Across Generations: A 5-Step Guide for Creating an Expression of Donor Intent
Date Published: October 21, 2009
A 5 Step Guide for Creating an Expression of Donor Intent
By Amy Zell Ellsworth and Susan Turnbull from Personal Legacy Advisors
(look inside the book)
Everything you need to think through and express the values and vision behind your decision to establish a charitable fund, foundation or bequest. A 24 page workbook style guide for individuals, couples or families, it provides an excellent starting point if you wish to accomplish one or more of the following:
- explore and articulate the origin and meaning of your charitable goals and intentions
- consider and reflect on the life of a deceased donor whose goals and intentions you wish to understand and respect
- empower successors or beneficiaries to carry forward and build on the foundation of your vision
What is an expression of donor intent?
It is a non-binding letter or recording created to share your motivations, hopes and goals with heirs, successor trustees and/or beneficiaries of your philanthropy in a direct, personal and enduring way.
Why create one?
Because the legal documents establishing charitable instruments simply do not reflect the richness of personal history, values and vision that lie behind your decision to give so generously. In creating it, you ensure that your motivation and vision are completely understood, providing a healthy foundation for continuity among your successors, whether they are family members, trustees or staff of an institution.
How is it different from a mission statement?
A mission statement is often a broad statement of purpose and/or may define the kinds of gifts you want to make. However, in what is usually a few brief lines, by itself a mission statement cannot capture the fullness of your life and breadth of your intent, so valuable for successors to hear directly from you.
Who should create one?
- Those with a philanthropic foundation or fund intended to exist beyond their lifetimes
- Those who have designated a major charitable bequest in their estate plan
- Those seeking to discern and build upon the intent of a deceased donor over whose fund or foundation they are assuming responsibility