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New website explores world of charitable bequests

New website explores world of charitable bequests

BequestGuide.org is a new online resource on the world of legacies and charitable bequests, created by Natasha van Bentum, CFRE, Development Director at the Victoria Symphony in Canada.

The site is intended as a work-in-progress but already has information on key definitions and the history of charitable bequests.

Van Bentum describes it as “a navigational guide to the world of legacies and charitable bequests, designed especially for fundraising practitioners in the field of gift planning as well as allied professionals.”

She established it because “there’s really nothing else out there which covers these topics in a way accessible to working fundraisers or the public at large.”

Its initial focus on the history of charitable bequests is supplemented with a range of historical examples of charitable bequests, including those of Henry Wellcome, Lady Margaret Beaufort, and August Juilliard.

“This phase of the site highlights just a few of the countless charitable legacies left by men and women over the centuries, and takes a peek at such topics as freedom of testation, primogeniture, entail, and the origin of the word ‘bequest’, said van Bentum.

According to van Bentum, the focus on renowned people was not intentional. It is simply because their stories have been documented over the centuries. “However, over the past 500 years and more,” she added, “in addition to these famous legators, hundreds of thousands of ordinary men and women have exercised their right to make a will and leave a legacy. While undocumented to the same degree as the more legendary examples, the impact of their gifts is immeasurable.”

Van Bentum welcomes suggestions of additional historical or current bequests to be added to the site.
Funded by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Research Council, this is the third website created by van Bentum for the fundraising sector. She has previously created SeniorsInCyberspace.org and VenturePhilanthropyGuide.org.

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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