I think about that word a lot. Legacy. What does it mean, exactly? Why do we strive to leave something behind when we pass on, and how do we go about doing that?
While legacy means different things to different people, I think that almost everyone wants make a difference and feel that their life added to the world in some way. I don’t think I could co-run a nonprofit without coming to that conclusion.
I am in the privileged position of seeing, everyday, the generosity and caring within people.
Over the years, Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest has been the beneficiary of the last act of generosity from several donors. Some of these donors were very close to the sanctuary. I knew of their health struggles and was aware that they had planned to leave something behind for the chimpanzees. We mourned their passing and have been honored to be a small part of the bigger-than-life legacy they created, which included the uncountable acts of kindness they gave during their living years.
More surprisingly, the sanctuary has also received small bequests from people we were not familiar with at all. They named the sanctuary in their will without having made contact with us. I always try to gather information about these donors to find out more about them as I marvel at their surprise gifts.
I consider bequests in any amount to be very special gifts because they are an expression of the trust in a nonprofit to carry on the legacy of the donor. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously.
You may already know that August is Make-a-Will Month. For you, blog readers, I wanted to throw out the market-tested appeal language and share the above, my rather raw thoughts, with you.
Whether you name Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in your will or not, I do hope that you will seize the day and create a part of your legacy by sitting down and planning your will if you haven’t already or updating it if you have new causes you’d like to support. You can use this tool to do that. It really is very easy and walks you through all of the steps.
If you have an IRA, 401(k), life insurance policy, or any other asset that your will does not cover, you can plan beneficiaries for those non-probate assets separately. Use Freewill to learn more about how to go about that.
Your legacy could make a huge difference for the future of sanctuary or for others you care about.