Michelle Persaud, Legacy and In Memory Fundraising Manager at Battersea, shares her tips for making the most of Remember A Charity Week (10-16 September 2018).
The second week of September is a perennial highlight of any legacy fundraiser’s calendar. We work diligently all year round getting the legacy message across to our internal and external audiences in many ways, but the annual Remember A Charity Week campaign is an opportunity to be a bit more ‘out there’. It’s our time to shine a spotlight on gifts in Wills so let’s grab that opportunity and have some fun at the same time.
Members of Remember A Charity are given the ready-made tools and inspiration required to make the most of the awareness week. Some of us have big budgets and resource allocated to run activity throughout the week, whilst others do not. However, the beauty of the campaign is that whatever you make of it, you’re contributing to that bigger voice, helping to make charitable legacies the norm and you’re likely to make an impression on your own audiences during the week and beyond.
Where to begin?
If this is the first time you’re planning a campaign, begin by identifying all the different audiences you could engage with – volunteers, staff, supporters, social media followers and service users. This is a good place to start, particularly if you’re limited in resource and cannot deliver campaigns for each distinct audience. Think about what you can realistically achieve and what will be the most effective way of reaching your objectives. We used this technique for planning our activity last year and have formulated our plans for the 2018 awareness week in the same way as it helps to divide our programme into more manageable chunks.
Make it fun and simple
Last year, staff at Battersea really enjoyed engaging with the interactivity of the theme, ‘Have your say’. We set up a basic noticeboard in our communal staff area at lunchtime and simply asked colleagues to write their thoughts on a postcard and pin it to the board. It’s an easy, low-cost, interactive and non-committal activity but highly visible to staff and encourages everyone to think about legacies.
We plan to run a similar activity this year focusing on this year’s theme, ‘pass on something wonderful’. Activities like quizzes are also well-received by colleagues and, whenever we run any kind of staff interaction, the incentive of snacks and freebies, including the campaign collateral, always proves attractive in enticing people to get involved!
Be informative but don’t shoehorn your agenda
If holding any events or delivering communications during the awareness week, it’s important to strike the right balance between encouraging people to think about legacies and making it fun, inspiring and interesting. It would be easy to fall into the trap of just talking at people about gifts in wills for a week, but chances are they’ll forget it soon after.
Making something engaging and fun will help to carry your message for longer. This is the approach we’ve taken when running legacy events for Battersea volunteers over the past couple of years. Whilst clearly framing them as part of Remember A Charity Week, we’ve ensured that these events are something that volunteers will want to attend. This is because it’s an informal social occasion where they can meet other volunteers and staff working in legacies. Secondly, it’s informative but in a fun way – they learn about Remember A Charity Week by interacting with the theme.
Last year, our volunteers really enjoyed posing with the selfie frame and ‘having their say’ and we plan to do the same this year with the collateral provided by the campaign. There will be a formal talk during the event, but we always make sure it’s relevant to the volunteer audience and that it’s not the sole focus.
Pose a question
We found with last year’s campaign, as with other previous years, asking open questions on social media and at events really engages people and gets them thinking. We’ll be using this technique again this year during the campaign, particularly on social media. This year’s campaign theme is all about asking and answering some of life’s biggest questions so it’s thought-provoking and lends itself perfectly for use on social media channels.
There’s so much that can be done during the campaign week and beyond, use the tools and support from Remember A Charity as well as a dash of imagination and the sky’s the limit!
Remember A Charity Week takes place from 10-16 September 2018. Find out more about this year’s plans for the week here.
Michelle Persaud is Legacy and In Memory Fundraising Manager at Battersea.
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