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3rd – 5th July 2017
The Barbican

Legacy awareness is great - but it needs to be followed by action

: Michael Clark

When it comes to legacy giving, what is more important? Developing a legacy awareness programme, or following up with action? Michael Clark, at Cystic Fibrosis Trust, explains why it is the latter...

At the centre of any charity is its people: beneficiaries; supporters; funders; donors; staff and volunteers. At the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, we knew we had to engage all with the importance of gifts in wills to the future of the organisation, helping us achieve a life unlimited for everyone living with the condition.

But it’s making sure everyone internally is on board with the legacy marketing campaigns which allows them to excel – for all to be on board with the messaging, the product, and what it aims to achieve.

Internal awareness can be overlooked or put on the back burner, as we seek a quick win by concentrating on engaging our supporter database. But our staff and volunteers are great advocates, and have capacity to leave gifts themselves.

At the Cystic Fibrosis Trust our internal awareness has focused on two areas: training our staff and volunteers on how to communicate effectively gifts in wills messages with everyday conversations and understand the difference they can make; and using our membership of the Remember A Charity campaign to enhance this message and get our staff involved across the organisation.

We joined the Remember A Charity campaign three years ago; it was a no brainer really. We shared the same objectives – we want legacy giving to be a social norm, both for our supporters and the wider market place. We want people to consider leaving a gift in their Will to support our future work in the same way they would consider running a cake sale for us.

Remember A Charity week provides marketing material and collateral for a range of different audiences: a digital audience, a wider audience through PR, as a message to use in direct mail, as well as for an internal audience.

We used last year’s theme, words of wisdom, to engage not only our supporters, but celebrities, and our staff. Ensuring our staff are not only trained to speak to our supporters about gifts in wills, it relays important messages to themselves around the importance of making a will and considering charitable gifts. Many of them got involved with sharing their words of wisdom, many of them spoke to supporters about the campaign, and a high proportion of them who went on to use our free wills service included a gift for the Trust.

No one wants to talk about or promote something they don’t understand or don’t believe in. We are passionate about beating cystic fibrosis for good. And with the Remember A Charity campaign’s annual awareness week, coupled by our consistent messaging around gifts in wills, we know we will be able to carry on fighting long into the future.

Awareness is great. But it needs to be followed by action. That’s why we have a great team of people who include our legacy messages, carry our literature, and include the importance of gifts in wills across the organisation, and in campaign theme during Remember A Charity week. We are a proud supporter of the campaign, and are proud to promote this way of giving to our fantastic supporters.

When I know many of our staff, including myself, have included a gift in their Will for the Trust, our supporters can be assured it’s a cause worth fighting for.

I will be speaking more about our work with Remember A Charity and internal awareness at Fundraising Convention in July, alongside Tom Dixon, Andy Perry and Alison Rubenstein. Come along!

Michael Clark, Legacy and In-Memory Manager, Cystic Fibrosis Trust

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