The Ways We Are Remembered

Generosity is grounded in a profound understanding that we all are in this together…It is only in fruitful alliances with others that we can do great things.  

                                                    ~ David Heenan & Warren Bennis

This is a day of remembering the lives of others who have lived, loved, served, and in some way touched our lives.   Originally, Memorial Day was the day of honoring Union soldier of the American Civil War, but the holiday has expanded to include those who have died in military service to their country, as well as family, friends, and others whose deeds and lives have made a difference.

Leaving a legacy is a strong desire of many of us.  We want our deeds and lives to matter, to our families, faith communities, and society at large.  One way of doing this is through planned giving and making our intentions known well before reach the end of our lives.  This is particularly important to those in the “Baby Boomer” generation, as part of retirement planning.

Leaders of faith communities and community organizations must create the programs to which individuals can leave a legacy contribution.   There are a number of good planned giving resources available online and professionally trained staff to assist in most charitable and religious organizations.

To begin, it is helpful to be aware of the reasons that people make charitable donations, so that the right climate and mechanisms for giving can be established:

  • Awareness of need
  • People are asked to give
  • The giver cares deeply about the organization or cause and its mission
  • Benefits are experienced from giving–psychological, recognition, practical
  • Desire to make a difference, to leave a legacy
  • Gratitude for what the organization has brought to one’s life, to give back

I will be inviting planned giving colleagues to share their wisdom in future posts, but leave you with an invitation:  to reflect deeply on the example of those who have touched your life through their generosity, to clarify for yourself what is most important to you, and consider ways that you can leave a legacy gift that will touch lives for years to come.

For a planned giving guide for congregations: