Legacy data and trends session
The day began with an in-depth look at the data and trends in legacy giving, with insights and research from Smee & Ford, Radcliffe Consulting and Farewill. This session also considered the external factors shaping people’s legacy planning, and how online wills have taken centre stage during the spring 2020 lockdown.
Mark Pincher, Smee & Ford, showed that total legacy income for the top 3,000 charities rose significantly from £0.7bn in the late 90s to £2.7bn now. He said “the potential for legacy giving is very positive, and on an upward trend. It’s a great time for legacy fundraising.”
Richard Radcliffe, Radcliffe Consulting: “I am more interested in legacies than I have been for the past 32 years, so.... get going with your campaign - the potential is huge!”
Natasha Pawade, Farewill: “Since the spring lockdown, most charities have had to reposition their legacy message – continue regular communication with your supporters - it is vital at this time.”
Building a legacy strategy
We asked representatives from several charities to reveal how they have established and strengthened legacy fundraising strategies within their organisation – and how they had got their plans up and running, even with very modest budgets.
Kerry McMenamin, Target Ovarian Cancer: “Consider who you need to have on board your legacy love boat – which senior staff do you need to be engaged with your legacy fundraising strategy?”
Matt Smith, London Air Ambulance: “Put the supporter into your legacy message, make them part of the story – so they feel involved from the very start of the conversation.”
Sheila Fergusson, Samaritans: “Try to convey relatable experiences to your supporters – so they feel in touch with the core messages of your campaign.”
Growing a legacy strategy
We looked at how virtual events have suddenly come into their own, with a large percentage of charities moving into online events for the first time. With many legacy pledgers and supporters in the older age groups, we discussed how virtual events can reach these audiences when face to face meetings are not possible.
Clare Sweeney, St Anne’s Hospice: “We’re at a microwave moment – that a crisis has created an opportunity – and virtual events have provided an opportunity keep our audiences warm. Move with times – be like Netflix, not like Blockbuster!”
In this new stream for LSS, we spoke with legacy professionals from The Netherlands, the USA, and Canada, and compared their approaches to legacy fundraising with the methods in the UK.
We assembled a panel of academic organisations from the UK and USA to look at how charities can make the most of an international database of alumni supporters. Dee Brecker and Viet-Anh Hua from the London School of Economics and Carolyn Jones, from Liverpool University, revealed how UK institutions were approaching their alumni by using anecdotes and storytelling – giving an insight into how previous legacies had helped their students.
Lynn Malzone Ieradi, Director of Gift Planning at the University of Pennsylvania, revealed how their multi-million-dollar legacy strategy targeted alumni from the moment they leave academia – with students pledging legacies from their early 20s. The research by Dr Russell James of Texas Tech looked at the affects of giving on the personality of donors – with donors feeling more inclined to leave additional donations once they had settled their own legacy plans.