Many people are strong champions of non-profits and support them in a variety of ways: by volunteering, taking part in events or donating money as gifts to the organization.
Non-profits provide invaluable services to the communities in which they serve. These can range from organizations that provide vital safety nets for the disadvantaged – think food banks or Meals on Wheels programs – to performing arts organizations. Nearly all are dependent on some type of financial support to continue operations. Many no longer exist as a result of the last recession.
For those still in operation, money is the lifeblood that keeps them offering their services, paying staff their salaries and keeping the lights on. As a long time board member of several non-profits, I can attest to the financial anxiety the executives face each month. These are the short term pressures. Longer term, they hope for the generosity by those donors who leave the non-profit in their wills and trusts.
Most people, when they hear the term legacy gift, think of those of great wealth who have set up elaborate trusts and certainly have the money to leave as a gift. However, there is another very easy way to support your non-profit that costs nothing and literally can take just a few minutes to implement. Add the non-profit as a beneficiary to your life insurance policy.
You don’t have to be wealthy to do this. In fact, even a gift of a couple of hundred dollars can be specified to come out of your life insurance policy’s death benefit to the non-profit.
All it takes is a call to your life insurance agent or to your policy’s insurance company, ask which form they need to add a beneficiary, then add what you like ( a percent, a fraction of a percent or a dollar amount) and return it to the insurer.
That’s it. And like a will, you can always change who the beneficiaries are anytime (for example, if the non-profit goes out of business before you do!)
Of course, if your policy is a term policy, odds are you will outlive it and it will expire, along with your gift. To insure a legacy to your family (and favorite charity) you will need a permanent life policy, and there are several types. Most will require medical underwriting to qualify, so your health may be a factor.
Let the non-profit know you have named them as a beneficiary – often they will consider being a beneficiary as a gift and recognize you as such a donor.
But perhaps more important than the recognition is knowing that you will have helped that organization to continue doing the good work that attracted you to it in the first place.