Death, grief, and legacy giving

On conversations following the loss of a spouse

There are 258 million widowed people around the world and the average age of widowhood in Canada is just 56, with senior widows (age 65+) outnumber senior widowers four to one. This means that, as planned giving professionals, you will encounter people who have lost a spouse in your work.

This session will demystify both death and widowhood. You will delve into widowhood through the sharing of life stories and professional experiences in working with the bereaved and planned giving. A safe space will be created through love and humour, facilitating the candid exploration of death, grief, and spousal loss.

The workshop will give you, as a planned giving professional, practical tips to help guide you in your work and in your conversations with widowed donors. You will explore how the loss of a spouse ties into legacy giving, and how evidence shows it can be a healing motivator. You will look at ways to help build your relationships with this group of donors, while supporting them in their decision to make a legacy gift to your cause should that be the right way for them to honour their late partner and their grief.

Who is it for?

Fundraisers, planned giving professionals, those working in legacy giving, and those working in donor relations.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the widowed experience, including the grief and secondary losses involved
  • Get tips and insights to work through your personal discomfort and understand your human and relational role in conversations with widowed people
  • Learn how planned giving vehicles can be a way to honour a deceased spouse and be part of the healing process
  • Get practical, tactical learnings you can implement in your work


Holly Wagg
Partner & CEO, Good Works