Every so often, there comes a chance to make a big difference, somewhere, somehow. For, legacies its right here, right now – but it needs a new era of leadership.
At first glance, times are about to get hard for legacy fundraising. Trapped by the way the economy performs, income is likely to fall in the short term. Values in properties are falling and this could hurt us all badly. Values are one thing – the number of people who leave a gift in their will is another. Whilst we all fight for a smaller share of a seemingly shrinking market we could all be forgiven for thinking this was the time to quietly shuffle off and hide somewhere. Actually, I believe its the opposite. As the death rate declines and then starts to increase we have a real opportunity to invest in transforming the future legacy landscape.
Firstly, we need to explain, reasure and convince our supporters – all our charity supporters who still don’t get it. They need to feel ok about it, understand what to do, know that their family comes first and that’s ok, understand its for everyone not just the rich, and believe that a small gift of what ever is left will make a huge difference – to their cause and for them. They need to be motivated to take action. Secondly we need to expand the market. To reach out to a new generation and educate them to turn legacy giving into a new social norm. Thirdly, we need to all become legacy fundraisers – a skill that every one should understand through simple knowledge, tools and confidence. Fourthly, we need to focus on what works – stopping what doesn’t and sharing and promoting best practice. Finally, to make this happen the sector needs to speak and act together. This is a time for collaboration. This is a time when senior leadership – CEO’s, trustees, directors of fundraising understand the challenge and invest -a strategic investment together to change the landscape. Leaders, fundraisers, charities can’t hide from this. Its no good leaving it to a few. If everyone gets these challenges and is prepared to lead together vocally, positively, proactively then with a new era of leadership we can make that difference.
Are we up for it? Are you?