Meet a member: Duane Saunders, Marie Curie

April 21, 2017

We speak to Duane Saunders about his time at Marie Curie and his experiences in the world of legacies…

Please tell us your name, job title, charity and how long you have worked there…
Duane Saunders, Legacy Administration Manager, Marie Curie, 22 months

Tell us a little about your background and how you got into legacy administration?
I have worked in the Legacy Sector for the last 13 years. Like many, I didn’t choose legacy administration as a career – I just fell into it. I was at the Campaign to Protect Rural England when the then Major Donor Manager, who also covered legacies left. At the time I worked in face-to-face membership recruitment and I was asked to take over the legacy administration just on an interim basis. I enjoyed this part of my work so much that I asked for it to become formally a part of my job remit and I managed the legacy administration for 18 months, raising the most legacy income CPRE had ever received. In 2007, I joined the British Red Cross as a Legacy Officer and this is where I gained my experience. I was appointed the Assistant Legacy Manager in 2013 and then left in 2015 to join Marie Curie as the Legacy Administration Manager.

What advice do you wish you had been given when you started out in the legacy world?
If you’re ever unsure about any matter within a case, remember to consult the other charitable beneficiaries in the estate. Legacy Officers are a friendly bunch and always happy to discuss things.

What has been your most challenging case to date/biggest professional achievement?
Since arriving at Marie Curie, I have secured considerable investment for my team. By April I will have doubled the size of my team, introduced FirstClass4 and raised the most legacy income the charity has ever received. It was quite a challenge to keep on top of the case file management, whilst also doing three rounds of testing the migrated data to ensure there was no loss of data from the old database to FirstClass4.

What do you do to relax?
Relax? What’s that? When I’m at home I love being with my children, but being 5 and 2, they’re quite a handful!

Which charity/ies would benefit in your will?
I’ve always promised myself that I’ll leave a gift to every charity I work for, but currently I just have a gift to Sands in my Will.

How has ILM supported you in your career?
Over the years I have been on most of the courses that ILM provides. Indeed, sometimes I have gone back on the courses years later as a refresher. I’ve completed CiCLA and found ILM’s revision course really helpful. ILM’s website is really helpful – I regularly use the members’ database and I like the easy access to factsheets and other information. Of course, I have also used ILM’s website to advertise vacancies too.

If you could change one thing about the legacy management sector what would it be?
Although the profile of legacy management has improved over recent years, I feel that it is still a mystery to many within the charity sector. When I started at Marie Curie, one of my tasks was to give presentations at various internal meetings to not only introduce myself, but also raise the profile of my team and what we do.

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