How the Entertainment Community Fund raised $2.5M by providing their community with free wills

November 2, 2022
min read
How the Entertainment Community Fund raised $2.5M by providing their community with free wills

The Challenge

The Entertainment Community Fund, which provides critical help to those in the entertainment industry, has a strong development team. However, they faced two challenges with fundraising planned gifts: 1) Only one staff member worked on planned giving, leaving them strapped for time and resources to cultivate, steward, and manage legacy gifts. And 2) While they had a large community of people they’ve served over the years, they had no way to fundraise from them. They reserved direct fundraising asks for donors, and only engaged their clients with helpful resources, such as will-writing workshops.

FreeWill has been a godsend. We’ve been able to offer our community this easy service that's been so important to them, and helped them get their affairs in order in a year where it matters more so than ever.

Jay Haddad
Manager of Individual Giving

The Solution

The Entertainment Community Fund partnered with FreeWill, so that they could tap into their largest community and quickly scale their planned giving program. FreeWill’s Partner Success team acts as an extension of their staff, providing strategy, marketing communications, and tools to help their supporters easily make a gift in their will. And they use their custom FreeWill site to offer clients a valuable, and free, will-making service that aligns with their mission.

In just one year, their team doubled the number of legacy gifts that they usually receive, raised $2.5 million in bequest commitments, and engaged a new pool of potential donors.

Results in one year


raised in gift commitments


new bequests


new donors than an average year


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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