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Love of Radio + Estate Planning = Scholarship

by: Claire Meyerhoff on

It's a wonderful equation that adds up to an important concept for fundraisers in education about channeling a donor's passion into scholarship naming opportunities -- particularly for your planned giving prospects.

Two people in Arkansas who were passionate about broadcasting, and radio in particular, used some smart estate planning to create scholarships for Mass Communications students (with an emphasis on radio) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Dan and Jonnie Winn included a $1.4 million bequest in their trust, which passed to the University after Jonnie Winn died at age 100.  Jonnie was the first licensed woman amateur radio operator in Arkansas. Her husband, the late Dan Winn, was a radio pioneer and a respected industry leader until his death at 86 in 1998. You can read more about them here.

If you're a school development person, scholarships are a specific, tangible way to direct a prospective donor's passion.  Donors may be interested in creating a scholarship of their own, but for the most part, schools don't "advertise" the "cost" of the scholarship.  Many colleges, universities and independent schools have endowed scholarships and other nameable funds starting at $10,000 to $25,000, which is very doable for many donors when that amount is stretched out over five years or even better -- as a planned gift that costs nothing today.

Take Away for you to steal:

In your next alumni magazine article about a new scholarship, like the one honoring the Winn's, include a sidebar "ask" like this. Ask the graphic designer to make sure it stands out:

What will your scholarship be called?
If Faber College is in your will or other estate plans for $25,000 or more, you may be able to name a scholarship after anyone you choose. Please contact Eric Stratton in the Office of Planned Giving, 212-555-1212 or EStratton@FaberCollege.com

Just by including this simple language, you'll be sharing a lot of valuable news with your donors. That's right -- news. Because most graduates and supporters of your school have no idea that they can start an endowed scholarship. They also have no idea that they could do so by leaving that amount in their will. Keep the language simple, tie it to a story and you may get a response!

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