The key to successful legacy giving isn’t a secret, it’s 10 key steps. Congratulations on taking your first. Find out more here about how to build a better legacy giving strategy for your organisation
1 - Internal landscape
It’s important you understand the internal landscape of your organisation as it will play a critical role in influencing the success of your legacy programme. You need to gain a better understanding of internal barriers and opportunities that may stop you from optimising your legacy activity and to be able to identify the specific cultural and attitudinal blockers and the missing enablers to support better legacy giving for your organisation.
2 - External market
It’s important that you have a good understanding of the external environment in which you are working. Create the opportunity to reflect upon wider market themes and to better understand your audience/community. You also need to make space for you to review the role of your organisational brand; insight and partnerships in relation to your external market. A better understanding of these will allow you to identify key areas of opportunity and where to focus efforts for greatest impact.
3 - Vision & Mission
It’s vital to establish a clear vision for your programme. It’s also important to know what success looks like. You need to review the role current organisational mission and strategies play in the success – or otherwise - of your programme. And to reflect on your organisation’s fundraising and/or membership strategy to assess how supportive it is of your legacy activity. How does your legacy strategy link to your overall organisational context?
4 – Donor-centricity
Legacy giving is personal. Legacy giving is a reflection of life, an expression of the values an individual holds and the way in which they have experienced the world. Donors start in an emotional place when thinking about legacy giving, unfortunately many organisations start in a rational one, limiting their overall potential. You need to draw out historic donor research; identify and map key stakeholder groups; reflect upon motivations for giving; understand current supporter journeys and pull it all together to create a more donor centric and informed approach for your campaign.
5 - Strategic approach
There has been a general shift in approach with regards to legacy fundraiser over the past decade. Good practice now sees donors actively stewarded as part of a longer-term plan. You need to consider how best to optimise activity at each stage of your supporter journey: awareness; active consideration; conversion; action and stewardship. A review of the current activity; internal ways of working; responsibilities and accountability and stakeholder attitudes will help inform the way forward. You also need to find a way to benchmark staffing and investment levels against sector averages to sense-check whether resource match your ambition.
6 - Compelling communications
It’s important that you express your legacy proposition in the most compelling and emotional way. You need to understand why people support your organisations and find the place where their personal values overlap with your organisational vision and mission to create the most compelling emotionally based communications. How can you better understand key stakeholder groups; general attitudes to will writing; specific attitudes to legacy giving and your organisation and more general insight re your Brand and communications to inform the way forward
7 - Clear tactics
Your tactics will depend upon your overall vision and strategy, and the resources available. The best responses are most likely to come from those you already have a known relationship with. You should review existing channels and activity to promote cost effectiveness and to ensure your legacy messaging is normalised across all owned channels. More detailed analysis of collaboration; cross-sell touch points; messaging across digital and social channels will help further illustrate the current health of your programme and to identify potential barriers and opportunities.
8 - Network and influence
Building strong networks is key to the success of any programme. Collaboration with colleagues provides access to audiences and channels. Strong networks will ensure legacies has a ‘place at the table’ when planning takes places or important decisions are made that may affect your overall strategy. Create time to reflect on the skills set of those responsible for the programme; access to senior stakeholders; ways of working and internal awareness – all of which may have an impact in terms of your ability to influence in support of the programme.
9 - Income Management
What happens after you have received a legacy gift is as important as the fundraising. Compliance with legal responsibilities; formal authorities and standard procedures; opportunities to optimise value; standards re the reporting an storage of data; quality of insight and reporting and wider opportunities to embed the income management process and related stewardship activity in the wider legacy strategy should be reviewed to provide a clearer picture of issues and remedies.
10 - Measure and Communicate
What data and insight do you have (or need) to plan better campaigns? A review of measurement; reporting and how you currently showcase the impact of the programme can also highlight learnings and help to optimise activity. Finally, you need to understand how you currently showcase success and the opportunities which exist to build stronger working relationships and internal communications in support of your programme.
If you'd like to know more about how I can help assess current performance against the 10 key steps and then use that insight to build a full legacy giving strategy for your organisation please click below to take a look at the details of my services.