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Legacy Fundraising – It’s Now Or Never!

Legacy Fundraising – It’s now or never!

We are really encouraging the charities we work with and advise that there really is no better time to push legacies or take the plunge in introducing it as a new income stream. As the only form of fundraising anticipated to grow over the next decade with the Baby Boomer generation passing away, we really do see this income stream as a key opportunity and a ray of light in an otherwise gloomy and challenging fundraising environment.  

But we get its very easy telling busy charities to go and do something – even when it makes sound sense, but it’s a completely different ball game getting started. We all know what it’s like- getting started on something from a blank page and pushing over that first domino takes the most effort and is usually the hardest work. Whether it’s a big project, application and especially when it comes to embarking on a new area of fundraising- such as legacies, where it can seem daunting on where to even begin. We believe so much that ALL charities- big, medium and small that have supporters also have this wonderful opportunity of receiving a legacy gift which is why we want you all to be able to take advantage and hopefully get your slice of the legacy pie. So here are our top tips on getting started: 


  1. Do your Homework: Have you EVER had a legacy gift pledge or even an enquiry? When was it? How much was it for and who was it? What was their link to the charity? For some organisations, this may be a simple no (in which case read on), but for others you may have already had some gifts. Now why is that important if its in the past? Well not only does it give you some indication if you have a history of legacy giving and you may be able to gain some insights around the types of people that left a gift to your organization, but it may also help you uncover some of the stories behind these gifts, which are equally important as we will go on to cover. Maybe you haven’t had a gift yet, but maybe you have some pledges- even better – people that you can talk to and steward NOW. Or perhaps you have had some people ask about this form of giving and have some early prospects to develop? 
  1. Tell a story: Stories are one of the best ways to showcase legacy giving and particularly stories of people who have left a gift to your cause and their why behind that. This is because people connect to people and if they hear of people- like them who have a love/ passion for you cause who leave a gift in their Will and what that means to them, it can be inspiring, but it can also focuses in on the positive- the joy and fulfilment that people can derive from allowing their memory to live on long after they are gone through a cause and mission which mattered deeply to them (or their loved one). Good stories focus on a strong WHY and on hope for a better future. They should also be relatable- so we rarely include details of large states or amounts left to the charity, as that could be off putting, but rather focus on people wanting to pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. 
  1. Ambassadors Engaging legacy fundraising ambassadors is a powerful way to inspire others to give in this way. These are donors who have already included your organisation in their Will and can share their motivations first-hand. Ask ambassadors to provide testimonials about why they chose to make a legacy gift. Feature their authentic voices across your channels to show the profound impact gifts in wills can make. Most importantly make sure they are relatable- so over time you may have different ambassadors who can appeal to different donor audiences. Don’t have any pledges or past gifts? Have you asked your board if any of them have left a gift as your organisation are looking for ambassador stories to share to help boost your legacy fundraising. 
  1. Language is everything The language you use shapes how donors perceive your mission. Use donor-centric phrasing like “you make this possible” Simple linguistic pivots engage donors as partners and heroes. You will also want to use more abstract and visionary messaging when it comes to legayc giving (as opposed to the more tangible language you may use with in life giving). So rather than language such as £500 could go towards, you would want to be more top level and have them buy into the vision of the cause- for instance – ‘Your kindness ensures a lifetime of care and support for those affected by…’ 
  1. Drip, drip, drip Legacy giving is a long-term consideration, so sustain the conversation through a drip marketing campaign across all communications. Work legacy messaging into newsletters, appeals, event invitations – every touchpoint. Celebrate legacy donors, share impact stories, and reiterate how easy it is to join your society. Persistence ensures your legacy programme stays top-of-mind. 

Are you ready to Rocket Launch Legacy Fundraising – Join the waitlist for our new 4 week legacy action learning programme or email for in house organisation training.

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