Uncovering the Invisible Legator

April 21, 2017

Thirty-two of the UK’s leading legacy charities are taking part in Legacy Foresight’s Invisible Legator research project, launching this April.

According to the recent Legacy Marketing Benchmarks study, 86% of charitable bequests come from people who are neither legacy pledgers nor prospects. One-third of gifts are from known supporters who have not told the charity about their legacy; while just over half are from people who appear to be completely ‘unknown’ to the charity, leaving a gift despite no obvious prior interaction.

So who are these ‘invisible legators’? What motivates them to leave a legacy, and what do they want from the charities they choose to support?

The project will start with large-scale survey research, building and profiling a base of 1,000 people who have written a charitable Will. The sample will be questioned on its behaviour and circumstances relating to legacy giving, aiming to identify clusters of donors by type.

Stage two will go on to explore in depth the attitudes and motivations of different types of invisible legator, using focus groups and one-to-one interviews. For example, how do they describe their relationship to the charities they include in their wills? How did the journey unfold? What – or who – sparked the gift? And how do they now want to be treated?

The findings will help charities to be more effective in their brand/legacy communications and supporter stewardship. A better understanding of the reasons and triggers which drove these ‘invisible legators’ to leave a bequest may help inspire more people to leave a legacy, and perhaps encourage more of them to open up communications with the charities concerned.

If you’re interested in updates on this and other Legacy Foresight projects, please contact Sarah McClean on s.mcclean@legacyforesight.co.uk

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