10 top tips for successful legacy marketing

10 top tips for successful legacy marketing

Get to grips with legacy marketing by following these ten simple steps:


1. Get internal buy-in

Before you can run a legacy marketing campaign, you need to get leadership buy-in. Equipped with the insight and information contained in this report, you can help your CEO and trustees appreciate the importance of legacy income, and get their support in promoting legacies across the whole organisation. Legacy marketing will work much better with everyone on board.


2. Identify your legacy prospects

Use this report to help you identify prospect groups to focus on, 'grey areas' that can potentially be targeted, and indicators of when supporters may be writing their will. If you keep a list of lapsed donors, don't dismiss them – they may have stopped giving due to their financial circumstances at the time, but might respond well if offered a different proposition such as leaving a gift in their will.


3. Get clued up

Make sure you are armed with good knowledge of 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.


4. Break the taboo

Don't be afraid to go out and have conversations with your supporters about gifts in wills. If you're not prepared to open up a dialogue about legacies, you simply won't get anywhere. Some of your supporters may have never considered leaving a gift in their will before – or even writing a will. A conversation about it will provide food for thought to discuss with family and partners.


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 – they help supporters to 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 record your supporter’s details correctly, and update your data regularly. Out-of-date or inaccurate data generates waste and expense, and donors might get annoyed or upset if their name is spelt incorrectly, or if they are sent communications when they have asked to no longer receive them. 


8. Take a multichannel approach

Think about how you might be able to integrate the various communication channels – direct mail, face to face, email and telephone calls – so that they complement one another. Use social media to connect with your supporters. You might also consider holding tailored legacy events for supporters – they are fantastic opportunities to talk about your work and how gifts in wills can help.


9. Cross-sell the legacy message

Ensure that the legacy message runs across all of your organisation’s fundraising activity. 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.


10. Take the long view

Remember, it may be several years before you see results of a legacy campaign in the form of hard cash. 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.

by Jenny Ramage, Editor, The Fundraiser 


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