Size of the prize
Communicating the value of legacy income and what it has/will allow your charity to achieve is vital. Legacy income is a key plank of long term financial security; no other income stream can influence income so far ahead providing investment is consistent and constant. Supporting legacy promotion activity is a way in which an individual can have an impact on the ongoing success of the charity, which continues post their employment.
Produce a quarterly legacy factsheet which reinforces legacy statistics and use this as a constant backdrop to internal legacy promotion. Be clear on the timescales in play and thread this throughout your legacy facts. So if the average time between pledge and legacy receipt for your charity is 7 years, present your messages in these terms: ‘The investment made by you/your predecessors 7 years ago of £x has generated £y million income this year’. Talk about the average values of different types of legacies and create an internal shopping list to bring to life the types of work one legacy could fund.
Face the fear – and deal with it!
Many fundraisers, let alone other staff, find the legacy conversation a hard one to have. Death remains a difficult issue for many people to discuss and attaching it to a fundraising ask can take it beyond the ultimate taboo! It is critical to acknowledge these feelings and not dismiss them. Appropriate and ongoing training is vital to develop both confidence and competence, while demonstrating how to use the pledger voice and avoid lots of legalise language can make the conversation much easier.
Empower through training and internal PR
Induction training is the starting point, where facts, figures and the vision for legacy promotion are shared with all new starters. Bespoke training and internal PR for different groups of staff and volunteers is the next step, making training reflective of the role to be played by individuals. Anyone who has supporter contact – fundraisers, supporter services, trustees, volunteers, directors etc – needs to become confident in making a legacy ask, both face to face and in writing. Produce a quarterly update on legacy activity and cascade this through presentations at team meetings.
Give legacy pledgers a voice
The most powerful tool you have in persuading internal audiences to support legacy marketing is the testimony of supporters who have made a pledge. Including individual supporter quotes and case studies in your legacy factsheet will demonstrate the appropriateness of this type of support for many donors and research and analysis of giving patterns can be used to allay fears that a legacy pledge can curtail “now” giving.
Develop a network of legacy champions
The legacy fundraisers need to lead on internal promotion, however impact can be amplified and greater ground covered by developing a network of legacy champions across all parts of your organisation who advocate amongst their teams for support to the legacy marketing process.
Be clear on expectations
Everyone should have a personal objective linked to legacy activity. This will help to embed the importance of legacies across all teams and functions. Objectives will range from keeping up to date with legacy activity to specific targets connected to legacy conversations had and pledges received.
And the final tip from THINK? Enthusiastic leadership! Culture change is never easy but we all know how infectious enthusiasm can be, so passion for legacy marketing is a vital asset for staff leading in this vital area of fundraising to have and to demonstrate on a daily basis.
The THINK team