We’re all drying out, shaping up and chucking out our chintz. Could we also take this chance to detox our in-memory fundraising? Here are 7 things we can all do this week to breathe new life into our in-memory activity and start 2018 with a spring in our step:

1. Reflect on what Christmas meant for our supporters

It’s unlikely to have been their best ever. In focus groups over the last couple of years we’ve heard described, in the rawest terms, the whole gamut of emotions people experience after the loss of a loved one. Christmas will have brought these out in technicolour. To reflect on just some of the things supporters will have been doing, trying to do, (or being told they really ought to be doing by now), check out The Fray’s thought-provoking music video here

2. Stop doing the same old things over and over again

We get it: it’s in the plan. But why is it, and should it really be? Which elements of our in-memory programme are really effective and which are we only doing because they’re (just about) resourceable? Why not divert our energy into changing those resources? Are we even guilty of repeating actions because they make us feel good? What was the last communication we sent that genuinely delighted a supporter – and do we know why? Is day-to-day grind preventing us from dipping our toe into new waters? A new Tribute Fund platform? A new commemorative product?

3. Stage a thank you letter amnesty

We would jump over hot coals to hone our in-memory thank you letters to perfection – the right tone, the right expression of appreciation that we hope will always inspire and never alienate. But who else in the charity is responsible for writing to in-memory donors, and can we be sure they’re equally conscientious? Time to haul in the evidence and make sure.

4. Phone one in-memory supporter, every day

In-memory fundraising was never meant to feel like direct marketing, was it? But as our supporter numbers have grown, systems have become more streamlined and resources more stretched, it can seem more like managing a datafile than a group of individuals with differing needs. Have any of us ever come across an in-memory donor who didn’t appreciate a phone call from a real person? Can we keep it real, and surprise someone every day (by listening, not asking)? Five minutes of our time?

5. Have a day by the sea

We’re all up against it – and anyway, it’s all happening in our own Head Office region, right? Wrong. The importance of local connection for bereaved supporters can’t be overstressed, and in many cases supporters may already have a relationship with a regional fundraiser in our charity that we’ll never know about. Can we take a day out to discover what’s really going on in our regional offices (or even at branch level) with in-memory? The chances are we’ll come back inspired by lessons learned.

6. Go to a funeral

The last one I went to played out like a masterclass in remembrance. I witnessed the knife-edge balance of sensitivities between two families, had a lightbulb moment about the role of celebrants, and came away convinced that I only want a direct cremation when my time comes. Whatever the size or shape a funeral takes (and we know they take very many forms) most of our in-memory supporters will have come more or less straight from one. Our empathy and confidence will grow if we have too.

7. Send the Chief Exec an in-memory case study

We all know we have them – those messages and stories from in-memory supporters that make us want to sing, that make us get out of bed every morning. But how is all this amazing collateral that we’re quietly gathering being used to influence others? When was the last time the Head of the charity registered the words ‘in memory’? Let’s make it today. Ping.

Happy New Year

Legacy Foresight now offers charities an In-Memory Health Check service – a comprehensive assessment of all aspects of a charity’s in-memory fundraising programme, devised to help charities propel their fundraising forward in this area.

For more information, please contact Kate Jenkinson, Head of In-Memory Consultancy