The Mikuska Group  

Have a say in your legacy

You work hard for your entire life, accumulating wealth, family and other relationships. Why would you want the government to decide how your estate is distributed after you pass on?

That’s exactly what happens if you don’t have a valid will. In Manitoba, The Intestate Succession Act sets out how the property or estate of a person who dies without a will (intestate) must be distributed. So even if you intended to provide someone other than your spouse with some assets, they would not be entitled to any under the legislation.

Making a will is a deliberate act. It forces you to think about what you have, and how you distribute it. Brian Bowman, Partner at Pitblado Law, says “It’s important to make sure those left behind are as well looked-after as possible. Your legacy continues after you pass away, so think about how your children, business partners, family members and your favourite charities will benefit from having your wishes carried out.”

After you’ve taken care of your loved ones, consider including leaving a bequest or other types of planned gift in your will to the charity or charities near and dear to you. Leave a Legacy is a national program that encourages people to leave a gift in their will. The website is full of useful information about how you can do this.

Call your lawyer and schedule time to make (or update) your will. Have your say in your legacy.

Laura Mikuska


Your database is just for data, right?

When you receive a donation, or a ticket order for your special event, in all likelihood you enter the donor’s particulars into a spreadsheet or a database, produce the receipt or ticket and mail it off with a thank you. End of story. Repeat next year.

Do you do anything with your data other than produce event lists or financial reports? If not, you should!

Data can provide a wealth of information about your supporters and your relationship with them. Here are some examples:

  • record as much as you know about the donor’s family, employment and interests
  • track and analyze donations
  • record involvement in your organization, including volunteerism, attendance at events, serving on the board or committees

Why is this important? It means better stewardship and contributes to engaging your donors more deeply in your mission. If you know their interests, you can personalize the appeal you send. If you see they’ve been making regular donations, you might suggest a monthly giving program. You might also invite them to events or gatherings for your special donors, and ask them how you’re doing.

If you’re considering a major fundraising initiative, the first place to look for donors is in your database. They already support and believe in you! It’s much easier to work with the donors you have than to attract new ones. If you have managed your relationship with donors effectively, you’ll know who to approach to start the conversation about a legacy gift.

Invest in a database. Your supporters will thank you.

Laura Mikuska


The Boomers are coming – be prepared!

“The Boomers are coming – be prepared!” That message was loud and clear at the Canadian Association of Gift Planners – Manitoba breakfast. The presenters’ goal was to demystify gifts of stock and life insurance and to urge charities to become more knowledgeable about these vehicles for giving.

Scott Sadler, Principal of Tecumseh Insurance Services Inc. laid out the differences between Term (useless for charitable giving) and Permanent insurance, and the various ways donors and their favourite charities can benefit immensely by having the right strategy. People have a choice when deciding what to do with their estate. They can chose two out of three possibilities:  donate to family, to charities and/or to the federal government. Which two would you rather choose?

Kari O’Reilly of BMO Nesbitt Burns tackled the topic of in-kind stock donation and clarified the process – what actually happens when you sign that donation form. It’s more complicated than we realize yet we have to strive to make it as easy as possible for donors. Make sure you have set up the appropriate policies and processes before you’re approached with a gift of stock.

DeWayne Osborn of Lawton Partners wrapped up with a call to action to charities – get your house in order and make sure your Gift Acceptance Policy can handle the demands of the biggest wealth transfer in history. You want to be able to say “Yes!” when the Boomers come calling.

Laura Mikuska


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