Are You Ready for the Wave?

The biggest wealth transfer in Australian history is coming as members of the Builder generation and the early Boomers look to pass their wealth on to their loved ones.

Here’s how your ministry can “ride the wave” – to engage your donors to support the cause they feel passionate about (yours!) through a bequest… and make a massive Kingdom impact.

Wave? What wave?

It’s no secret that the Baby Boomers are, by and large, the wealthiest generation in Australian history. In 2015, McCrindle Research1 found that Baby Boomers (born in 1970 or earlier) made up a quarter of the population (25%) but owned more than half of Australia’s national wealth (53%).

In the years since the report, their wealth has grown – mostly because property prices have boomed. If you’ve tried to buy a house lately, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

McCrindle says:

The households of Australians aged 55+ (in 2015) own a combined $2.8 trillion and over the next two decades will pass on much of this. By the time they move from the growing to the spending side of this accumulation, it will have exceeded the $3 trillion level. Therefore, the decades ahead will see the biggest intergenerational wealth transfer in Australia’s history and many of the younger generations will be the main beneficiaries.

This is particularly relevant to Christian ministries and not-for-profits because Baby Boomers are more likely that other generations to be church attenders. They’re more likely to self-identify as Christians.

And they’re most likely to be giving to faith-based organisations or ministries like yours.

Why it matters to your ministry

As Builders and Boomers draw up their wills and weigh just what their legacy will be, many will be looking to make a Kingdom impact.

As Jesus’ followers, your donors know they can’t take their wealth with them when they’re called home to heaven. As well as providing for their family and loved ones, they want to steward well the gifts and resources God has given them – and hear those words from the Master: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

Whether you’re a media ministry focused on sharing the Good News or a cause-based organisation dedicated to seeing the vulnerable thrive, you can make that impact possible for your donors.

And the best, most far-reaching way your donors can make a long-term impact is by including your organisation in their will.

‘Bequest’ is not a four-letter word for your donors

Bequests, planned gifts – call it what you will – the stark truth is that most Australians don’t give to charity in their will.

But that’s not necessarily because they don’t want to.

Rather it’s that including an organisation in their will isn’t exactly “top of mind” when they sit down at the kitchen table with a will kit or knock on their solicitor’s office door. And that’s true even when they’re passionate and vocal about your ministry or cause in their everyday lives.

The amount of people who say “I’m a current supporter, but I’ve yet to get around to adding your organisation to my will” is massive.

Even if they love your organisation, you’re just one of the many things in their life. Making a will is just one of many tasks on their list, and each one will demand time and energy to tick off.

Your success relies – as it so often does – on how easy you can make it for your donors to give.

Start paddling today to get in best position

If yours is like many Christian organisations in Australia today, a significant group of your donors is fast approaching the point at which they’ll update – or even finalise – their will.

As they do, they will consider their life’s legacy.

You can help them make a lasting kingdom impact, simply by making it easy and convenient for your donors to include your organisation in their will.

It may sound intimidating, time-consuming or expensive … but in reality, initiating a successful bequests strategy is easier than you may think.

In fact, you can begin today.

Simply review your main communication channels – your newsletters, emails, website, direct mail—and ask: How can I make it easy for my donors to leave a gift in their will?

Then follow a simple, three-step process to get started.

  • Integrate bequests into your regular communications.
  • Make information about gifts in wills accessible on your website.
  • Share stories of donors who have enthusiastically given a bequest.

The more often you can give your donors the information they want, the more likely your donors will be to take the opportunity you’re giving them.

Often, your donors will surprise you in how generous they are, and how willing they are to give a gift in their will – particularly the supporters who’ve been around the longest.

Rather than being shocked or offended by the idea of leaving a gift in their will, the most common response is: “Are you kidding me? That’s a no-brainer, of course I will do that. Why did you never ask?”

+ More Insights from Dunham+Company: “Your Leadership Matters in 2022

Ready to take the next step? Dunham+Company is here to help your organization have more impact and establish deeper relationships with your donors and supporters.