Small Charity legacy fundraising

Five tips on legacy fundraising for small charities 

from Emma Rylance

I put my hands up – the smallest charity I’ve worked for is Mencap, which is only small in comparison to where I went next (The Salvation Army then British Red Cross).

But in my 13+ years as a legacy fundraiser I’d like to think I acquired at least some useful knowledge that might help a small charity to secure more gifts in wills from their supporters.

One of the things I love about the Bequeathed offer is that it works as well for tiny, local causes as it does for the big household name charities.

And partnering with us is a quick and simple way to put the tips below into practice:

Tip #1 – make it easy for your supporters to write a will

Stating the obvious, there can’t be a gift in a will if there’s no will.

A free will scheme can be a great way of encouraging your supporters (and prospective supporters) to take action, but not all schemes are equal and you need to trust any company you partner with.

Bequeathed works with over 30 charities, large and small, and seven law firms across England and Wales.  Our system is used by lawyers to draft wills.

We allow people to make the right will for their circumstances, in the way that suits them best – online, over the phone or face-to-face with one of our partner law firms.

And the ability to get started straight away from wherever is convenient takes away a lot of the excuses for putting it off.

Tip #2 – include a clear legacy call to action – don’t be shy

Again stating the obvious, people need to know they can support you with a legacy gift if they’re to consider including you in their will.

With Bequeathed your charity has its own bespoke landing page, so anyone you drive to the site will be encouraged to leave a legacy to you from the start. We ask them if they want to support a charity in their will, and if they do your cause is the one that’s presented to them before any others.

And because you don’t pay per will, you can promote the scheme to as many audiences as you can think of – supporters, staff, volunteers, corporate partners… - without worrying about a larger than expected bill due to the ease of making a will online. 

Tip #3 – get the maximum impact with the minimum resource

Not enough time, staff, budget… can make it difficult to prioritise legacy fundraising, whatever the size of your charity – but the small charities we work with find it a particular challenge.

I strongly recommend you piggy-backing on anything and everything that you send out. Make the most of the campaigns you and your colleagues are already working on to drip feed the legacy message out to your supporters and beyond.

Bequeathed charges a low fixed fee*, based on a charity’s voluntary income, so for very little investment you can have a ready to go legacy strategy which gives measurable results and a clear ROI.

The benefits of partnering with Bequeathed are the same no matter what your charity is paying:

  • All of the support, guidance and resources you need to promote the service and make it successful for your charity
  • The opportunity to share and learn from all of our other customer charities, including at regular meetings and an online forum
  • Detailed reporting and insight
  • New prospects – anyone coming to the Bequeathed site via our PPC campaigns, other charities, our solicitors and other corporate partners – will be prompted to leave a gift to one or more of our customer charities

Your size doesn’t put you at a disadvantage, so there’s essentially nothing to lose by partnering with us.

Tip #4 – make use of the knowledge and support that’s out there

I’ve always found the legacy fundraising sector incredibly open to sharing and learning from each other – don’t be afraid to get in touch with legacy fundraisers in other charities to ask for help.

I strongly recommend signing up to the IoF’s Legacy and In Mem special interest group (free!) and lots of organisations (Remember A Charity, Legacy Foresight, Small Charities Coalition, Resource Alliance, Charities Aid Foundation…) are generous with publishing research, guidance and best practice.

Between us the team at Bequeathed have a wealth of legacy experience, and we’re able and willing to put it to good use by supporting our partner charities with their fundraising. Our offer has been created and refined with input from a range of charities, so you can be confident that it’s a tried and tested formula for winning more legacy gifts.

Tip #5 – don’t put off chatting to us!

Wherever you are with your legacy fundraising we can help.

We’d love to talk, so please get in touch any time.

Contact details:

Emma Rylance

Head of Business Development

[email protected]

*If you’re based in the Liverpool, Brighton, Plymouth area, your first year with us is free thanks to the local law firms partnering with us. If you’re not, let us know and we’ll get in touch with solicitors in your area about coming on board.