Legacy fundraising - taking pride of place in charities

Have Your Say

Guest Bloggers | 27 September 2017

Ashley Rowthorn, Director at Legacy Link and Legacy Voice looks ahead at speaking at this year's IoF Legacy conference and discusses why talking about legacies is becoming cool...

It’s a great time to be working in legacy giving. Often overlooked, or seen as the poor relation, legacies, or gifts in wills as we like to call them, are really coming to the fore and taking pride of place in fundraising charities across the UK and beyond.

In fact, legacies are becoming cool. 

No longer are legacy fundraisers the old-spiced-scented, clip-board-holding, estate-planners of the past. They are increasingly confident, and able to communicate the legacy message in more creative and engaging ways than ever before. Just look at the #HaveYourSay campaign for Remember a Charity Week 2017 as a great example of this. 

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Not to mention the fact that the levels of legacy giving are rising strongly, with more gifts going to more charities than ever before. And expected to more than double over the coming decades as the Baby Boomers pass on the biggest generational transfer of wealth in history. 

But with this opportunity comes a challenge. Legacy donor’s attitudes are changing, as are their expectations around how charities should behave and communicate with them. Traditional marketing techniques just won’t cut through any more. And as charities gain confidence and increase their legacy fundraising noise, the need to stand out becomes more pressing. 

So, do we really know what motivates donors to leave gifts to charity in their wills and what charity communications actually work? 

There has been a proliferation of research and study into legacy giving and the wider bequest motive over the last 10 years or more. But nowhere pulls this thinking into one place and translates it into something charities can put into action. 

Legacy Voice commissioned the University of Plymouth to do just that and they are about to publish the findings of a major literature review into the motivations of legacy giving. Drawing on over 150 research papers from the fields of Fundraising, Marketing, Economics, Psychology and the Behavioural Sciences, they present a model for the factors that influence legacy giving behaviour, and how charities can use this insight to tailor the nature of their communications message. 

Ashley Rowthorn, Legacy giving specialist and Director at Legacy Link and Legacy Voice


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