Remember ‘Remember a Charity Week’?

Remember a Charity week 12-18th September #mywisdom

John Baguley | 15 September 2016

Yes, it is this week and isn’t it time that more than 7% of the population left a legacy to a charity? The calculation is that a 4% change in our behaviour would lead to £1 billion extra for good causes.

So, perhaps the time for pleading, nudging and asking politely is over. Like leaving body parts to hospitals, it is never going to happen, even though 35% of people say they would be happy to leave a gift in their wills - that’s £7 billion missed by the way. 

Why not set the bar at 10% of the residue of a Will being left to charity unless the person opts out? Like all big ideas, at first it may sound like a fantasy, but in time it may just make good sense. The Government collects inheritance tax easily enough, and the same mechanism could be employed, or solicitors and others who make out wills could be tasked with asking the question. 

It’s certainly time for some opting out for a change – as Theresa May demolishes Cameron’s legacy, she could spare a thought for a really effective Big Society action.  

But, if you prefer the concrete here and now practical action, let’s look at five tips to make sure your charity is chosen in a Will: 

  • Obviously, let all your supporters know how important this is to you and not just the elderly, as once you are in their Will you will probably stay there. 


  • Next, have a solicitor who is prepared to visit your supporters who show an interest. The difference this makes cannot be overestimated. 


  • In the same way that we put a good example on the top of sponsorship forms which everyone followed, giving the amount suggested, so have that 10% of residue set out on all your sample forms and on your website, Instagram etc. 


  • Language is all important and in talking about wills with your supporters discover the way they express themselves in this area, which may be different in different localities or for different segments of your donor-base, so be prepared to segment your legacy appeals for maximum effect. 


  • Cultivating legacies is not a stand-alone activity you should be doing once every few years if you happen to remember, it works best as part and parcel of your whole fundraising programme; and grows in your supporters’ minds until it forms an imperative, and they know they not only should leave a legacy but they actually want to. 


So, who will lead this new campaign: well, if you have the ear of an aspiring politician, or better still a frontbencher, whisper softly “10% and 7 billion left to charity” - now that’s a real legacy. 

Join Remember A Charity and increase legacy giving for your charity. By joining the consortium, you will be a part of our annual, high profile awareness week, have access to legacy research and marketing resources among many other benefits. Get involved with the campaign this year on Twitter and pass on something legendary with #mywisdom 


John Baguley, CEO, International Fundraising Consultancy

In his 35 years as fundraiser, director and consultant, John Baguley has taken charities of all sizes to new heights – and earned an international reputation for excellence in the process.       


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