If you’re thinking of joining the Legacy Monitor, now’s the time. Charities have until 30th November to sign up for next year’s benchmarking and analysis programme.

We asked our members how they use the service and what they would say to charities considering joining the programme. Here’s what they told us…

1. Keeping up to speed with the latest trends

Key legacy performance data is collected from our 80+ consortium members every quarter; analysed and fed back within just six weeks. That gives a very clear picture of how this volatile income stream is shifting, and a sense check on how your own figures compare. Our consortium members receive over £1.4bn of legacy gifts each year – that’s over half of all legacy income. So it’s a good indication of trends in the market as a whole.

Tom Dixon, Head of Philanthropy at Scope said: “The team at Legacy Foresight are great at getting the information ready and out to us and interpreting it for us to use. You don’t get this depth of sector and comparison data in any other part of fundraising.

2. Informing strategic decisions

Our members use the intelligence Legacy Monitor provides in many ways.

For Angela Grimes, Deputy Director of Fundraising, Princess Alice Hospice, “Legacy Monitor informs our case for the strategic direction of legacy fundraising. It provides clear, evidence-based data and analysis to back up our direction of travel.”

Jen Corbett, Senior Legacy Marketing Officer, The National Deaf Children’s Society, commented “It’s a great benchmarking tool to show how we are doing in terms of numbers and values of legacies coming in compared to similar sized charities or similar causal areas. Handy when reviewing activity and for answering some of the broader questions often asked by senior management”. She added, “I’ve used some of the stats and comparisons as background for building a case for new activity or additional marketing spend.

James Stebbings, Head of Legacy Income at Macmillan, explained ”We use Legacy Monitor to guide us in our long term forecasts.”

Our annual Legacy Market Review provides five-year forecasts of the legacy market including a range of alternative scenarios depending on the economic climate. These forecasts are updated throughout the year if and when significant changes take place, ensuring you always have the most up to date projections to feed into your own income forecasts.

3. 24/7 access to quality data

The Monitor’s password-protected website is the go-to place for legacy intelligence. All our insight and analysis can be accessed securely online, with interactive charts, commentaries and downloadable data and reports.

Dixon said: “It’s very easy to use and worth investing some time to get to know the website. There is a lot of data on there, but the easy to find graphs and other comparison information is great.

Another client added; “I find the portal really useful in terms of generating reports. I sometimes get asked for updates at short notice, and it definitely saves time over doing the data collation and analysis myself.”

We continually invest in the system, adding new features to the website. For example, this year we are enabling each charity to chart its performance against selected peers and developing a suite of ‘how-to’ training videos to help fundraisers and administrators get the most from the system.

4. A dedicated, expert team

Legacy Foresight and our partners Clear have been immersed in the legacy sector for over twenty years – our combined team has unparalleled experience, knowledge and contacts. We have a dedicated Programme Manager on hand for all client requests and questions.

A long-standing client said one of the best things about the programme from her point of view is the “quality and consistency of market information, and the long-term view and experience.

Beth Brook, Legacy and In Memory Giving Manager at Help for Heroes put it quite snappily: “Approachable experts, accessible data and valuable insight … having Legacy Monitor data and reports to call on is a God-send.

5. Building internal buy-in

Data from Legacy Monitor can also be used to raise internal awareness of the importance and drivers of legacy giving.

One contact at a disability charity said: “Having an externally corroborated view gives a sense of reassurance and auditability to senior colleagues”. She continued: “As someone new to legacies when I started this job, the information was invaluable in really getting to grips with the more detailed drivers of legacy income and how the market is developing.

As well as the online resources, Legacy Foresight produces quarterly and annual summaries, great for sharing with senior managers and trustees. We can also arrange bespoke presentations at your offices for a small extra charge, giving your team the opportunity to discuss and apply the trends to your own unique legacy offer.

6. Collaboration and partnership

A spirit of sharing really is at the heart of Legacy Monitor.

Georgina Hyman, Legacy and In Memoriam Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK said “The best thing about the programme is that we are working collaboratively as a sector to monitor trends and be aware of what is coming up. Having this helps us all to see the impact of our marketing, not just on our charity but across the sector.”

A Steering Group drawn from consortium members oversees the direction of the programme, providing feedback and suggestions on the work as it develops, assuring the quality of outputs on behalf of the consortium, and agreeing on the final dissemination of findings.

Based on her experience, one Steering Group member commented that: “Legacy Foresight is constantly striving to learn more, and inviting clients to actively participate in the service. You don’t feel like just another supplier – very much a partner.

For us, that’s the greatest endorsement, and very much the way we aim to operate.

7. Great value for money

With legacy income of less than £2m p.a. Jen Corbett of NDCS said “Its good value for money, giving access to information that might not otherwise be available to smaller charities with limited budget for insight or research projects.”

The annual Legacy Monitor programme costs just £2,300+VAT in year one; that’s less than the income from one cash legacy!

For more information on the Legacy Monitor programme, download the prospectus here, or contact Richard Hill.

But hurry – don’t forget the deadline is 30th November.