Raise more through legacies – come to Convention

: Craig Fordham

Craig Fordham, Director of Legacies at Macmillan Cancer Support, tells us why an investment now can reap the rewards later down the line.

‘An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest’, so said the great American statesman and inventor Benjamin Franklin. Had the IoF existed in Franklin’s 18th century, he could easily have been talking about Fundraising Convention. 

The sharing of ideas, energy and information has always been a common theme to our three days together and everybody I know who’s attended has left feeling inspired and bursting to get back to the office to start putting their newfound knowledge into action.

With fundraising going through an unprecedented time of change, it’s never been more important to work together and collaborate effectively to innovate and find new ways of engaging supporters (old and new) and ensure we continue to raise more money to support the causes we all care so passionately about.

As a seasoned challenge events fundraiser of more years than I care to remember (my team like to joke that I was around when Franklin said his words), innovation to me has always conjured up images of developing new MVPs to hook in millennials, or trying to work out how to incorporate this month’s new social media platform into our supporter journeys. And, while these ideas are much-needed (and many will be discussed at Convention), having recently become Macmillan’s Director of Legacies, I’d argue that right now, there’s no more exciting and dynamic topic in fundraising than legacies.

Yes, you read that right, I used ‘exciting’, ‘dynamic’ and ‘legacies’ in the same sentence. In case you’ve not being paying attention, legacies, that trusty old workhorse of our fundraising portfolio that no-one really likes to talk about, except the reclusive team we shove into the corner of the office behind cupboards of paper; that underappreciated slogger that has a reliable habit of bringing in the largest share of our income and has an uncanny knack of coming to the rescue at financial year end with a last minute gift that brings us in on budget, has suddenly become THE place to be in the sector. And those same legacy colleagues that we dismissed so readily have become the cool kids that we’re now all desperate to be friends with.

Why and how has this happened? Now, that would be giving away the content of the Convention session I’m running with Clare Moore, Director of Legacies at CRUK. Let’s just say that with a legacy market that’s predicted to offer up an additional cumulative £4.3billion of income by 2026 (that’s billion, with a B), if you’re involved in setting strategy or driving income, or simply a fundraiser looking for a new challenge, you might want to ensure that you have a legacy strategy at the heart of your organisation or find out how you can join the gang.

And what better place to start than Convention! You’ll hear from legacy gurus who’ll explain why and how the market is changing; get practical tips from sector leaders on the steps charities – both large and small – should be taking to ensure you raise more; and hear stories and learnings from the best and brightest legacy fundraisers who have already made the leap into the world of legacies to great effect.

From digital wills, launching new will products, and reaching diverse and hard to reach audiences, to building and delivering new and unique experiences for supporters and executors and embedding a legacy culture at the heart of organisations, Legacies is alive with the sound of reinvention, innovation and disruption.

To paraphrase the words of another enterprising American, Elon Musk, "You can either watch it happen or be a part of it."

I’ll see you in July!


Craig Fordham, Fundraising Convention Board member and Director of Legacies at Macmillan Cancer Support

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