By: The Rev. Dr. Rick Young, TPF’s President
Approximately 380 days ago, the world as we know it came to an abrupt halt. It was like someone flipped a switch and shut everything down. Thankfully, many people and businesses figured out ways to flourish in a new and constantly changing environment. No one could have predicted that even one year later, we would still be navigating uncertain times. I think we can all agree that most of us just want to return to “normal.”
But what does “normal” look like at this point? After the events of the past 12 months, it certainly can’t look like what life was like in February of 2020. In a recent conversation with a business anthropologist, the topic arose, and he stated that he firmly believes that the end of the pandemic will be more difficult than the beginning. People’s habits have changed. Work processes have been adjusted. For example, we have gotten used to communication through Zoom or Microsoft Teams. In-person meetings have become a luxury that we are used to making do without. Unfortunately, at this time, there is not a switch to be flipped that can bring about our new “normal.” For many of us, this adjustment will be a slow process that could even take up to a year.
What have we at TPF seen as the biggest impact on legacy giving? One of the key changes brought about by the pandemic is that a conversation about death is no longer forbidden or even frowned upon. With over half a billion deaths in the United States due to COVID-19, most of us have had some exposure to death. Too many of us have lost family members, friends, or even acquaintances. In the past 12 months, I have seen many begin to consider their legacies and order of affairs more seriously. The good news is that TPF has the resources and staff to assist individuals as they work through those situations.
Where do we go from here? It’s time to embrace today. Across the vast landscape of our partners, I have seen both churches and non-profit organizations who have reawakened their generosity efforts or discovered the need for an enhanced legacy program. Even if a legacy program has stalled or laid dormant for years, TPF can offer ideas, structure, policies, and consultation to those wishing to move their program forward. We stand ready to help.
We all hope for a better and different 2021. It is around the corner, and we must be patient.