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I recently helped my mom update her estate plans and discovered three significant problems: 1) One of the non-profits is no longer in business, 2) Several organizations have new leadership and may drift away from their original mission that first attracted my mom, and 3) Over the past 15 years, my mom has begun supporting new ministries that were not reflected in her estate plans. Organizations and donors’ giving interests tend to change over time. How can donors keep their estate plans in sync with their giving desires?

I am guessing that most of you either answer to a Board of some type, serve on a Board, or at minimum, work for an organization that has a Board. Those who sit “on” the Board may be called directors, members, trustees or governors. The bottom line is this – they are generally charged with providing the governance - legally, financially and ethically, for the organization to be successful. Non-profit organizations or ministries are no exception.

Over the years I've had the honor to observe numerous Executive Directors, Presidents, Principals, Senior Pastors, Vice Presidents of Advancement, and Major Gift Officers in action. I’ll admit it’s very inspiring to see men and women in these roles make bold, strategic decisions that advance their school, ministry, or local church. But I've also seen a number of poor decisions made, which makes me wonder how quickly leaders admit they've made a mistake.

Paul instructed Timothy to “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2). Timothy was to constantly share the word—when it was convenient and when it wasn’t. Paul challenged him to “correct, rebuke, and encourage” those whom God had placed in his care.

If you've been around development work for any amount of time, or have worked with major donors at all, you've probably asked yourself this question - maybe more than once. We have a saying at The Timothy Group (sorry, I don’t know who originated it), “A successful donor visit is when the right person asks the right person for the right amount for the right project in the right place at the right time.”
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