Member Blog: Rebecca Mitchell

October 12, 2023

“It’s pretty cool to see people through their legacy journey.”

Almost two years into her role as the ILM’s Membership & Governance Officer, Rebecca Mitchell enjoys nothing better than communicating with members and signposting them through the challenges of the legacy world.  

Here she talks about her day-to-day activities, why she loves lists and how she tries to bring calmness to stressful situations.


I have worked in administration roles throughout my career and, prior to joining the ILM I was in the legacy administration team at WWF, doing pecuniary legacies. It was a really cool charity to work for and I loved it.

When I saw this job come up at ILM, I thought ‘I know about legacies and I know about charities’, so it was the perfect opportunity to marry the two.

In the nicest possible way, you don’t talk to anyone when you’re working in legacies because everyone is dead. I am very chatty, I enjoy talking and interaction and I love administration, so this was a good combination for me.

It’s been a really good transition as I can relate to what our members do and, because I did the Legacy Essentials course, I understand some of the jargon and technicalities.

One thing I didn’t realise is that there are so many people in the legacy administration world and just how many people leave legacies to charities. Or indeed, how many charities are members of the ILM.

Day-to-day

Because it was a new role, I’ve been able to tailor it to my strengths. I literally write a list every day of what needs to be done for the week, there’s a lot of diary planning going on and I very much enjoy it.

Sometimes I have to say ‘slow down, take a breath,’ and then we can make it happen. I like to think I bring calmness to a situation – and I enjoy that.

On a typical day I’ll log on, check emails, go through supporter requests and deal with any issues or enquiries. I also do general reporting for the team, pulling together monthly reports so we can see our sales figures and things like that.

I am primarily member support, helping people onboard, booking and facilitating courses and doing general administration duties. For example, if someone signs up to Legacy Essentials, I send them the welcome email, start the recording and liaise with the speakers to make sure they have everything they need.

At the moment, because we’re coming up to CiCLA and Diploma examination time, we’re doing a lot of revision sessions, helping people with their learning.

It’s nice being able to give people an insight into CiCLA and the Diploma, helping them make those final decisions as to if they are going to take it, how it will help them in their everyday work and what it will give them as a qualification for their future.

It’s awesome to see somebody through from ‘I’m taking my Level One and I’m really nervous’ to ‘I just hit Level Three with a distinction’ – it’s pretty cool to see them through their journey.

I love membership engagement and helping Esther (Oddy) with forward planning around the training programme, looking at topics, seeing what the members need and how we fulfil that need.

It’s also great because Matthew (Lagden) and Carol (Ward) have asked me questions so I can share my personal experiences of doing pecuniary cases in the current environment and I’ve been helping Carol with some factsheets.

One of the major projects I’ve been involved in was introducing bulk invoicing, which enables charities with more than three members to have just one annual invoice for all of them. It meant collating all the data from about 20 charities and setting up their invoices pro rata, which was a big job to get started.

Conference time

The ILM conference is a highlight for me, I do all the behind-the-scenes stuff; the site visits, the menu, the name badges, and generally checking everyone has everything they need. On the day, I’m on the front desk and directing everything, that’s definitely my forté.

I love going to the conference when everyone is like ‘oh hello, you’re Rebecca’ – I think the whole community aspect was a very nice surprise and the conference is so good because you get to put a face to the name and the members know there is somebody behind the email address. It’s so lovely to meet them all.

This year it was relatively stressful when the train strikes were announced (ahead of the original May conference date), but once the decision was made and we went out with it comms wise, everyone reacted so positively, which was awesome.

I’ve had some wonderful feedback from members, via email and at the conference, and it is so lovely when people say those things out of the blue.

‘Everyone is an individual’

There is a vast difference between larger and small charities – in income, in staff, in expertise, every area.

For a big charity, a small legacy might be £50,000 whereas for a small hospice that money could pay for 14 different nurses. We mustn’t forget what smaller charities go through, what they see as a large legacy and what ILM can do for them.

No matter the size of the charity, I like to think we are inclusive and try and treat everybody the same. Larger charities tend to seek help internally because they have the expertise in-house, but if someone from a small charity reaches out for advice they get a lot of feedback, often from those larger charities.

We’ll point them in the direction of the WhatsApp group and support chat via the website and explain they can get an opinion from a solicitor or a Corporate Partner who can offer discount rates.

All members want to be looked after and treasured, everyone is an individual and they want to be treated as if they are the only customer you have – I like to think we do that.

Discuss

Post in the forum (members only)
Mention on Twitter