Freelance Fundraiser’s Jottings

29 January 2008

Poor investment in legacy marketing?

According to a report in Third Sector magazine (9 Jan 08), charities are under investing in their legacy marketing. Think Tank, nfpSynergy surveyed 54 charities and found that 75% of them spent less than £200k p.a. on promoting the idea of leaving a gift in your Will to charity. These charities averaged £14m a year each in legacy income.

However, in reality, these must all be “big boys” in the charity world, as the majority of charities will be spending little or nothing on legacy marketing. With numbers like this being quoted, it simply makes small charities believe that legacy fundraising is only for those with megabucks to spend on legacy marketing.

This is sad, as it means the share of the cake will probably be disproportionate, if the big boys are getting heard and seen, whilst the small charities never get their message across.

Ironically, I believe it is the small, local charities who stand a better chance of being successful at receiving gifts in Wills, as they are (literally) more close to the hearts and minds of the people around them in their locality. These local people get to see what the charity achieves, maybe even experience their good work first hand. At the least, they may know someone who has benefited from their local charity’s endeavours.

Also, it is a myth that legacy marketing has to cost megabucks to produce. Local and regional charities can use their local knowledge and contacts to their advantage, through gifts and services in kind, sponsorship and tapping in to networks. They can also advertise their need for no cost at all, by utilising their existing communications, such as newsletters, websites and charity shops.

OK, the small fry might not average £14m a year legacy income, but I bet the ROI could be better than that of the big boys. My last charity, a local hospice, significantly increased its legacy income over 5-8 years and saw a ROI of 1:1000. Now that’s something all small charities ought to seriously consider!

If you’d like help or guidance on how to start effectively marketing legacies to your supporters, please get in touch. Contact details can be found on my “About” page of this blog.

Remember: Small is Bountiful!


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