10 tips for your legacy marketing strategy

10 tips for your legacy marketing strategy

10 tips for your legacy marketing strategy

1. Get internal buy-in

Before you can run a legacy marketing campaign, it's vital to get leadership buy-in and their support in promoting legacies across the whole organisation. Explain to them the importance of gifts in Wills to your organisation. Be sure to include facts and figures about legacies, this will help get your chief executive, trustees and other senior staff on board.

Once you’ve got senior-level buy-in, you can then start to build a ‘legacy culture’ throughout your organisation. Appointing a ‘legacy champion’ among your trustees will help encourage everyone to get on board with legacy messages. Everyone in your organisation should understand how important gifts in Wills are in enabling you to carry out your work, and that they all have a part to play in helping promote this method of giving. Ensure your legacy team is visible and accessible so that those without specialist knowledge are clear on who to signpost interest to.

2. Identify your legacy prospects

Use your legacy data to identify areas that can potentially be targeted (you can access all your legacy data from Smee & Ford's Enhanced Legacy Analysis Portal). Keep a list of lapsed donors, don't dismiss them – they may have stopped giving due to their financial circumstances, but might respond well if offered a different proposition — one that does not involve such an immediate financial commitment such as leaving a gift to your charity in their Will.

3. Determine your ‘typical’ legator

Whether it’s a simple spreadsheet or an intricate database, you should have some system of CRM in place to help you manage and maximise all your fundraising relationships – including legacy prospects. Starting with your own legacy data, work out the typical profile of people who have left your charity a gift in their Will over the last 12 months.

Are they primarily male or female, or is it an even split? How old are individuals when they leave a gift to your charity? Where do they live? How long is it between them writing their Will and you receiving the legacy? Next, look at your financial data. What are your average values across the different types of legacies? What is the average over two/five/10 years? This information will help you with legacy forecasting, as well as legator profiling.  This information can be obtained from Smee & Ford's Enhanced Legacy Analysis Portal and is backdated to 2014).

Once you have defined your ‘typical’ legator, use this data to segment your donor database to identify those supporters who fit the profile. If someone isn’t currently a regular giver, it doesn’t mean they don’t care about your cause.

4. Get clued up

Understand the processes involved in leaving a gift in a will, so you are fully prepared when speaking to your supporters about legacies. Be clear on where their money will be spent. The more clued-up you are about the practicalities surrounding leaving a legacy – including any tax breaks – the more you can reassure your supporters that their decision to leave a gift is the right one.

5. Take your supporters on a journey

Determine the journey that your potential legacy pledger will be taken on, and 'steward' them through it. If a supporter shows an initial interest in leaving a legacy, decide what and when the next communication with them will be (and think about how soon it can be reasonably expected for them to want to amend their will). Being systematic in your communications will help increase the long-term value of your supporter base.

6. Use the right language

Tell stories to help supporters see the difference they will make to the lives of the people or animals that your charity helps. When talking to supporters about legacies, take a soft approach: allow the conversation to be led by their thoughts and feelings about legacy giving, discuss their concerns, and try to resolve them. Don’t ask your supporter to leave a gift in a will straight away; ask them if they might consider it, or if they might like to receive further information. Keep all your communications uncomplicated and jargon-free.

7. Look after your data

Ensure you regularly clean your CRM database and record your supporter’s details correctly. Out-of-date or inaccurate data generates waste and expense, and donors might get annoyed or upset if their information is incorrect.  Have systems in place that will capture and record the correct information from your legacy notifications. It is important to record your supporter’s details correctly and update your data regularly.

It often takes many years for people to get around to making or changing a Will, so it’s important to keep track of the legacy marketing status of your supporters. Are they an ‘enquirer’ (having requested information on how to leave a legacy), an ‘intender’ (having stated an intention to include your charity in their Will) or a ‘pledger’ (having already included your charity in their Will)?

8. Cross-sell the legacy message

Ensure that the legacy message runs across all of your organisation’s fundraising activities. Mention gifts in wills (however briefly) alongside other fundraising messages, in as many communications and marketing materials as you can. A simple message, letting your supporters know how important gifts in wills are to your beneficiaries, will help the legacy message to stick.

9. Take the long view

It may be several years before you see the results of a legacy campaign. Understanding how your lapse time can differ from the sector average can give a real insight into managing expectations on legacy campaigns and how to approach potential legators (the Enhanced Legacy Analysis Portal can provide this information). A legacy marketing campaign is not about fundraising targets; it is about identifying quality leads and genuine interest in legacies and moving prospects to actually amending their will to include a gift to your charity. You can measure success along the way by, for example, recording the number of new opportunities that arise following a legacy event or awareness week.

10. Tools

The Legacy Analysis Portal (free to Smee & Ford notification customers) or Enhanced Portal (available from £500 per year) allows you to track your charity’s legacy trends and strategy performance using your own charity’s real-time legacy data. This data can easily identify the profile and behaviours of your past legators, define growth opportunities, analyse trends and comparators. Use this insight to inform your legacy campaign strategies. A CRM system, which is regularly updated is vital to maintaining your supporter base and ensuring communication is relevant and correct.


To find out more about the Enhanced Legacy Analysis Portal and how it can support your legacy marketing strategy book a demo or join our next webinar:

Webinar: Starting to understand your legacy data
Date: Thursday 30th September at 11.30 BST

Book now: bit.ly/2Xq96xe

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