Claire Smith

May 22, 2024, 9:30 AM

Legacy fundraising: now or never?

“We know we need to do legacy fundraising, but we don’t know where to start.” That’s a query I hear often, especially from small charities where one person is often responsible for multiple income streams. But what’s the answer?

Firstly, yes you do need to do legacy fundraising.

In tough economic times, charitable legacies are rising in both number and value. With that, competition for attention is likely to grow.

The ‘baby boomer’ generation are now well into their 70s. Charities not actively seeking gifts in wills are likely to miss out. After all, the biggest factor in someone choosing to leave a charitable gift remains the most strikingly simple: have they been asked?

Secondly, start where all good fundraising comms should start: with your supporters.

Legacy giving is closely tied to someone’s values, identity and their sense of ‘symbolic immortality’ – or, what remains from our lives after we’re gone.

For Christian charities, faith is likely a key reason people support your organisation, so think about the beliefs you share. Think about the long-term difference your charity can make in the future, alongside supporters. Develop legacy messaging which is visionary and values-based.

Legacy fundraising works best through a drip-drip approach. You never know when someone might make or amend their will, so ensure that every time your supporters interact with your charity, they read or hear something about leaving a gift in their will.

That overlooked email footer? Use it for legacy messaging. Need another web banner on the carousel? Gifts in wills. Back page ad for the supporter magazine? Free will-writing promo.

In small charities, gifts in wills can be utterly transformative. Among Christian organisations, faith is already a strong motivator for generous legacy giving. And at Action Planning, teams are here to help you develop impactful campaigns to realise your charity’s legacy income potential.

Need help with a legacy giving campaign? Contact office@actionplanning.co.uk


Claire Smith

Claire Smith is an experienced freelance copywriter specialising in charity sector communications. With a background in newspaper journalism and subsequently Head of Communications for a major international charity, she has experience across all communications functions and disciplines.

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