As promised, Thursdays will be dedicated to Q&As. They can be on the topic discussed on Tuesday’s post or they can be on anything else you are curious about. Here goes:
I don’t have the budget to start a legacy program. What do you recommend?
There is so much you can do even if you don’t have any budget to invest – it just requires a little creativity and a whole lot of repurposing. Let me explain. I’m sure you have a website, a newsletter, a few DM or digital appeals, perhaps even a Facebook page? You don’t need to create anything new, simply find space in your current marketing mix to add a legacy message.
For instance, have a chat with whoever is in charge of your website – be it communications or even your webmaster (do those still exists?!). Look at the website and find digital real estate that you can add a short blurb on gifts in wills. It doesn’t have to be extensive. Maybe on the same page as your monthly giving donation page or perhaps your donor recognition page? Studies show that monthly donors are the best legacy prospects because they are completely committed to your cause so they are more open to the idea of a legacy.
Do you send out a quarterly newsletter (printed or digital)? Include a short article on what a legacy gift can do for the people you serve. If you send a DM appeal, include a buck slip.
The key in all this is crafting the right, donor-centered message that focuses on what the donor can create by leaving a gift in a will. And for the love of everything that is pure and beautiful in this world, DO NOT PUT ANY LEGAL OR FISCAL INFORMATION ON YOUR COPY!
Yeah, you read that right. Let me ask you one thing: have you ever gotten excited or been inspired by reading legal or fiscal stuff? I didn’t think so. Basically, donors aren’t interested – at first – to hear about the legal and fiscal advantages of gifts in wills. They want to be inspired so aim for that.
Basically, you don’t need a budget to start dripping legacy messages in your current marketing materials. Focus on getting the word out and use every opportunity to reinforce the message – even in thank you letters!
My board is afraid that marketing legacy gifts will negatively affect our other fundraising channels. How can I change their mind?
This is such a great question and a valid perspective from the board.
Your job as a fundraising professional is to educate those around you about the different engagement opportunities that will help grow the relationship with donors (and ultimately increase revenue). This means that we need to find different ways to keep donors engaged for the long haul. In our fast-paced, get-cash-quickly world, legacies can make people very uncomfortable.
What if I told you there’s research that demonstrates that annual giving increased once a donor committed to leaving a legacy? Oh yes, you read that correctly! The phenomenal Dr. Russell James did the research in the US. You can read a blog from fellow legacy marketing whiz Michael Rosen, who to delves into the subject.
Plus, do we even need to bring up the “wealth transfer” discussion again? I mean, really?!! It’s happening and those who don’t get ahead of it will be left in the dust. The trick is finding a way to make your case for legacies while at the same time ensuring your current revenue needs are met.
So those are some of the questions received this week. Keep them coming by writing in the comment box below.
Thank you for your questions and come back next Tuesday for part 2 of the tips to launching a legacy program.