5 ways to bridge the legacy gap

5 ways to bridge the legacy gap

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As we approach Remember A Charity in your Will Week, Rob Cope shares his top 5 tips for bridging the legacy gap

In a recent poll by the British Heart Foundation, 43% of people said that they intend to leave money to charity in their will, and yet only 7% of the public currently do give in this way. Legacies bring in more than £2bn to the voluntary sector each year - but the potential is so much more. Every charity could raise income in this way, but the sector must work together to grow the marketplace.
Remember A Charity is a consortium of more than 150 charities working together to make legacy giving a social norm. As we build up to Remember A Charity in your Will Week (7-13 September 2015), here we give our top 5 tips for bridging the legacy gap.


1. Set out your long-term legacy vision


Every fundraising strategy needs a clear, coherent objective. Where does your organisation want to be in five or ten years’ time? How will charitable legacies help your work live on?
Create a vision of what legacies can help your charity to do. Then, ensure that all your staff, stakeholders and supporters understand how important legacies are and what role they could play.

For supporters, paint a picture of what a difference their gift could make. Celebrate the impact of legacies and the ‘living legends’ that leave a gift in their will.


2. Make more noise about legacies


Often, it’s a supporter’s own life events that trigger them to make a will - and when they do, make sure that your charity is front of mind. Make some noise about the importance of gifts in wills.
Legacies are the largest source of income for many charities, but while some charities strongly publicise and promote legacy giving, many organisations hardly give them a mention. Make sure that you have focal points during the year when legacies will be prioritised, and use a variety of channels to push out the message.
This doesn’t have to be costly. Simple measures like bringing legacies onto your charity’s homepage, including information in your newsletter and using social media channels can make a huge difference. (Social media channels are now being used by all generations. Make sure that your charity’s digital strategy reflects this and gives sufficient prominence to legacies.)
If your charity has a retail presence, remember to communicate legacies through your shops, informing staff and providing information to display and circulate in store.


3. Encourage everyone within your organisation to be a legacy champion


Imagine what would happen if everyone in your organisation was a legacy fundraiser?
If a charity can get all its staff involved, equipped and empowered to talk about legacies and become legacy champions – even if it’s just for one day, one week or one month of the year – it can make a huge difference to their legacy drive.
So, nominate a trustee to act as a legacy ambassador, and train every member of staff on the importance of legacies. Make sure this is added to the new staff induction process too. This way, everyone in your organisation will be given the knowledge, tools and confidence to talk about legacies.


4. Be bold – don’t fear conversations about death


If you don’t like conversations that veer towards death you are not alone. Many people are uncomfortable talking about dying, and many others about money. A legacy conversation may bridge both these areas, but the focus remains on the charitable gift and it should be just as aspirational and positive as any other form of giving.
It is simply a case of having open, frank conversations about the opportunity of leaving a gift to charity after taking care of family and loved ones.
Such a conversation should not be feared, and it certainly need not be a sombre affair. There is no reason that you can’t inject the same creativity, inspiration and even humour as you would with other fundraising campaigns, just like this Take A Moment campaign.


5. Work together - and get involved with Remember A Charity in your Will Week


Remember A Charity raises awareness about charitable legacies throughout the year, but our awareness week is a focal point that helps charities get the legacy conversation started.
This year’s campaign is expected to be our biggest yet. Building on the success of the 2014 ‘Living Legends’ theme, it calls on people to do something ‘legendary’ by leaving a gift to charity in their will. We are running a high-profile consumer advertising and PR campaign, aimed primarily at the over 60s, with links from our website to all member charities.
We give our members resources to champion legacies throughout the organisation and externally, which has led to hundreds of legacy enquiries during the week. Last year, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s involvement helped the charity achieve more than 200 new enquiries, and Marie Curie reached more than 370,000 people through Facebook with their adoption of the ‘Living Legends’ theme.
Every charity can get involved in this year’s campaign by joining the consortium. The more charities that come on board and get involved, the more noise we can make and the quicker we can bridge the gap.


Rob Cope is director of Remember A Charity, a consortium of over 150 member charities which work together to encourage people to consider making gifts in wills. To learn more about Remember A Charity Week, 7-13 September, visit www.rememberacharityweek.org.uk
Follow Rob Cope on Twitter @robantonycope

 

DID YOU KNOW: You can set up a FREE legacy fundraising page on Charity Choice? 

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