TOPIC | Setting up a sustainable legacy programme

Designing an appropriate legacy giving programme can transform the future of your organisation, providing the sort of financial security you never thought possible.

All too often, though, charities begin by focusing a legacy narrative on the ‘taboo’ subject of death. To motivate potential givers, a legacy giving programme should be driven by ‘life’. Successful campaigns thrive on a positive outlook; one that focuses on the impact of a future gift and the sense of empowerment this can generate. The idea that our ‘final gift’ offers some aspect of immortality, can also be a powerful driver when someone makes a bequest. There’s a sense of being able to influence a future where beliefs live on and values are perpetuated, long after we are gone.

Understand | Inspire | Steward

Creating a legacy programme that’s just right for your organisation isn’t easy. You’ll need to work hard at understanding and cultivating your supporter base, developing an inspirational concept that includes appropriate recognition and stewarding your givers throughout their journey with you.

The days of being able to describe a ‘typical’ legacy donor are a thing of the past. Changing work and income patterns, coupled with frequent amendments to UK tax laws, means that individuals of all ages and backgrounds are now making wills and considering the most tax-efficient options for managing their finances, long-term. Thankfully, the UK leads the global stage in will-making, with 49% of all adults having a valid will in 2015. This offers an ideal opportunity for charities to explore their potential for legacy gifts that benefit both themselves and their donors.

In our experience, it’s highly unlikely that tax benefits alone will inspire someone to leave a legacy gift. Charities that make the effort to build lasting relationships, are always more successful in securing the ‘ultimate gift’ from individuals who have probably been supporting them on a regular basis, for some time. And, because we know that on average, people change their will three years before dying, it’s critical to invest the effort in thoughtful stewardship once a bequest has been made. Whether this involves membership of an exclusive ‘club’, invitations to VIP events or a personal letter from the organisation’s leader every year – charities that genuinely take care of their legacy givers are far less likely to see them drift away and choose a more ‘deserving’ cause to support.

If your organisation is looking to create a sustainable legacy programme, why not get in touch with one of our directors and ask for an initial, no-obligations discussion. Alternatively, read more about legacy giving in our book, Gifted Fundraising - by ordering your free copy online and quoting 'Legacy offer' in the message field. Offer ends 24 December 2018.

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