How to promote legacies internally

How to promote legacies internally

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Help your charity to embrace an internal culture that is supportive of legacy promotion by following these simple steps provided by THINK Consultancy.


It is often said that legacy fundraising can only be successful if it is seen and embraced as an ‘all organisation’ collective responsibility. Indeed, legacy marketing roles increasingly give equal priority to securing support from both external and internal audiences. But how can internal hearts and minds be won over? Here are a few simple steps you can take to build an internal culture that is supportive of legacy promotion.


Communicate the value of legacy income

Ensure everyone in the organisation knows the value of legacy income and what it has allowed/will allow your charity to achieve. Legacy income is a key plank of long-term financial security; no other income stream can influence income so far ahead - providing, of course, that investment is consistent and constant.  

Produce a quarterly legacy factsheet that reinforces legacy statistics, and use this as a constant backdrop to internal legacy promotion. Be clear on the timescales in play and thread this throughout your legacy facts. So if the average time between pledge and legacy receipt for your charity is seven years, present your messages in these terms: ‘The investment made by you/your predecessors seven years ago of £x has generated £y million income this year’. Talk about the average values of different types of legacies and create an internal shopping list to bring to life the types of work one legacy could fund.


Face the fear – and deal with it!

Many fundraisers, let alone other staff, find the legacy conversation a hard one to have. Death remains a difficult issue for many people to discuss and attaching it to a fundraising ask can take it beyond the ultimate taboo! It is critical to acknowledge these feelings and not dismiss them. Appropriate and ongoing training is vital in developing both confidence and competence. Meanwhile demonstrating how to use the pledger voice and avoid lots of legal/technical language can make the conversation much easier. 


Empower through training and internal PR

Induction training is the starting point for legacy awareness - where facts, figures and the vision for legacy promotion are shared with all new starters. Bespoke training and internal PR for different groups of staff and volunteers is the next step: Anyone who has supporter contact - fundraisers, supporter services, trustees, volunteers, directors etc - needs to become confident in making a legacy ask, both face to face and in writing. Produce a quarterly update on legacy activity and cascade this through presentations at team meetings. 


Give legacy pledgers a voice

The most powerful tool you have in persuading internal audiences to support legacy marketing is the testimony of supporters who have made a pledge. Including individual supporter quotes and case studies in your legacy factsheet will demonstrate the appropriateness of this type of support for many donors. Alongside, this, research and analysis of giving patterns can be used to allay fears that a legacy pledge can curtail ‘now’ giving.


Develop a network of legacy champions

While the legacy fundraisers need to lead on internal promotion, impact can be amplified and greater ground can be covered by developing a network of legacy champions across all parts of your organisation, who each advocate among their teams for support of legacy marketing.


Be clear on expectations

Everyone should have a personal objective linked to legacy activity. This will help to embed the importance of legacies across all teams and functions. Objectives will range from keeping up to date with legacy activity to setting specific targets connected to legacy conversations had and pledges received.  

And the final tip from THINK? Enthusiastic leadership! Culture change is never easy, but enthusiasm is infectious - so passion for legacy marketing is a vital asset for staff leading in this vital area of fundraising. 


This how-to guide was produced by the team at THINK Consulting.

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