Is legacy fundraising right for your organisation?

We undertake extensive research before recommending whether or not legacy fundraising should be a priority focus for your organisation as its success is highly dependent on a number of factors, such as your cause, your location and your donor pool.

For large charities, legacies are one of the most cost-effective fundraising techniques and raise millions of pounds year on year. When done properly, legacies can build and maintain financial reserves. However, they should never be relied upon as a source of income – this has been the downfall of a number of small to medium charities over the years.

How do legacies work?
There are two kinds of legacies:

  • Pecuniary legacies – where someone, in a will, specifies that, say, £2,000 should be left to a person or organisation.
  • Residuary legacies – where, after all the pecuniary legacies have been paid out, the remainder of the dead persons’ estate goes to a person of organisation.

Residuary tend to be more valuable but pecuniary are easier to achieve.

Behind the myths of legacy fundraising

  • We can’t afford it

It doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you integrate the legacy message across your fundraising channels and drip feed your message into existing communications. If you already use social media and digital then there will be minimal associated costs. For print documents, just wait until your next print runs and add a brief legacy message.

  • We’re too small

The number of people leaving a gift to charities is growing and each charitable will benefits an average of three charities, so there is room for everyone! In many ways, the potential for small charities is huge, one gift could make a massive difference.

  • People don’t like to talk about death

So, flip that around and talk about life and the positive steps people can take now to help support the things they care about into the future.

How should we ask people to consider leaving a legacy to us?
Many people are understandably concerned about how to raise the subject. Reports have highlighted that the donor perspective is ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’! In 2016, Remember a Charity published an impact report which stated that 69% of the public surveyed would be happy for a solicitor to mention charitable giving when writing their will.

Experts Legacy Voice give ten top tips which are:

  1. Be proud of legacies
  2. Family first
  3. Drip the message
  4. Know your audience
  5. Know your story
  6. A conversation works best
  7. Make it easy
  8. Use the right language
  9. Measure what you do
  10. Look after your supporters

For more detail on each of these points see Legacy Voice

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