How NOCO Humane educates donors on planned and non-cash giving and raises funds for animals

June 20, 2024
min read
How NOCO Humane educates donors on planned and non-cash giving and raises funds for animals

The Opportunity

NOCO Humane, a non-profit animal rescue shelter in northern Colorado, serves more than 10,000 animals annually. As the only open-admission shelter in northern Colorado, they are committed to serving any pet regardless of its condition.

Their team recognized the need to enhance their fundraising programs by introducing tax-smart giving options for both existing and potential donors and saw the importance of expanding their planned giving program.

Leighanne Alford, their Development Manager, explains, "For us, it was more about trying to be proactive and help our donors give in different ways that might be more beneficial to them.”

The team was also driven to grow the Heritage Circle, their legacy donor program, to build relationships with legacy donors well before their passing.

The Solution

To address their needs, NOCO Humane partnered with FreeWill’s Planned Giving and Smart Giving Suites to expand their planned and individual giving programs, facilitating more bequests and tax-smart gifts.

The Smart Giving Suite simplified the process of educating donors about non-cash gift options, including stock, Donor-Advised Fund, and IRA gifts. The team implemented links for donors to make these gifts directly through their website, included educational information in print materials like postcards and thank-you notes, and integrated each smart giving option into their general online donation form, allowing donors to choose their preferred method of giving.

Our goal was to uncover a million dollars in planned gifts, and we hit it within six months.

Leighanne Alford
Development Manager

By leveraging multiple channels to promote non-cash giving, NOCO Humane saw a significant increase in the variety and volume of these contributions, raising over $28,000 in non-cash gifts within six months.

“I was most impressed with how quickly we saw people start participating in Smart Giving through our website. As soon as we added it to our ways to give page, we started seeing people respond and click through.”

Similarly, they experienced swift results with the Planned Giving Suite and the local featureship, which advertises the shelter to will-makers within their region. Within six months, NOCO Humane uncovered over one million dollars in planned gifts, allowing them to expand their animal services thanks to the generosity of newly committed legacy gifts through FreeWill.

A particularly remarkable result was a six-figure
bequest commitment from a longtime monthly donor who completed a gift intent form through FreeWill
after attending a legacy giving event hosted by NOCO Humane.

Additionally, a first-time Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) donor couple made a $10,000 DAF gift through the FreeWill tool. Alford immediately thanked them and arranged a tour of the shelter to showcase the impact of their donation. By the end of the tour, the couple requested to join their legacy society and have since become members. Following another meeting to enroll their pet in NOCO Humane's pet guardianship program, they made an additional $10,000 DAF gift in honor of their pet.

Through these robust stewardship practices, NOCO Humane is able to create lasting relationships with donors new to the organization who were introduced by using FreeWill’s suite of tools to give.

The biggest benefit of working with FreeWill has been how easy they make it for nonprofits to use. From the platform, which is super intuitive and user-friendly, to the campaigns. They make it simple, they make it streamlined, and they make fundraising and donor education across the board so much easier for us.

Leighanne Alford
Development Manager

Alford views the FreeWill platform as an investment in NOCO Humane’s long-term fundraising strategy and organizational stability, crediting her team’s efforts for a successful partnership: “If you are following the FreeWill campaigns, educating your donors through different channels, and making it easy for them to find how to give, you will see a return. I would definitely recommend FreeWill.”

Donors have told me that the FreeWill platform is such an easy platform to use, and they feel like it’s a much more efficient way for them to make a gift, especially gifts of stock, Donor-Advised Funds, or from their IRA.

Leighanne Alford
Development Manager


  • $1.2M+ in legacy gift commitments
  • $28K+ in real-time gifts


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