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Can legacies work for any charity?

The ideal aim for every charity should be to build an appropriately diverse toolkit of fundraising activites which will generate the income you need to achieve your goals. However, every strand of fundraising needs careful thought and preparation before you jump in .

Legacies appear very attractive as they have the highest ROI for all fundraising activities but they are not easy and, if you don't have a good supporter database and efficient (and secure) systems in place for recording and communicating, you will need to do a lot of work in preparation before launching a Legacy Fundraising campaign.

Talking to people about leaving a gift in their will is not the taboo subject it seemed many years ago but it can be sensitive and needs to be well managed.

If you are just planning to start this activitiy, talk to other charities in your area which have been doing it for some time. Visit the website of Remember a Charity ( ) and study their guides and resources.

Make sure you have someone with experience in this field to guide you, and undertake effective research with your existing supporters, staff and volunteers - focus groups can be really helpful before you take any other action.

If and when you do launch, start slowly. Legacy Fundraising is a long-term investment of time and resources and there is no quick wins in this strand so you don't need to rush in. Better to do it gradually but properly, rather than risk alienating anyone.

Once you have systems in palce for letting people know that you can accept legacies then you need to market the opportunity effectively but sensitively. As with all fundraising, simply putting a button or a message on your website is never enough. Communication is everything.


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