Guest blog: Sanita Guddu – fundraising consultant
Sanita has been round the legacy fundraising block a few times and back. Initially as a grass roots fundraiser then moving into management leading regional legacy teams and now as a legacy specialist to charities of all sizes. Sanita takes a hands on approach to consulting, as a trainer, coach and mentor to fundraisers and delivers legacy campaigns for charities. We decided to catch up with her on what she believes are the top five mistakes charities make in their legacy programme.
5 mistakes that charities make in their legacy programme
1. Not investing in their fundraisers. This can include anything from not up-skilling the team so they know how and when to have legacy conversations, how to create a legacy plan to having a mentor or coach. The support from someone that has been where you are and knows how to get to where you want to go, can be a game-changer.
2. Expecting legacies to come in because they always have. Assuming that your donors will stay loyal because they always have is dangerous ground. With many local charities emerging and grabbing the attention of supporters through demonstrating their charity’s impact and along with strong engagement plans, no charity can afford to be complacent.
3. Promoting legacies in the wrong places. A clear example of this is thinking people that are not linked to the charity will leave legacies and therefore misdirecting their marketing, energy, time and resources. Focus should be first on warm and lapsed donors, volunteers (active and former) and where appropriate beneficiaries of your charity or their families.
4. Not having a clear legacy proposition that is visionary and relevant to the cause. This in turn means that fundraisers are not able to demonstrate the impact of what legacies can do. The best legacy stories are those where you can explain why a legator left a gift in their Will to your cause and even better if done from their family’s perspective. Then show how that gift has made a difference.
Find out what inspires your legacy enquirers and pledgers to want to give in this way, meet them, understand them and cherish them.
5. Trying to be a lone ranger legacy fundraiser. Thinking that promoting legacies is your sole responsibility (or your teams) and sits only within the fundraising department. With colleagues across the charity knowing and feeling that legacies are also their responsibility you have a greater chance of:
- Getting sign off and access to training
- Supportive colleagues who are sympathetic to your role and want to help you
- More opportunities to promote legacies within your charity
What’s your relationship like with your operational or front-line service deliver colleagues, or volunteer teams? These relationships are fundamental to promoting legacies and leading successful campaigns.
In addition, are you asking for legacy planning meetings with other departments? Are your colleagues aware and know how to share legacy messages within their own communications who are also your key audiences? This needs to be done before budgets are set and time is committed to other projects.
To summarise, don’t try to go it alone, get your whole organisation championing legacies, keep learning through training and reading blogs like this! Put all this together and you can do what you do best – promoting legacies to potential legators.