News & Insight
29th May 2023
Legacy giving, a lasting legacy?
Legacy giving has always played a critical role in safeguarding the sustainability of the charity sector. Never was this more apparent than during the recent global pandemic when, as many organisations faced unprecedented short-term financial challenges, legacy giving income helped our sector to continue to survive and to continue to provide the vital services relied upon by many.
Despite this, many organisations are yet to optimise, even consider, this important and potentially transformative source of income. What might the benefits of more open conversations about legacy giving be for us as individuals; organisations and as a sector? If we fail to act now, what further opportunities might we miss?
Legacy giving conversations have never been easier
As a society, we are much more open to conversations about death, dying and bereavement – helping to address old taboos and bust long-held myths – perhaps as a result of our recent shared experience of Covid 19. Campaigns such as Remember a Charity and Dying Matters awareness weeks are also helping support these conversations as individuals, at home and within the workplace.
Legacy gifts from the Boomer generation are a one-off opportunity for your charity
As the recent Smee and Ford Legacy Trends Report suggest that more people than ever are leaving legacy gifts. No other source of income is currently showing such potential in terms of growth. As the Boomer generation dies over the next 20-30 years, we will see an unprecedented transfer of wealth to individuals and organisations – including charities. A one-off opportunity that no organisation wants to miss.
Legacy giving is a shared responsibility and should be a strategic priority
A more open discussion about long-term legacy strategy can often help ‘unlock’ long-term operational potential. Addressing issues such as brand awareness; strategic focus; culture and ways of working and messaging can help build trust; increase efficacy and build longer-term sustainability for the organisation as a whole.
Legacy is a ‘value add’ not just a stand-alone ask
Legacy giving could be a timely response to the ongoing cost of living crisis – given that such a commitment costs nothing for donors to make today. It can be a useful ‘fall-back’ should the initial ask e.g., regular gift or one-off cash gift fail, and a back-stop should the principal ask of a high net worth individual not receive the answer you may have hope for.
It’s a multiplier
Legacy giving is an opportunity to deepen engagement and to optimise the lifetime value of your supporters. Dr Russel James’ work proved – dispelling long-held beliefs – that rather than be a distraction from lifetime giving, a legacy commitment actually increases subsequent lifetime gifts. If legacy giving messages aren’t normalised across your organisations’ activities and messaging, you’re missing out on potential short and long-term income.
A more integral part of your programme and impact
There are many wider benefits from the consideration of legacy giving. Legacy giving can be a natural extension of the programme your organisation is already providing. A way in which – where appropriate – you can help meet the wider practical; emotional or spiritual needs of your supporters or beneficiaries.
Conversations about legacy giving are a greater opportunity than will writing
It is an opportunity for supporters to reflect upon their own lives. To express their values and beliefs; to signpost that to the communities, and to shape their own legacy in terms of how they will be remembered and what they pass on to future generations. Legacy giving, and the support charities provide in relation to this, plays a key role in facilitating this process.
Legacy giving is a vital source of income for many UK charities. Without it, they simply wouldn’t be able to do what they do. The legacy marketplace will see unprecedented growth over the next few decades. There’s never been a better time to consider your legacy giving strategy. Even the smallest increase in legacy income could make a significant difference to the future of your organisation.
The actions we take today help shape our own legacies. The causes we believe in; values we stand for and how we are remembered. How do you want to be remembered? Act today and start to build a lasting legacy for both your organisation, and yourself.