How the Boys and Girls Club of Newark kickstarted legacy giving raising nearly $1M in bequests

August 19, 2022
min read
How the Boys and Girls Club of Newark kickstarted legacy giving raising nearly $1M in bequests

The Opportunity

The Boys and Girls Club of Newark’s (BGCN) mission is to empower youth to become caring, productive, and responsible citizens. BGCN has served Newark’s children since 1906, and while they received a few bequests over the years, they wanted to establish a proactive strategy to help sustain their work for decades to come.

But like many nonprofits, BGCN didn’t have a formal planned giving program. With fundraising duties resting on the shoulders of their CEO, they needed a smart way to kickstart their program without the backing of a full development department.


The Solution

BGCN partnered with FreeWill and launched their first planned giving campaign in August of 2021, just in time for National Make-a-Will month — a time of year devoted to encouraging Americans to create their will. Using content created and customized by FreeWill’s Partner Success Team, BGCN’s campaign raised $700,000 in charitable gift commitments through estate plans in a single month.

FreeWill’s online bequest tool is always accessible to BGCN’s supporters on the “Ways to Give” page of their website, and through email communications. Supporters are just a click away from seamlessly creating a will and leaving a bequest, all without time-intensive, one-on-one engagement from BGCN staff.

The FreeWill partnership gave essential guidance that helped kickstart BGCN’s planned giving program. Following FreeWill’s advice, BGCN now has a schedule for regular outreach to their supporters to solicit planned gifts, and direction for engaging donors once they have left a bequest.

In just eight months, these efforts led to 12 new donors and nearly $1 million dollars in bequest commitments.

Results in 8 months

  • 12 new donors
  • $969K in bequest commitments


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit

It’s important for nonprofits to think about legacy giving because it allows our impact to reach into the future, to other generations. We’re always happy about the donations we receive today, but FreeWill allows us to receive gift intentions that are 15 to 20 years down the line and will help us reach even more kids who needs that support.

Ameer Washington
Ameer Washington
Chief Executive Officer

Related stories

Trusted by the smartest minds in planned & major giving

It's not necessarily extra work, it’s just being smarter in the work we do. I think FreeWill has challenged us in that way. And our results since our FreeWill partnership have been tremendous. Having that relationship with your strategist to make sure you’re doing what’s best for your organization has paid off.

Don Cannada
Board Member
MPB Foundation

Not only are we booking bequests valued at over $1 million, we are getting full contact information for constituents that we only had email info for. The support offered by the FreeWill team from sales to implementation is top notch. This has been the best vendor experience I’ve had in my twenty plus year career.

Valerie Trego
Senior Development Officer,
Susquehanna Health Foundation

I think you're putting your finger on the pulse of what charitable organizations want and need to promote. I think it's very smart. It's exciting, and I'm excited to be in this space with you. You're creating a whole new class of philanthropists.

Brian Peterson
Director, Legacy and Gift Planning
Human Rights Watch

Having FreeWill is like having a part-time planned giving officer. Our FreeWill strategist is there anytime I have questions, ideas, or comments. I trust their expertise, and all the support they provide means I can spend time on other priorities.

Les Fout
Senior Stewardship Advisor
Knox Area Rescue Mission

FreeWill is the missing piece of this puzzle. It starts a conversation and creates this almost audible buzz around the topic. Larger donors hear the buzz and want to be a part of it so they step forward and that's already proving to be so valuable. The excitement is real in our office on a Director level.

Jeff McCormick
Director of Development and Planned Giving
Saint Ignatius High School