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Setting Your Legacy Strategy

Setting Your Legacy Strategy

With all the recent shocks to fundraising income, charities that have a steady legacy income will be glad they have invested in legacy marketing in previous years. Yet many continue to lose out on legacies because they have never got round to developing a proper legacy strategy.

However, designing and implementing an effective legacy strategy is not so difficult and will repay itself many times over in the future. So where to start?

A simple approach to planning a legacy campaign can be based on the 3 P's of legacy fundraising. These are the People you will appeal to, the Proposition you will use and the Promotional channels you will use get your message out. If you get these core elements right, you will have the main ingredients of a legacy strategy.

When considering the people you will target, every charity is different and your opportunities will not be the same as the charity next door. Audiences can include donors, volunteers, clients, members, relatives and friends of clients, trustees, shop or site visitors, social media followers and many more. So start by listing all the audiences you can reach and put some numbers against them. You will be surprised at how many people you can reach with a legacy message! Give some thought too to the types of people you have identified. What are the like? How do they compare to the people who may have left you legacies in the past (if any)? How can you best reach them? What sort of language will you need to employ when talking to them about legacies? How old are they? Are they mostly men, women or a mixture?

Then think about the proposition or case for support. Why should anyone leave your organisation a legacy? What difference will it make? What might motivate them (for example, it could be to give something back if they have received help, or it might be to help others)? The proposition should be positive, inspiring and future focussed. It is not about death but about the future. You need to appeal to both "head and heart" in the message you will use. Some emotion is important but people also need to feel it makes sense and that their money will be put to good use. So make a strong case for the needs you are addressing and underline how your charity is well placed to meet them. Once you have a draft, consider testing this and other aspects of the campaign in a focus group of potential donors.

Thirdly, you need to plan the communication of your legacy messages to the audiences you have identified. Again, every charity is different and your communications mix will not be the same as the next. Most campaigns use a mixture of traditional comms (literature, displays, mailings) and digital (website, email, social media). Integration is key here and will also keep the costs of your campaign down. Try to build your legacy messaging into the other things you plan to do and remember to drip feed the message gently but regularly over time. Legacy fundraising is soft sell but needs to be kept in front of people regularly, as few people will rush out the first time they read it to make or change their will.

There are of course many other things you can do to build future legacy income, but if you get these three basic steps right, you will have a legacy campaign that you can build on. Be sure to maintain it over time, so that, when the results start to come in, you will see a sustained income for the future.

If you would like to talk about developing or refreshing your legacy campaign, please call us on 01785 663600 for a free chat. There is also further information about our legacy fundraising services here.

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