Legacy Fundraising Essentials
According to the FrrstMonday (http://www.eurodmltd.com/) the essentials of a successful legacy promotion programme are:
Step 1. Clear definition and targeting of genuine legacy prospects. There is no point in trying to take on the world here. Better to target those people who are realistic prospects for a legacy gift in the not too far distant future. Who are they? In our book they are people who share all of the 4 following characteristics:- women with no surviving family, aged over 70, living in their own home ( ie not in rented accommodation ) and who have a reasonable quality of association with the charity ( through giving over several years, volunteering, serving as a trustee, benefiting directly or indirectly from the work of the charity). Cause of death charities also benefit from the strong association that surviving family have of people who died from a particular disease or condition. Carry out a survey of mailing lists and past records and create a list of legacy prospects who meet these criteria.
Step 2. Create a stock of legacy promotion materials. These are the ‘tools of the trade’ – the materials that are going to take your legacy promotion message to the prospects. As a minimum, you need a good general legacy promotion leaflet that explains how vital legacy gifts are to achieving the founding purpose or vision of the charity. Additional leaflets can cover topics such as why it is vital to have a valid will and why it is just as important to keep your will up to date.
Step 3. Map out a 12 month programme of contact with all the people on your prospect list. A minimum of 2 contacts a year and a maximum of 6 are advisable. The first contact should launch your new legacy promotion programme to the prospect list and offer them the helpful leaflets you have produced. The second can provide an update on progress of the charity’s work so far that year. Others can give news of successes, setbacks, developments. The idea is to start a regular series of communications with prospects that invites them to contact you in return. This to and fro of contact cements relationships and builds understanding. And because each of these contacts also promotes legacy giving, the link between the future of the charity’s work and a legacy gift is reinforced.
Step 4 Each contact in Step 3 will also ask prospects to indicate their intentions – whether they already have included your charity in their will, or have a serious intention of doing so. Those who do let you know are now your best prospects of all and need very careful nurturing. A personal letter from the Chair of Trustees is a good idea here, giving genuine ‘inside’ information on how the charity is progressing. This makes the donor feel that they are ‘sitting at the top table’ with the person leading the charity and privy to information not widely available. Inviting these prospects to special functions during the year only helps to cement the bond.
Step 5. Look forward to increased legacy income.