Marketing Bequest Club Membership: An Exploratory Study of Legacy Pledgers

Adrian Sargeant, Walter Wymer, Toni Hilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although bequest income accounts for 9% of overall giving in the United States many nonprofits continue to focus their solicitation efforts on the very wealthy, ignoring the bulk of the fund-raising database. In this study the authors work with three large nonprofits operating bequest societies and using direct marketing to solicit gifts from across their fund-raising database. They compare the profiles of their bequest pledgers with nonpledgers to determine whether individuals willing to offer a bequest may be demographically or attitudinally distinct. Developing a discriminant function they correctly classify 77.1% of 624 respondents to a postal survey of 3,000 donors and/or pledgers. Legacy pledgers appear significantly more likely to be seeking a means of reciprocation, are more concerned that the organization be performing well, and are more concerned with the quality of communications they receive. The fund-raising implications of their analysis are explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-404
Number of pages21
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2006


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