The joy of legacy giving

October 19, 2018

Finding our Voice

ILM’s former CEO Chris Millward, now Director of Consulting with Legacy Voice, writes about legacy fundraising and how everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of legacy giving…

Those of you who follow us on Twitter will have seen the stack of coloured Post-It notes eagerly anticipating the output from our team away day in York a few weeks back.  Since then, we’ve been reflecting upon the key challenges we think the sector faces, and, more importantly, what we think we can do to help.

Being a legacy fundraiser has never been easy.  Historically there’s been a perpetual sense of, ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ as we’ve doggedly sought to overcome taboos, sway internal opinion, secure resource, encourage collaboration, demonstrate impact, communicate sensitively, inspire donors, add value etc.

Thankfully, things are changing and organisations are now taking legacy giving more seriously.  Recognition of the potential value, great ROI and the often unrestricted nature of gifts; increasing evidence of the effectiveness of investment in legacy giving; a better appreciation of the value of stewardship (something which has always been at the heart of legacy giving given its long term nature) and a greater appreciation of the professionalism and value added by good legacy administration professionals are helping to shift opinion.

With more donors leaving more money to more charities than ever before, things are looking good. But, there’s a problem we need to address.

With 70% of people supporting a charity during their lifetime, 35% saying they would actively consider leaving a gift in their will, yet only 6% actually doing so, how can we better engage, inspire and steward supporters to allow the full potential of legacy giving – and the positive impact for donors, fundraisers and charity beneficiaries – to be realised?

I believe we are at a critical moment for charity legacy giving.  As the baby boomer generation begins to die and the once in a lifetime inter-generational transfer of their wealth begins to take place, we have a choice as to whether we are going to be good at legacy giving, or great.

The legacy gifts that supporters leave are a reflection and celebration of their lives; shaped by their experiences and values, legacy donors choose to leave their mark by remembering the people and charities that mattered most to them in their lifetime.  People give in this way because it makes them feel happier. Legacy giving brings a unique value to people; by improving self-esteem, giving a renewed sense of purpose and value to people towards the end of life.

At Legacy Voice, our ambition is a world where everyone has the opportunity to experience the joy of legacy giving.

Our mission is to inspire and empower generations to experience the joy of legacy giving.  To equip charities, solicitors and others with the skills they need to help this generosity to flourish.  And, to ensure no life story goes unwritten, every lifetime is valued and celebrated, and the transformative potential of legacy giving is fully realised.

You can read the original article on the Legacy Voice website here.

By Sonya Dallat


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