"Every gift makes a difference and no gift is too small", says Natasha Benn, Victoria Hospice’s new Planned Giving Officer. The Victoria native brings a wealth of experience to her new role at Hospice. She not only managed the Planned Giving program at the University of Victoria for the past six years, but prior to that Natasha worked as a paralegal specializing in the area of wills and estates with a local law firm for over thirteen years.
Planned Giving is not something new at Hospice, but having one person dedicated to it is. "First and foremost, what I do is all about relationship building", says Natasha. "I feel it is extremely important to get to know a donor and the reasons behind why they have chosen to support Victoria Hospice. Victoria Hospice is a unique and special place, and people who support us have been affected in some way by the services that we provide, not only to the patient who is facing death, but also ongoing support for the family and friends who are grieving and dealing with the loss of a loved one."
Natasha describes a variety of options available to donors who wish to include Hospice in their estate plans. For instance, a bequest gift made in a will, or a gift of life insurance, designation of an RRSP or a RRIF, gifts-in-kind such as artwork or other personal items, gifts of stocks and bonds, or even a gift of a house, are some of the ways in which you can leave your legacy to Victoria Hospice. Part of Natasha’s role in Planning Giving is estate administration, so that when a donor passes away and Victoria Hospice has been named as a beneficiary in a will or other type of arrangement, she works with the lawyer, executor or family to ensure that the gift is received and used the way the donor intended it to be used.
One recent planned giving donor had been a Hospice volunteer since 1988, working in the Hospice Rooftop Garden and volunteering for many special fund-raising events over the years. Described in her obituary as a tireless volunteer, this retired nurse not only gave her time consistently to Hospice and other charities, but she would also show up with treats and goodies for the Hospice unit. When she died last year, it turned out that she had named Hospice as one of the beneficiaries in her will. Natasha said this volunteer "not only made a significant impact during her lifetime with all she did for the community, but continued to do so after her death by leaving a planned gift to support Hospice."
A planned gift is generally the biggest gift you will make, and usually more than one could make during their lifetime. By leaving a legacy to Victoria Hospice, you can make significant impact to the future of Victoria Hospice and help ensure that we continue to provide exceptional care for our families, friends and neighbours in the community. To learn how you can make a difference, contact Natasha. She will be pleased to talk with you.
[This article was originally published in the July/August 2013 edition of Focus Magazine. Photo credit: Tony Bounsall.]