In today’s ever more crowded legacy sector there is a growing emphasis on ‘stewarding’ legacy pledgers and prospects, as a way of converting, retaining and growing the value of bequests from known supporters.

But the tactics used, and the underlying objectives vary significantly from one charity to another. With such a long lag between communications and outcome, evidence on the impact and effectiveness of stewardship activity is inevitably limited.

This project set out to understand more about legacy stewardship from both the charities’ and the donors’ perspective, using a combination of detailed charity case studies and in-depth supporter interviews.

This project was funded by a consortium of 29 leading charities. For a copy of the public briefing report, please click here.

We are grateful to our clients for letting us share these top-line findings more widely.

“Legacy stewardship is a journey that starts with an initial conversation or consideration of leaving a gift and seeks to build a long-term relationship with a supporter, deepening their engagement in our work.”
Anna Vincent
Legacy Marketing Manager at RNIB

What we learned

Good stewardship can create engaged, loyal legacy donors who feel assured that their gift is needed and will be well spent. They believe that – far from being a ‘waste’ of money – stewardship shows they are valued. Satisfied pledgers and prospects spread their good experiences to family and friends and – with the right support – may become more formal legacy ambassadors.

The experts we talked to spoke of the importance – and the rarity – of surprising and delighting supporters; ‘conveying magic’ as one put it. Eight charities shared some great examples of doing just this, including Cancer Research UK’s regional stewardship programme, Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity’s bespoke approach to stewardship, Guide Dogs’ Name a Puppy for Next of Kin and Save the Children UK’s Legacy Ambassadors.

Want to know more?

For more key findings, request a copy of Understanding Legacy Stewardship.