Making a Case for Endowment
Conventional wisdom says it is harder to make a case for endowment than for capital. Therefore, some nonprofits are reticent to include endowment in their fundraising goals, because "… no one wants to give money to create or build an endowment.” But is it true that no one wants to give to support an endowment?
There may be an obvious, larger pool of prospective donors interested in capital projects, because buildings are tangible. For some, an endowment may be more conceptual than experiential. However, donors who are closest to the mission will often view endowments as the way to make sure the mission continues long after they are all gone. Making a case for building an endowment actually is not much different than making a case for a building or a program: It’s about the lives changed for the better.
Endowments convey stability
Fundraising should never be, primarily, about a building or programs or even an endowment. The focus should be on the individuals who will be served. And of course, that can’t happened without the generous benefactors who make it possible. Some organizations are more inclined to purchase an existing facility or construct a new building without calculating the costs of long-term maintenance. Without an associated endowment in place, some major donors may decline to give a gift to capital.
Endowments are well-suited for estate gifts
One of the best ways to build an endowment during a campaign is to ask for estate gifts. Some people may not be able to give as much cash as they would like. However, they will like knowing their bequest gifts can advance the organization’s goals while providing long-term sustainability and ensuring lives will be changes in perpetuity.
Endowments provide a lasting legacy
An endowment is a promise that the nonprofit’s work will continue. The golden goose (principal) lives on, while the golden eggs (return on investments) keep coming. This is why an endowment goal can be particularly well suited for donors who understand and appreciate the impact the mission will have now, in the near future, and in the many years to come.
Denise Rhoades, Vice President of Communications, email@example.com
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