For many legacy teams, digital and social media are now a core element of the fundraising toolkit. Facebook ads, virtual events and social media campaigns are being used by charities of all sizes, whatever their budget; they are such great ways to tell stories and encourage interaction.
The use of digital and social media in fundraising is changing rapidly, and legacies are certainly no exception. Technology platforms, user behaviour (especially among the time-rich, tech-savvy boomers) and cutting-edge ideas are constantly evolving.
Despite the buzz we have yet to develop an agreed view of what makes for good online legacy communications. How can we best use digital and social media to inspire, inform and impel legacy donors into making a gift?
Last autumn we set out to explore these issues, working with 30 pioneering clients ranging from Cancer Research UK to Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Over the past six months the Legacy Fundraising 2.0 learning circle has generously shared experiences, data and ideas in order to build knowledge in this fast-moving area.
Although our members are at different stages of knowledge and experience, all agree it’s set to grow significantly: three quarters of our clients expect to spend a lot more on digital and social marketing over the next five years.
We discovered many common challenges too. How to get airspace with our busy digital teams? How to measure the effectiveness of our digital legacy communications – arguably much harder than for more immediate forms of fundraising. With limited budgets and capacity, how do we manage the shift to always-on communications, creating and responding to stories as they arise? And what will the ‘next big thing’ be?
Above all, we found that in digital and social legacies, no-one has all the answers – instead, there’s a heartening emphasis on testing, learning and sharing.
The pilot project is now complete, and we’re pleased to say that feedback has been positive. Here’s what a couple of clients had to say:
Nigel Gorvett, Head of Legacy and In Memory Giving, Marie Curie
Jen Corbett, Senior Legacy Marketing Officer, National Deaf Children’s Society
Barry Hunt, Legacy Lead, Scope
The Legacy Fundraising 2.0 will be ongoing programme, with the next phase kicking off this July. The programme will focus on benchmarking and a deep dive into digital stewardship – for the details in full download the proposal here.
If you are interested in joining the Legacy Fundraising 2.0 Learning Circle, or for more information, please contact Caroline Waters
Many of the charitable legacies received today were first written into wills 10, 15 or even 20 years ago. However, as we move further into the 21st century, the will-making landscape is transforming, with significant legal, social, economic and technological changes all making an impact. At the same time, British charities are shaping the changes taking place.
The Charitable Wills in the 21st Century project explored will-making and charitable legacies, both now and into the future, considering the implications for legacy fundraisers and managers.
The project was funded by a consortium of 30 leading charities, who have agreed to share six key lessons with the sector, in our Charitable Wills in the 21st Century Briefing Report.
Charitable wills after the pandemic?
Given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this year’s project, burning new questions have emerged, which we intend to explore in Phase 2 of this research.
How will the will-making industry and legacy donors’ needs evolve in the aftermath of the pandemic? What will this mean for legacy fundraisers, operating in such a tough and uncharted environment? Once the immediate crisis is over, we will explore these issues in more detail. We hope that you will join us. Get in touch with Caroline Waters for further information.
We’re excited to have kicked off our Legacy Fundraising 2.0 research, with 30 leading legacy charities taking part in the unique learning circle.
Legacy Fundraising 2.0 sets out to assess how best to use digital and social media to raise awareness, acquire new legacy donors and steward existing supporters. The research will explore a number of themes, starting out with looking at the current strategy and activities undertaken by the learning circle charities, doing some fundamental research into online donor behaviour, and outlining priorities for the future.
Digital legacy fundraising presents many opportunities – and challenges – for all charities, especially now. If you have any questions about the programme, please get in touch with Meg Abdy.
We are pleased to announce that our In-Memory Insight programme 2020/21 started in September with 41 charities in the learning circle. This includes four new joiners, Action on Hearing Loss, Dementia UK, Macular Society and Sobell House Hospice.
This year’s research will focus on how fundraisers can adapt to the in-memory landscape after the pandemic. The emphasis will be on the impact on the in-memory giving landscape over the next 1-3 years, providing practical ideas about what to do next and looking at the challenges and opportunities charities will face.
The programme will examine how in-memory supporters and fundraisers have adapted to the new environment. It will identify new trends likely to have lasting impact on remembrance and in-memory giving. It will also outline what a charity’s role can be in providing opportunities to give as part of the grieving process and the implications for resources and support.
The research will reflect on what the experience teaches us about new ideas or new ways of connecting with in-memory donors in the future, developing ideas on longer-term trends. The learning circle is aiming to identify new forms of remembrance that may become part of the future in-memory landscape and new ways of connecting with tomorrow’s in-memory donors.
Our first learning circle workshop will take place virtually in November; we will release a summary of our findings from the project to the wider sector in the summer of 2021.
Since the In-Memory Insight programme started ten years ago, over eighty charities and hospices have taken part.
If you’re interested in updates on this work or would like more information about joining future cycles of In-Memory Insight, please subscribe to our newsletter.
We are looking for a pioneer group of charities to join our new learning circle into the future of legacy fundraising.
Legacy Fundraising 2.0 is a new research consortium launching in October 2020 in partnership with Legacy Voice.
Over the past 18 months we have seen growing interest in using digital and social media as a means of acquiring and stewarding legacy donors.
This shift has accelerated since the advent of GDPR, restricting direct communications with many potential supporters. It has also been boosted by growth in online usage amongst today’s key legacy audience, the boomers.
