Funding sources, Fundraising, Legacies

Gifts in wills: so easy, so different

Richard Radcliffe, Founder of Radcliffe Consulting, is an expert in legacy giving. He explains the facts about how it works, whilst uncovering the truths behind what's really required to leave a legacy.

Fundraising Now speaker, Richard Radcliffe, is the Founder of Radcliffe Consulting – a consultancy helping all types and sizes of charities receive more legacy income.

Gifts in wills are the fastest growing source of voluntary income and more charities are benefiting from this. Legacies are currently received by over 2,500 charities every year, increasing from 1,700 just ten years ago. Why? We understand more about legacy-giving.

What drives legacy giving?

Having met over 28,000 donors and volunteers, I understand exactly what drives legacy giving:

  • Passion for a cause combined with knowledge on creating/updating wills 
  • Ease of action 
  • Knowing that all gifts make a difference, big or small 

When you fundraise, you focus on passionate storytelling to spark an interest, but with legacy-giving it doesn’t spark action; it just sows the seed. You must convey how easy it is to make or update a will in minutes. The current generation of legacy-givers are intelligent, wise and responsible people who will usually own a will, however 65% are likely to need updating. It is key, simple messages about how to change a will (not likely by a codicil) which triggers action so there must be a clear call to action in all fundraising communications. 

90% of donors I meet think legacies are big and only for people without family. Wrong! Everyone can do this because small gifts are welcome, so the family receives most of the estate – a thought which doesn’t occur to them until they’re informed. Solicitors won’t tell them this simple fact, so you must!

We need to blow away myths about wills. There is no need for “lots of decisions to make” before creating a will. Just leave a charity a small percentage and the rest to the family. Lists of assets and debts included in some legacy packs are the biggest barriers to creating a will and leaving a legacy.

Two other points we focus on during our DSC sessions

  • The myth that you need a legacy brochure (you don’t!)  
  • You don’t need to spend a penny on a campaign if you are financially stretched 

I fully admit (even after three decades of experience) that I don’t have a clue how much you’ll receive or when. But I guarantee in the long-term, legacies will build a stronger financial future for all your beneficiaries.

You can hear more from Richard who’ll be running a legacy strategy session at our flagship event of the year – Fundraising Now – 28-29 November.