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According to recent research by Legacy Foresight, the UK legacy market was worth £3.4 billion in 2019 and is set to grow by 37% at current prices over the next ten years, to reach £4.7 billion by 2029.
In recent years, a lot of this growth has been achieved by smaller charities becoming more proactive in this field and starting to challenge the larger nationals which have historically dominated the market.
To achieve your share of the £4.7 billion, your charity needs to be acting now to encourage supporters and others to remember it in their will, given the long timeframe for legacy fundraising. So where to start?
When seeking legacies, it could be tempting just to fire off some legacy requests or to develop a legacy leaflet and think you have a campaign, but do resist this temptation and start by planning your legacy strategy properly. It will pay dividends in the long run.
The 3 P’s
It is very helpful to plan a campaign based on the 3 core pillars, which relate to People, Proposition and Promotions. If you get these right, then you will get legacies in future, even if you do nothing more (and there will be other things you can do to increase results).
Start by listing all the different audiences you can appeal to. These will vary a lot from one charity to another, but typically include current and past donors, volunteers, trustees, former staff, clients or families of clients, visitors to your facilities, web visitors etc. Chances are there will be more than you realised. Next, think about their characteristics and demographics. How do they compare to the people who have left you legacies to date? How can you reach them?
Next, think about the legacy proposition or case for support. This will be different from your everyday case, in that it will be very much visionary and future focussed (as opposed to addressing specific needs and costs today). It needs to inspire people to give and connect with both head and heart by conveying how their legacy can make the world a better place and help solve the issues your charity is addressing. It needs to make a logical case for leaving a legacy but also call forth an emotional response to encourage people to act. Once you have a draft you are reasonably happy with and a strap line to sum up the appeal, test them on a range of people who reflect the audiences you will be targeting. Normally, this is done in focus groups, but in current circumstances, other methods can be used, such as via email or online surveys. Questions to ask: Would this motivate you to give? How could it be improved? Is the focus right? Has anything obvious been left out? Is the tone right? Who should be asking?
Finally, think about how the proposition or case will be communicated to the people you have identified. Start by listing all your options, then prioritise them in terms of cheapest/easiest first. Then develop your communications plan to target your legacy prospects regularly over time.
As part of your strategy and to support your campaign, you are likely to need some fundraising materials to get the message across. These will probably consist of both digital resources and traditional materials. The key aim is to keep the message in front of your audiences regularly but gently. Leaving a legacy is a big decision for anyone to make and is not usually made in a hurry, so regular prompts can help..
There are many other issues you will need to consider when planning your legacy campaign, such as how to steward interested people, who should be the public face of the campaign, how to monitor results (especially if you are starting from scratch), what emphasis, if any, you will place on enquirers and pledgers and more besides. However, if you get the 3 P’s right and apply your campaign consistently over time, you will make an impact and secure your share of that £4.7 billion.
Seek Advice if you need it
Finally, if you have questions about planning or implementing a legacy campaign or need help with developing the case or with copy writing for legacies, do get in touch by calling Simon George on 01785 663600 or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
How are your current propositions or case communicated currently? We can help develop your communications plan to target your legacy prospects regularly over time. View our video today to find out how we can help with your copywriting.
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