However, despite the buzz, we have yet to develop an agreed view of what makes for good online legacy communications. How can we best use digital and social media to inspire, inform and impel legacy donors into making a gift? Can we develop KPIs and metrics to help measure and track each charity’s performance relative to its peers?
Initially a 6-month programme, it will explore:
The programme will also focus a spotlight on specific legacy fundraising activities including:
If you’re interested in finding out more, download the project proposal.
Get in touch with Meg Abdy if you have any questions or would like to join.
In-Memory Insight is a consortium research programme of leading national charities and local hospices, that explores the size, shape and scope of in-memory giving in the UK.
Hard evidence is used to inform in-memory fundraising strategies and convince senior management of the value of in-memory giving, which is estimated to be worth in excess of £2bn per year.
This year’s research will focus on how fundraisers can adapt to the in-memory landscape after the pandemic.
The emphasis will be on the impact on the in-memory giving landscape over the next 1-3 years, providing practical ideas about what to do next and looking at the challenges and opportunities charities will face.
Starting in autumn 2020, the programme will:
Since the In-Memory Insight programme started ten years ago, over eighty charities and hospices have taken part.
Tish Ley, In-Memory Engagement Manager at Guide Dogs, says: “Since Guide Dogs became a member of In-Memory Insight, our annual in-memory income has almost doubled. This is a direct result of implementing a new strategy and supporter journey, building on the lessons the research provided.”
She continues: “In-Memory Insight provides a strong foundation for in-memory giving for all charities. It is a catalyst for larger charities to commit time and space to grow giving. Fundraisers at smaller charities can take away simple ideas, implement them and have an immediate impact.”
Anyone interested in finding out more is invited to get in touch with Caroline Waters, Research Programme Manager.
You can download a copy of the proposal here.
Our recent survey – In-memory through the pandemic – set out to collect charities’ impressions of how the crisis had affected their in-memory income and activity.
With this research, we aimed to validate and substantiate the predictions we’d made back in March 2020 about the likely impacts of coronavirus. We explored how key in-memory channels and resources had fared since the start of April. Had lock-down triggered any new or surprising outcomes?
53 charities participated, comprising 15 health, 10 hospices and 28 loved in life organisations. Most had estimated in-memory income of £100-500k and over half were members of In-Memory Insight.
Almost half thought their in-memory income had been adversely affected since the start of April compared with the three months prior.
The main driver appeared to have been the deep cuts of social distancing on funerals and in-memory events.
Two-thirds thought their funeral income had decreased, including 43% who believed it had reduced a lot. 60% believed that funeral gift volume had fallen and 40% that average collection value had dropped. However, a third had seen a rise in the value of income from other online collection pages, where some overlap with funerals is likely.
47% thought their in-memory event income had decreased, reflecting the postponement of mainstream events popular with in-memory donors, like the London Marathon. Justgiving reported an upsurge of ‘DIY’ events such as triathlons and gaming and live-streaming initiatives. Charities cited supporters who’d been devising creative, back-garden alternatives of their own.
Tribute funds had emerged as rising stars over this period. Tribute fund income had increased for over a third of charities, with 38% reporting an increase in the number of gifts. Both Muchloved and Justgiving had seen activities congruent with increased memorialisation. Although the number of new funds had dropped, heightened activity on established funds had led to a larger number of lower value gifts. For Justgiving, this had triggered a higher overall page value.
Admirably, almost a third of charities felt they’d had more contact with in-memory donors in April. A third had initiated more phone contact and 45% more email contact than usual. Many had ‘checked in’ with supporters, referring them to bereavement resources and raising the option of tribute giving. Over two-thirds estimated that their total staff resource for in-memory had either stayed roughly the same or increased.
A quarter of our participants believed that in-memory was now held in higher esteem within their organisations. Those who’d noticed a positive shift were 82% more likely to be members of In-Memory Insight than not. In these tough times, an evidence-based understanding, the ability to apply insight and a commitment to great donor stewardship, are forging a formidable armoury of confidence and clout.
Like to see for yourself? For a copy of our new proposals for In-Memory Insight 2020 – on adapting to the In-memory landscape after the pandemic – please contact Caroline Waters.
You can also request a copy of our latest research briefing report – Understanding In-Memory Stewardship (In-Memory Insight 2019).
New research for our In-Memory Insight programme has revealed that people who have given in memory are three times more likely to make a legacy pledge.
Benchmarking data from 22 member charities shows that supporters with a known in-memory connection are twice as likely to be legacy prospects compared to regular donors giving via direct debit or standing order.
Further to this, surveys covering 4,000 adults revealed that a high proportion of legacy donors (2 in 5) had at least one in-memory gift in their will and that 3 out of 5 in-memory legacies had been preceded by in-memory support of a charity.
The results confirm what we’ve long suspected; just how important remembrance is as a motivation for legacy giving. We hope that this evidence will help make the case for greater, more thoughtful investment in in-memory fundraising throughout the sector.
Request your copy of the public briefing report, ‘Exploring the links between in-memory and legacy giving’, here.
As ever, we are grateful to In-Memory Insight members for allowing us to share these findings.
In-Memory Insight is an ongoing programme to map, measure and research in-memory giving and fundraising. We work closely with a learning circle of over 50 leading charities who agree to pool their budgets, experiences and data to help build evidence and insight.
Please contact Caroline Waters if you’d like more information.