Start showing audiences how they can make a lasting impact through legacy giving
Legacy giving is a touchy subject, since it’s often to do with a donor’s last wishes. Despite the personal issues around giving upon death, many still choose to leave assets to charity.
Generous legacy donations are in fact forecast to grow. Legacy Foresight, an authority on legacy donations, predicts that this type of charity income will double in real terms by 2050.
No matter what size of charity you are, it’s important not to miss out on the legacy gift fundraising opportunity. As part of your strategy, reach out and speak to donors about how they can ensure a lasting impact.
In this article, we offer some vital tips on how to prepare for legacy giving and what to avoid.
The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) says that a legacy gift is: “A gift that someone leaves to a charitable organisation in their Will.”
CAF acknowledges that there are a lot of considerations when leaving donations of this type. Do your teams have the in-house skills and knowledge to administer these wishes? Can this type of donation be fundraised alongside regular activities? These questions should both be part of how you approach donors for legacy gifts.
Here are some top tips for charities hoping to get involved in legacy giving.
Death is typically when charities receive their legacy gifts. Unfortunately planning around death can be awkward for legacy gift officers. Freewill, the drafting service, offers some advice for non-profits, suggesting that talking about death brings out two reactions: avoidance and lasting impact.
Charities will want to steer clear of the avoidance feelings and towards the latter. Focusing communications away from the end ensures that charities don’t get too caught up.
To maximise your legacy gift opportunities, make it easy. When broaching the subject of legacy giving, you’ll want to have information on wills, executors, and administrators to hand. This ensures that when potential donors have questions you can direct them to the right digital resources.
To emphasise, Legacy Voice, the specialist consultancy says that two-thirds of adults haven’t created a will. Not having a will means that it won’t be possible to leave a legacy gift.
Will specialist Bequeathed offers digital resources for smaller charities. They provide information on tax, executors, and the basics to include when drafting wishes.
For free services, many charities provide will templates, including Marie Curie, Samaritans, and Age UK. And many specialist teams, such as Farewill, can answer any questions and make the will writing process easy.
Donors may be supportive of your cause over many years. The NCVO says that consistent exposure to this type of giving increases the likely of a donation.
The organisation says: “People tend to write or update their wills at significant life points (marriage, birth of children, retirement and illness). Think about how you can incorporate awareness of this into your promotions.”
Broaching the subject of legacy giving shouldn’t start at the very of end your relationship when donors may be stressed. The top tip here is to make sure that gifts are secured before families are in crisis mode. Having the conversation during happier times can help you manoeuvre away from negative feelings.
The messaging for legacy giving needs to focus more on longevity than event fundraising. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is one of the UK’s top charities when it comes to legacy giving. Reporting for 2019, the charity raised nearly £130 million from legacies out of its total funding pool of £190 million.
Taking a look at the messaging, the RNLI is clear where donations go. They include an entire section of how gifts ‘live’ on and how the tradition of giving stretches back over 200 years of lifesaving.
Regardless of size, legacy donors aren’t forgotten. The RNLI inscribes legacy donors’ names on the side of their boats, ensuring that every name goes on to save lives at sea.
Helping your potential donor get into the legacy mindset shifts the approach away from death. Let audiences hear why other people have made their gifts.
Cancer Research UK is the most successful legacy fundraiser. In 2021, the charity successfully raised £214 million from legacies, which comprises of over one third of the total income. As part of their overall digital marketing campaign, videos of why people have donated are front and centre.
The campaign features cancer survivors and their wish to fund further research. Implicitly, the message is that cancer takes more than one lifetime to cure. From a digital marketing perspective, these stories bring out the emotional side to giving.
Legacies don’t always come in the form of cash donations. In fact, charities looking for cash may be missing out on opportunities. Many donors choose to leave gifts of property, lump sums, or equity shares. Make sure that your audiences are aware of all the options that they have to make an impact.