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Legacy fundraising methods

Posted on 7 March 2008 at 9:38 am

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 11 years, 5 months ago.

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  • Anonymous
    7 March 2008 at 9:38 am #3089

    SMT and my trustees have accepted the need for my organisation to begin legacy fundraising in a more determined way. I have been making the case for employing a full time legacy fundraiser, but the CEO, to his credit, has asked me to prepare a paper which examines all the options open to us in terms of legacy fundraising, for example working with an external consultant or agency.

    Assuming necessary resources will be provided (if a robust business case can be made), does anyone have a view about the best way to start legacy fundraising in a serious way?

    All thoughts and experiences welcome.



    8 March 2008 at 5:00 pm #10392

    Dear John, you certainly need to appoint someone who can champion legacy marketing and who knows all aspects of the charity. Markeing should be in the first place to your own supporters or people who are closley involved with your cause. I would say that an agency is not required until someone, the champion, identifes what methods you should use in your charity. A marketing person is required but they can acquire the knowledge through several books that have been written. There are many views that are around on what methods to use. These need to be tailored to your circumstances.One of the main issues is to DECIDE, ACT and TRIAL. Peter Robson

    12 March 2008 at 11:33 am #10394

    Hi, John

    The first priority is to ensure the Trustees and CEO are aware that this is a long game – legacy experts quote 7 years as the time it takes for a legacy campaign to bite!

    That said, it’s worth the investment, if you are a charity which has a significant supporter base already. I don’t believe that legacy marketing works in isolation, and have had rows with the occasional CEO who thought that hiring a legacy fundraiser would immediately solve all his/her problems!

    There are a number of legacy specialists about – Smee and Ford, or Target Direct spring to mind (Target have merged recently – can’t remember the new name).

    But, in the early days, you could do worse than send one of your current staff on the Institute of Fundraising Legacy Course. You can often start off relatively low-key, and build up to a full-time member of staff.

    And, if you decide to employ from the outset, there are experienced legacy staff working in all the big charities who may fancy the challenge of setting up a campoaign from scratch.



    Gerry Beldon FInstF
    Director, 26-01 CIC

    19 March 2008 at 5:50 pm #10396

    Hello John,

    It would be helpful to know the nature and size of your charity. If it is a small organisation or regionally/locally based, my advice would be different to that for a medium to large national organisation.

    You can begin legacy marketing for next to nothing in any size charity. However, smaller local charities can use methods that are not so easily available to large charities, as smaller charities often have a much more personal link to their supporter base.

    Gerry’s comment about attending an IoF Legacy Marketing course is a good one. It’s where I started out! As a result of attending that course, a national legacy campaign for the whole Church of England emerged, so it really can work!

    However, your first step should perhaps be to discuss the subject with someone working in legacy marketing, in order to see what options you might have and to help you think through who you’re aiming it at and how you can begin to move forwards.

    The IoF’s special interest group: The Legacy Marketing and In Memoriam Group would also be a good place to meet legacy fundraisers. They meet in London and “up north”.


    Graham Richards – Freelance Fundraiser

    Specialising in Legacy Marketing and Donor Development for small, medium and local charities.

    Remember: Small is Bountiful!

    25 March 2008 at 8:48 am #10398

    If you want to understand a bit more about the operational aspect of legacy fundraising then ‘Legacy Fundraising’ edited by Sebastian Wilberforce is the recommended read. Also, look at ‘Asking Properly – The Art of Creative Fundraising’ by George Smith, even though it is a little dated it is still inspirational.

    If you have a good donor base you could get a focus group together and ask them about their feelings or attitudes to legacy fundraising.

    Gale Gould
    Macular Disease Society
    ‘Building confidence and independence for those with central vision impairment’.

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