How SPCA International is engaging new donors and raising millions with FreeWill’s National Featureship

January 2, 2024
min read
How SPCA International is engaging new donors and raising millions with FreeWill’s National Featureship

The Challenge

SPCA International, a global animal welfare organization, faced challenges in expanding their donor base and advancing their planned giving program. Operating in every U.S. state and internationally, the organization struggled to reach new audiences. They needed to find innovative ways to connect with new donors and steward existing relationships.

They experienced limitations with their direct mail campaigns, which generated some planned giving interest primarily through checked boxes indicating a donor’s desire to learn more. Recognizing an overall growing interest in planned giving, they decided to take action to get in front of an audience they weren’t reaching. 

SPCA International chose to pursue an opportunity to build their donor pipeline and leverage their powerful name recognition through a partnership with FreeWill.

FreeWill donors seem more engaged because right at the outset they are saying ‘I don't want to be anonymous in sharing my info and I'm proud of the support that I'm giving SPCA my legacy!’

Julia Masucci, MPA, CNP
Planned Giving Officer

The Solution

SPCA International partnered with FreeWill on a National Featureship as a strategic move to reach new legacy donors beyond the scope of their existing supporters. FreeWill’s National Featureship showcases SPCA International’s name, logo, and mission to the thousands of will-makers using the FreeWill site every day, listing them as a possible designated nonprofit beneficiary.

The Featureship has introduced SPCA International to hundreds of new planned giving donors, helping bridge the pipeline to their annual giving program. “Almost 70 percent of individuals leaving primary intentions are sharing their information with us so that we can steward them and develop the relationship,” shares Planned Giving Officer Julia Masucci.

By monitoring the responses of donors engaged through the FreeWill platform, they could identify those interested in more personalized interactions. This strategy allowed deeper connections, educating donors about their mission and fostering long-term relationships. 

The partnership between SPCA International and FreeWill through the National Featureship has proven transformative in expanding their donor base and deepening the impact and connection with new supporters. 

Masucci says, “It is huge for us to just capture this volume and have this level of donor acquisition. I think the win is just creating that goodwill and mission awareness for a brand new audience.”

Since launching the National Featureship, SPCA International has generated over $18 million in primary bequest commitments and gained over 800 new legacy donors.

Results from National Featureship

  • $18M+ in bequest commitments
  • 845+ primary bequest commitments


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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
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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