By Guestblogger and legacy specialist, Sanita Guddu
Legacy fundraising isn’t for our charity. I hear this so often and it’s not surprising because more often than not, the charity I’m speaking to doesn’t have all the facts. They simply don’t know why legacy giving is so important. They don’t know why they should be (and need to be) on the legacy fundraising wagon (note that I didn’t say on the coffin!).
Which leads me to the first myth…
1. We’re not comfortable talking about death
We know that the receipt of a legacy gift is only possible on death. Something that the donor was aware of when making their Will to include your charity. I have never spoken about death either – not to my charity clients or to donors themselves. So how do you talk about legacies?
You give donors choice. The choice to decide whether this way is right for them. This is done firstly by sharing the difference your charity makes today – and could continue to do in the future – through their support. A gift in a Will, along with other forms of giving, is simply the vehicle that allows the donor to give to your cause.
2. We’re only a small charity
Having talked extensively with charities of all shapes and sizes, including those that identify themselves as small, I know that these organisations can and do promote legacies with their limited time and people-resources. The result?
They have secured future income whilst creating a norm amongst their staff, volunteers and donors that they do receive and need legacies.
3. Our supporters aren’t rich
Would it surprise you to know that most people who leave a charitable gift in their Will aren’t wealthy either? But what they do have in common is an asset – in the form of a house. Many charities find that those donors that have left even a small percentage of their estate, say 1% have generated more in income than cash legacies.
4. Only legacy fundraisers can talk about legacies and all that inheritance tax stuff
You may be pleased to know that there is no school that exists for this. And certainly not one that we have ever suggested a charity finds! We would discourage charities from claiming to know the rules because they change so often and differ from person to person. Instead, fundraisers should stick to what they do best: inspiring donors to give. And let the solicitors do the legal stuff.
5. Our donors are too young
Did you know every charity receives legacies from people that were never even on their database! Often these people are relatives or connections of a former volunteer or beneficiary. You certainly want to be promoting legacies to the people that are the closest to your charity: donors, volunteers and beneficiaries. But you never know where all your legacies are going to come from.
The bottom line
So, remember that if you have a strong donor or volunteer base, you can – and should – be promoting legacy giving. It should be a natural extension of the work you do, not something forced, staged or planned. And, if you are not asking your donors, volunteers and beneficiaries for legacies, you can be sure that someone is! And the outcome? Those supporters will leave a legacy to those charities that have asked.
Not sure how to start on your legacy fundraising plan? Why not schedule a call with me today. Click here to get in touch and to discover more about legacy giving.