To many, the funeral industry is still viewed as somewhat Dickensian in its nature and style. But in recent years this market has seen the entrance of many ‘disruptive innovators’ with the rise of digitally based companies challenging the status quo. So, we now have the likes of Direct Cremations and Beyond competing with the Co-Op and other high street funeral companies.

There is a similar trend in the legacy market. The Legacy Resilience report shows that in 2019, 1,600 ‘disruptor’ charities received a legacy for the first time. These are often small, local and relatively new organisations that people have had direct personal experience of.

These disruptors are impacting the more established charities who have long benefited from gifts in Wills; including hospices. The newly published Hospice Legacy Report shows that the sector’s legacy income is being impacted by the likes of Wildlife Trusts, Air Ambulances and NHS Trusts.

The report also provides evidence that – despite gifts in Wills being the largest single source of non-statutory income for the sector – hospices invest less in marketing legacies than other charities, thus risking further loss of market share.

One respondent told us , ‘To an extent there is still the same age-old battle of ‘legacies always come in – why invest?’ Another said ‘We lack a plan for investment of time and effort in generating legacies’.

But there are also more positive findings. 80% of hospices see legacy marketing as ‘very or ‘extremely’ important and the majority plan to increase their legacy marketing. Indeed, several that I have spoken to recently have created new posts focused on marketing gifts in Wills. There was also a lot of interest in collaboration between hospices in sharing best practice and research on the subject.

Legacy Futures and others predict that legacy income is set to double by 2050. So, the cake is going to get bigger. With their high levels of community support and involvement, hospices can get a bigger slice of this bigger cake. But to achieve this the sector needs to be more proactive in legacy marketing, more professional in administration and more reasoned in making projections of future income.

In response to the report, db associates and Legacy Futures have developed the Hospice Legacy Circle. This will involve a series of digital presentations and workshops, access to research and reports, an on-line discussion forum and access to a legacy help desk.

By joining the Circle, hospices can learn from experts and each other to develop their legacy marketing, administration and forecasting and so be best placed to benefit from increased income in the years ahead. It’s time for hospices to ‘disrupt the disruptors’!

For more information on the Hospice Legacy Circle, please contact Richard Hill, Development Manager.