Legacy Giving Q & A

Senior couple walking along the beach thinking about legacy giving.

How to Protect Both Family & Community

For most survivors, the idea of legacy giving is the last thing on their minds. Their focus is on safety planning for today, the rest of the week, and next month, then focusing on creating a life for themselves and their families that’s free from abuse.

REACH Beyond Domestic Violence is here to help survivors on that journey. The countless survivors who have passed through our doors during the last 40 years are our legacy. The survivors we have yet to meet are our ongoing legacy. And one day, generations from now, we hope our work to eradicate domestic abuse and violence will become our enduring legacy.

REACH must think that far ahead out of necessity, so we can continue to be here for survivors when they need us. We’re proud of our longtime stability and smart financial planning necessary to do this work, which could not happen without the generosity and support of donors through gifts and grants.

August is National Make-A-Will Month, a time to think about the importance of estate planning for the protection of your family and their future. While making those plans, you might want to consider how you can make a lasting impact on your community, as well, by making a bequest to your favorite charity. We recently sat down with former REACH Director of Development, Jean Doliber, for her advice on legacy giving.

Q. What are some easy ways to make a lasting impact?

Legacy giving, also known as planned giving, can be as easy as leaving a note in your will to leave a specified amount to the charity of your choice, which is referred to as a bequest. It can be a small percent or small dollar amount.

You don’t have to be wealthy. It doesn’t matter what the dollar value is. Whatever the amount, it is a compelling legacy to leave for work that you believe matters. If you don’t have a will, there are services such as Free Will that can help you create one.

Another easy way to give is to add your charity as a beneficiary to your retirement plan or life insurance. You can designate the portion size however you like.

There are several other ways to give: transferring stock dividends, setting up a trust or Donor Advised Fund, and more. Your financial planner can help you understand what type of gift is financially smart for you and your family while making your plan for a legacy gift.

Q. How do I balance the expectations of my family with my wishes for charity?

When individuals are passionate about a charitable organization, it’s very likely they have already talked to their family about their commitment to that cause. If you are considering making a legacy gift and haven’t discussed it with your family, it might be a good idea to talk it over with them, so they are aware of your wishes and feel involved.

Q. What size gift do people usually leave for charities?

While the average planned giving amount is about $78,000 per estate according to philanthropic surveys, the gift really doesn’t have to be large to be considered a part of your legacy. A legacy gift could be $500, $5,000, or $50,000.

Whatever size the gift, it truly is the thought that counts. By leaving a legacy gift, you are sending a message that you are passionate about a cause and believe the work of your chosen charity is worth continuing.

Q. How does legacy giving help REACH?

As with any charitable organization, legacy giving helps in terms of future financial sustainability. Monthly donors who have been giving for years might choose to let us know they have made plans for those regular gifts to continue, whether in a lump sum or other means.

Generally, a legacy gift supports general operating costs covering all our programs and services. While there are many areas of REACH’s work that need ongoing support, your intent with your gift can be specified to our shelter or to advocacy or wherever your passion is.

Q. Why is it a good idea for donations to be made to general operating?

We don’t know what the future will hold. As we just saw with the pandemic, supply chains were interrupted and some of the simplest things—like toilet paper for the shelter—became temporarily harder to come by. Unspecified giving allows the most flexibility for an organization to make sure the funds go to where it’s needed most at any given moment.

It is not uncommon for legacy gifts to come from donors who have come to know our work and values through the relationships we build with them, whether in person as a volunteer, joining us at one of our special events, or simply subscribing to our newsletter.

Domestic violence is a large and complex issue. Planning for the future is as necessary as addressing it today. Legacy giving is a smart financial move for you and a life-changing gift for survivors of domestic violence.

If you have already included a gift for REACH Beyond Domestic Violence in your estate plan, please let us know. Providing us with documentation is the best way to ensure that your gift is used in the way you intend.

Learn more about ways to support REACH and survivors of domestic violence at reachma.org/donate. Have questions about including REACH as a part of your legacy? Please contact our Director of Development, Maria Duffy.