Richard Radcliffe explains why a strong legacy proposition needs to do more than just fire up supporters, it needs to provoke them to take action. Because the absence of an effective call to action (CTA) will lead to the absence of a Will…
There is no bigger crime than to issue an annual report or impact report that says, “this is what we did last year.” “What we did” is futile – it is “what we achieved” that swells the heart of a donor.
Features send supporters to sleep, outcomes on the other hand, make them sit up, pay attention and feel great. The key is to talk about “the future”. There is no more serious omission than giving a talk and not detailing your long-term vision.
So, what is a legacy proposition?
There is no single proposition which will be guaranteed to make people leap out of their seats, leave a bar, or arise from the toilet, with them screaming “I can be part of this”. But that’s a good thing, because it essentially means that there is no ceiling on our potential; we have an abundance of options to choose from when it comes to the experimentation and testing our propositions.
Legacy propositions can be long or short. There can be one for each programme or project area. But what each one has in common is the ignition of desire to make a difference and for each supporter to be fired up.
A call to action is key
However, making the donor feel good is only part of the solution. Such joy is great – but it does not trigger a visit to, or contact with, a professional Will writer, it just makes them feel good.
To enable action there must be a CTA which breaks down the barriers which confront all of us. For instance, the CTA must be strong enough to mitigate the all too common thought of, “I have to organise or re-organise my Will… ah that can wait until tomorrow.”
When it comes to Will making, a 30-year-old will typically act at a much slower pace than say a retired person, who is more likely to prioritise their Will and tackle it in a flash. The legacy propositions we develop must be supported by a “Will proposition” that makes our supporters realise just how incredibly easy it is to do and spur them into action, no matter what stage in life they are at.
Remember: no CTA leads to no Will.
The proposition to make or change a Will
In focus groups there is an incredible diversity about the information supporters need to get them to act. Overly simplifying information about Will making is key here. Do not think that Baby boomers will be patronised simplistic language: nobody wants a highly convoluted and detailed breakdown of tax benefits.
The Will proposition is intended to give them the action they need to take without any hassle.
Then we have the issue of Will making offers – do they want a free Will or a discounted Will, or neither? How will they make a Will – online or with a solicitor? And how can they change their Will? Please note that over 50% of prospects (not the general British public) aged over 50 already have a Will – so how can they change it easily? Not by a codicil anymore, that is for certain.
Do you give them the wording to put in their Will? Be careful not to fall foul of the Fundraising Regulator/Code of Practice – which says you should not give the precise wording unless you are 100% sure that it is correct. Mind you, there is nothing more infuriating for a solicitor than to be told by a charity how to phrase a legacy in their client’s Will.
The topic of calls to action will be debated further at the Legacy Strategy Summit on 13 June, London, to ensure that you get clarity – or as close to clarity as is humanly possible.
Written by Richard Radcliffe, Founder, Radcliffe Consulting
Richard will be co-chairing a breakout session on building a creative legacy proposition aligned with your charity mission at this year's Legacy Strategy Summit on 13 June 2019, London. To find out more or to book your place, visit https://legacystrategysummit.com/