific organisation, while still having the capacity to be high-reward.
With stringent obligations to manage donor funds responsibly, the nonprofit sector will always be a risk averse one. However, integrating online wills into a bequest strategy doesn’t have to be a risky endeavour. It can be low-cost, low-touch and is easily reversible if required.
While it’s impossible to say with 100% certainty that online wills are suitable for every organisation, many signs suggest the vast majority of charities and nonprofits can benefit from building online wills into their legacy giving programs.
Do you have a question for the team at Gathered Here? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about online wills, visit Gathered Here.