Creative Work Applications

For-profit and nonprofit organizations have begun to recognize that Legacy Letters are a powerful relationship-building, marketing and employee/member-retention tool. A Legacy Letter is an ancient tool to help you distinguish yourself from your competition in your profession or business and strengthen your mission or business goals. This tool helps you gain more loyal clients, satisfied customers, happy residents, healthier patients and committed donors. On top of that, it also profoundly enhances your work.

Legacy Letters benefit people of all ages, diverse professional groups, in all types of settings, and for a variety of reasons. There are many ways to integrate Legacy Letters into your work. Leah Dobkin offers a free organizational assessment and recommendations.

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Financial and Legal Profession

A growing cadre of estate and elder lawyers and financial planners have found that Legacy Letters can improve efficiency by helping clients gain clarity and insight into their needs. With more enlightened clients, advisors can create better, faster, less expensive estate and gift plans. These plans become more reflective of the clients’ needs and wishes, enhancing the likelihood that an estate or gift plan will be better understood, and executed correctly by the clients’ beneficiaries.

A non-legal, explanatory Legacy Letter also complements legal wills and living wills (advance care directives) and facilitates a client’s family discussions. Advisors are also more likely to avoid malpractice suits from disgruntled beneficiaries. Integrating Legacy Letters into legal and financial planning practices allows advisors to connect more deeply and quickly with clients and prospects. This builds trust, which can result in more referrals, and a stronger and longer lasting advisor-client relationship.

Retirement Housing and Long Term Care Facilities

Sales and Marketing Tool: Reaching Out To Future Residents in a Novel Way

Legacy Letters can be offered to prospective residents as an incentive to moving in and as tributes for existing residents as a way to increase the quality of care for residents and retention for staff. Retirement housing marketing and sales professionals are often confronted by the older homeowners’ reluctance to downsize and to move. One obstacle is the strong attachment to the family home. Moving from the family home is one of the most challenging transitions for older adults.

The Legacy Letter Book called Home is Where the Heart Is, addresses the emotional component of leaving your home. This attractive leather or hardcover–bound Legacy Letter book includes stories and photographs of a prospective resident’s current home and helps that person capture all his or her fondest memories and create a meaningful ritual to say goodbye before the person or couple moves. New residents can bring this special book with them to their new home.

The Heirloom Legacy Letter Book compiles photos and stories of the precious items a person wants to give away to family and friends. Both Legacy Letter Books also help adult children with this difficult and emotional process. Retirement, continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities can offer a free gift certificate for Legacy Letter writing services when they decide to rent or purchase a unit in a retirement community as an incentive for joining the community.


Creative Programming

Retirement communities, such as assisted living and continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), can also offer more creative programming by including Legacy Letter writing services and workshops for their patients and for existing and prospective residents.

Research has well documented the health benefits of reminiscing and writing.

Reminiscing and writing are essential tools when creating a Legacy Letter. In particular, offering Legacy Letter programs empowers people with early Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia to capture their memories before they are lost forever.

Hospice patients also benefit from Legacy Letter writing services. With increased pain management capabilities, hospice patients are very capable of writing their Legacy Letters with a little assistance. There is an old saying that whenever an older person dies without sharing his or her stories it is like a library burning.

Retirement communities could sponsor a Legacy Letter campaign to engage as many residents as possible. Why? The crafting and reading of residents’ Legacy Letters helps foster better resident and patient-centered care because staff and family are provided the opportunity to understand the whole person. Staff are more likely to stick around because their services are more meaningful and engaging. People in independent housing through hospice can all write Legacy Letters to make sure nothing is left unsaid.

Hospitals, Other Health And Wellness Providers, Community Services And Adult Education


Hospitals and other healthcare providers can offer Legacy Letter writing services and workshops to help patients prepare before surgery, after a diagnosis, during treatment or in hospice and before giving birth. Legacy Letters can complement living will initiatives. Senior centers, adult education and other programs serving older adults and wellness/health promotion centers can also offer more creative programming such as a Legacy Letter workshop, class, writing circle and/or a retreat.

Preplanning And Funeral Industry

Funeral homes and cemeteries can incorporate Legacy Letter writing services or sponsor Legacy Letter workshops into a preplanning package for potential or existing customers as an added-value and thoughtful service.

Business Groups

Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs and other business groups can sponsor Legacy Letter presentations and in particular a Legacy Letter business presentation. Business owners, when planning successions, often focus primarily on the financial and legal issues before they transfer or sell their business. They are overlooking a critical element: their business legacy. All types of businesses owners can capture and pass along inspiring stories about how they started and built their business, overcame difficulties and ultimately became successful. A business Legacy Letter shares insights and encouragement to beneficiaries, and young entrepreneurs, and ensures that the legacy you want is the legacy you give.

Nonprofit Organizations, Educational Institutions, Foundations and Other Philanthropic Organizations

Legacy Letters are a fundamentally powerful, though unfamiliar, philanthropic-building tool for most professional fundraisers. Educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, community foundations, United Ways and Jewish Federations can use Legacy Letters to enhance donor cultivation, recognition, stewardship activities, and multigenerational giving. When you use this thoughtful process to connect with and show appreciation to your donors, you draw them closer to you and your organization, demonstrating your sincere gratitude. Legacy Letters can also strengthen staff, board members and other volunteer leaders’ commitment to your organization’s mission as well.

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Here Are a Few More Interesting Applications:

For business, corporations, nonprofits: succession planning, management-board relationships from a legacy perspective, as a more compelling alternative to a stogy business history, and for employees as part of a health promotion initiative.

Legacy Letter Campaigns to guide community leaders, and communities (organizations, institutions, ethnic groups, educational institutions) to collect and preserve their stories, history, values, and traditions.

Legacy Letter retreats for board development, specialty groups such as religious, women’s, and writing groups and book clubs.

Mentor Campaigns for students and young professionals to help them write Tribute Legacy Letters to their mentors, such as doctors and lawyers.

The military can offer Legacy Letter writing services and workshops before men and women enlisting or deployment. Children and grandchildren can write tribute Legacy Letters for military personnel to take with them abroad.