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Figures published by Smee & Ford in their Legacy Trends Report 2019 show that legacy income in 2018 reached an all-time high of more than £3bn, representing a growth of 10% from 2017.

Charities can sometimes fail to provide enough investment or priority in their communication plans for legacy fundraising. This could be for many reasons, including a lack of awareness of its importance through to a fear of communicating with people directly about the sensitive issue of death.

As many charities are still missing out on potential legacy income, we have outlined some simple yet effective initiatives that could be implemented into your communications strategy to maximise legacy fundraising opportunities.

Campaign for your supporters to write their will

A staggering 50% of UK adults still do not have a will in place, so campaigning for them to write their will, whilst also educating them on the benefit of leaving a legacy to your charity, such as reducing inheritance tax or how their donations will benefit your charity, may be an effective method to increase legacy donations.

Make your supporters aware of legacy donations

It is important to ensure that your supporters are frequently made aware that they can leave charitable legacies in their will, and you should try and make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Some charities provide information packs with step by step guides; others build partnerships with solicitors to increase awareness.

Carry out market research

Your supporters may be more willing to leave a legacy donation in their will if there was a specific purpose in which their money would be used. We recommend conducting a simple, short survey with supporters of your charity to find out what they are most likely to leave money in their will to support.

Consider running a free will writing initiative

Many leading charities run their own will writing initiatives to increase legacy donations. While this is usually a free service, the charities tend to ask their supporters to consider leaving a legacy gift to them.

It may also be worth getting involved with national will writing initiatives such as the National Free Wills Network, Free Wills Month and Will Aid. There is a wide range of free wills schemes available that can benefit both charities and individuals in legacy giving.

Keep your supporters up to date

You should always maintain and nurture relationships with supporters who may be inclined to leave, or who have already promised to go, a legacy to your charity.
Keep them informed with the great work you are doing, particularly the benefits that legacy donations are providing you with.

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