Planting Legacy Seeds Today for a Vibrant, Thriving Future 

Planting Legacy Seeds Today for a Vibrant, Thriving Future 

When a 150-year-old tree at a Michigan university unexpectedly crashed to the ground during a storm, the grounds director knew what to do.  

“One day more than a decade ago—looking around the oak I discovered little trees coming up. Acorns were still attached to the root.” Huizinga had harvested some of the seedlings and transplanted them onto his property. Over the years they grew to become 20-foot trees. Today one fills the hole the original oak left behind.* 

Expecting the unexpected is par for the course in development work. The economy shifts, a generous annual giver passes away, or a staff member with lots of relationships leaves the organization. These are things you have no control over, but you can still protect your organization with some thoughtful planning. 

1. Find your hidden major donors. While most organizations approach their biggest-dollar donors with planned giving options, many pass up the chance to dig a little deeper into the donor file to find the mid-level donors who have a passion for your mission. Don’t ignore the “little guys,” they can be the seedlings that can grow into big legacy gifts someday. 

2. Plan for hard times. Though you don’t know when budget dollars will get shaved away, staff size will decrease, or donors will pull their purse strings tighter, you can bet that a robust pipeline of known legacy gifts will ensure a more secure future, even when times get tough.

3. Create a shelter. When those tough times roll around, a shelter for the future will protect you from the storms. We named our company Canopy Resources because we want to be part of changing the world by helping nonprofits plants seeds now to create a “canopy” of legacy gifts that will shelter them and keep them vibrant and thriving.  

We know that you have donors in your databases who love your work, want to help you make a difference, and are willing to consider partnering with you through a gift in their wills. We also know how to find them. We would love to help you do that! Consider booking a 15-minute call with us today. 

*Story adapted from original by Matt Kycinski