As Good As Gold

Recently I received a phone call from a woman who invited me to her home to talk about the settlement of her parents’ estate. She wanted to fulfill a bequest made to our non-profit.

Although this couple’s gifts were consistent through the years, none of their gifts was large.  They were people of humble means.  They resided in a small, unpretentious house and lived simply. They could not afford to drive expensive cars, wear fancy wardrobes, and live a high lifestyle. Or more likely, like many people of their generation, they chose to live frugally and saved as much as they could for a rainy day.

I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at the daughter’s address. After sharing memories about her parents, the daughter began telling me about the contents of their will.  Her parents had supported a number of causes that were important to them, and they had left some money to each of those.

I thought she might present me with a check.  Instead, on the table before me she sat a small vial wrapped in masking tape. She explained that through the years her parents had purchased several one-ounce solid gold coins as a part of their small portfolio.  Her parents had specifically designated those gold coins be given to our non-profit.  The value of those coins was greater than the totality of the gifts they had donated to our ministry in all the years before.  What a pleasant surprise and what a tremendous blessing to our ministry! 

In an earlier blog, Ben Powell wrote about the importance of educating supporters about the importance of donating appreciated assets.  While there are donors who will leave your organization cash in their wills, there are far more resources available to give in the form of non-cash assets.  As you develop relationships with donors, gently plant in their minds the idea of the value of donating non-cash assets.  Typically, they are more valuable than a gift of cash.  Likely, they are as good as gold.