Who is Most Motivated to Leave a Bequest to Your Camp?

No one has a sign on their head that says, “Please talk to me about my bequest intentions.”  But if you know what types of people who are most motivated to make legacy gifts, you’ll start to notice the signs everywhere.  

Good people who love your camp would be touched and honored to leave an after-life gift. The problem? Very few have thought about it before. That is why you need to bring up the topic and invite them to think about the opportunity.

But how do you know who to reach out to? 

Based on trends in bequest giving, here are the top characteristics of people who are most motivated to leave bequest gifts: 
  1. Older adults who have no children or close relatives 
  2. Widows or widowers who have outlived their spouse 
  3. Single women over the age of 65, especially those who are volunteering with your organization
  4. Older adults with grown children who are doing fine financially
  5. Long time loyal annual donors, even if small amounts
I’ll add a few more, based on my experience working with Jewish Camp Legacy programs: 
  1. Active Lay Leaders, especially Board members
  2. Young adult Alumni at a life-cycle event, such as the birth of a child
  3. People with multi-generational connections to your camp
These aren’t the only people who would leave a Legacy gift to camp if asked but they might be your most obvious prospects.

Bottom Line: Keep an eye out for potential Legacy Society members in your data and at your events…and be sure to give them the opportunity to leave a Legacy to camp.

Written by Julia Riseman. Julia is a Mentor with JCamp 180. Julia leads Data2Donors, a program to advance Alumni Outreach, improve camp databases, and raise more major gifts, and Fundraising Fundamentals. Julia has also sparked the creation of many JCamp 180 programs and offerings, including this blog.

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at

Julia Riseman
JCamp 180