Marcia Prince, Legacy Manager at The Salvation Army and speaker at the upcoming Excellence in Legacy Administration conference on 4 December, discusses how collaboration between Legal Administration and fundraising can bring real benefit to charities…
Legacy Administration involves monitoring and supporting the work of executors to ensure that things go smoothly and that our charity receives its entitlement. We also have a legal obligation to comply with the terms of the Will and honour the wishes of the deceased in how the gift is used. In addition to this, we manage a number of relationships tactfully in order to protect our charity’s reputation.
Legacies are vital to charities
Now let’s think for a minute about the role legacies play within a charity. For most, legacies are a major source of income. The funds are used to deliver our core charitable purpose. The projects funded generate great stories that our charities use to demonstrate our impact. These stories in turn generate supporters through membership, volunteering, donating or pledging a gift in their Will. Eventually, this support then generates more legacies. If Legacy Administration does our job sensitively, those associated with the estate are more likely to continue to support our charity.
I worked closely with the Head of Legacy Development and Individual Giving, Alison Edwards, at the National Trust to develop collaborative working between legacy development and Legacy Administration. When asked about the benefits of working together, Alison observed, “It is relatively obvious that the work of a legacy development team has an impact on Legacy Administration, but it isn’t necessarily as clear that an engaged Legacy Administration team can also have a significant impact on the work of their development colleagues; building strong relationships with executors and the family of the deceased can create a positive loop that leads to more legacy giving enquiries, as well as commemorative and cash donations.”
A concerted effort
Doesn’t it give you a thrill when, at the end of an administration, someone asks for your charity’s Will brochure because they want to leave a gift as well? A referral to a good legacy fundraiser then completes the cycle, and so a new supporter journey begins. As you see, there is a real synergy between Legacy Administration and legacy fundraising.
So, what ways can we work together for the benefit of our charity? Here are my top three areas where I think Legacy Administration can really add value to legacy fundraising:
- Legacy Administration are often told why a gift has been left to the charity and we see what areas of our work generate the most restricted gifts. By sharing this information with our legacy development colleagues, they can develop appropriate messages and communications. Likewise, they can tell us about any trends emerging from supporters making Wills now, so we can plan ahead to accommodate these gifts.
- A common complaint from fundraising teams is that they struggle to find out how legacy funds are spent to identify good case studies for appeals and legacy campaigns. Often, the Legacy Administration team hears about great projects funded by legacies. Restricted gifts can become a gateway into finding out how funds are used and the impact they make. Creating a bank of projects and stories for your fundraising colleagues can help with all forms of fundraising.
- We can make our expertise available to supporters making Wills. Working with the legacy fundraisers, we can help avoid some of the common pitfalls in Will drafting, particularly for restricted gifts. We can provide training on basic Will making information and review draft marketing and Will making materials. We are often better placed than a fundraiser to discuss intentions with a supporter and to help them structure a gift to achieve what they want while providing a real benefit to the charity.
A lot of charities have come up with innovative ways for the legacy teams to work together. We share experience and best practice within the Legacy Administration community, as do Legacy Fundraisers. In future, I would like to see Legacy Administrators and legacy fundraisers looking for ways to share more with each other to advance legacy giving across the whole sector.
Marcia will be moderating a panel debate on maximising opportunities for Legacy Administration and legacy fundraising to work together at the Excellence in Legacy Administration conference on 4 December 2018. For more information and to book your place, click here.