I owe a lot to the Crispin Ellison Bursary Award

March 2, 2023

Nominations are now open for The Legacy Futures Bursary Awards.

One, the Crispin Ellison Bursary, is especially pertinent to the ILM as it is named in memory of the ILM’s founding member and lifetime President.

Each year, two chosen winners receive a training package from the ILM up to the value of £1,000 each, and to date, 10 people have completed their Certificate in Charity Legacy Administration through this fund.

We caught up with 2022 recipients Mary Taylor Lewis (pictured left) and Emma Newell (pictured right) to find out how the bursary has helped their careers.

Crispin Ellison Bursary Award Winners 2022Mary Taylor Lewis (MTL) is now Legacy and In-Memory Giving Manager at the University of York. At the time of receiving the Crispin Ellison Bursary Award, she was the Legacy Officer, and has worked there since August 2021. Her role concentrates on managing and driving forward the organisation’s legacy programme and strategy, as well as a new element of stewarding in-memory giving. Mary has been a member of the Institute since August 2021, although her organisation has been an ILM member for many years.

Emma Newell (EN) is Legacy and In Memory Fundraiser at Claire House Children’s Hospice in Wirral and says she has fundraised for causes close to her heart for as long as she can remember. Her career in fundraising began in 2010 with the American Cancer Society; managing its Relay For Life events across California. Emma has also worked with Macmillan Cancer Support and now works for the much-loved children’s hospice Claire House. She has been an ILM member for a year.

1. What did winning the bursary mean to you?
MTL: This role in Legacies is my first full-time job post-University, it’s always scary taking a career leap, and I’ve shocked myself by how much I have loved legacy fundraising. This award felt like the wider legacy fundraising community acknowledged me and was just the icing on the cake. It really is a brilliant sector to be part of.

EN: It was such amazing news! As a small charity in the sector and the sole legacy fundraiser at Claire House, I am eager to learn as much as I can. My background was predominantly in events, community & corporate fundraising, so legacy fundraising was a new and exciting area for me to learn and has fast become my favourite!

2. What was most important to you?
MTL: It really felt like a job well done, I think legacies can be quite a lonely and isolating job at times – working along solo, but this award really shone a light on my dedication to the role and to my charity.

EN: I needed to hit the ground running and learn fast when I moved in to this role. The Legacy Futures team are an amazing support and applying for the bursary award felt like the next step. It is so widely recognised and the best way to develop our learning.

3. Has winning the award made a difference to your career and/or the way you work?
MTL: Absolutely, it led to a new job in the charity – I went from a legacy officer to a legacy manager with way more oversight of the strategy and direction, this is such an exciting career opportunity – and I really owe a lot to the Crispin Ellison Award as it made me stand out in the interview process and signalled to my current employer that I am serious about this job!

EN: Winning the award has given recognition to our charity for our work in legacy fundraising. We have been invited to talk at several legacy fundraising events and webinars and to talk at a national annual conference. It is great to be part of such a great consortium of peers across lots of wonderful causes and to work and learn alongside some of the best in legacy fundraising.

4. Has the award also benefited your charity and/or your colleagues?
MTL: It’s fantastic to have more confidence in the administration side of legacy giving, and when other Philanthropy managers are going out to their donors who are interested in legacy giving, my knowledge is a great card up the sleeve to offer for further conversations.

EN: Absolutely, one of the main reasons we applied was to develop in this area. Our Head of Finance retired last year; she had an extreme wealth of knowledge in legacy administration. It was important for us to gain more knowledge in this area to support our organisation’s work. We love that the course is extremely flexible, I can work study time around work commitments. Working alongside Legacy Link is such a great support for us, as we get to discuss our real cases and put the practical skills from the course into action, with everyday examples. I get to share these learnings with our team and the extra support for our charity helps us all to feel legacy confident. Something we feel passionate about at Claire House.

5. What would you say to anyone thinking of applying?
MTL: Go for it! Even if you don’t end up getting the award, I think it is still beneficial to look back over your role and take some time to reflect on what you’ve learnt and/or the direction you want to go in!

EN: Definitely apply. This will be of such great benefit to you and your charity. As the only nationally-accredited legacy qualification in the UK, it is no doubt what we all need as legacy fundraisers. Many charities regard this as the benchmark for their legacy officers so it is so valuable. It feels like whichever area of legacy fundraising you specialise in, be it legacy administration or legacy marketing and fundraising, this course benefits everyone.

6. What’s the one piece of advice you would give to this year’s award winners?
MTL: Make sure you carve out time in your diaries and get your managers’ support in studying – there is a lot of source material and you really need to dig in deep for it to be worthwhile!

EN: There is something incredibly special about Legacy Fundraising. When we find out a supporter has included a gift in their Will, they are saying they have followed the work your charity does during their lifetime and they trust you will continue to do great things when they are no longer here. It is such an honour for us as legacy fundraisers. This qualification will give you confidence in yourself and your development to be a professional in this field. Wishing you all the best in your careers in legacy fundraising!

Find out more and apply for the Bursary online today.