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When Remember a Charity was born, the founders took a leap of faith. With no immediate return they could see that working together, there was a chance that a campaign might just be able to grow the market in the future. Looking back we should applaud them – because that is exactly what they have done. And more. And not just in the UK.

Remember A Charity has evolved in that time. Honing a model and approach that has embraced behaviour change or social marketing, the campaign blends consumer campaigns with leverage through partnerships and uses its member base to amplify and engage. The campaign returns this month with Remember a Charity in your Will Week from the 12th-18th September. The campaign will call on the British public to pass on something legendary, tweeting their advice for future generations at #MyWisdom and remembering a charity in their Will. 2016 marks the seventh year of Remember A Charity’s legacy giving week, during which charities, Government, solicitors and Will-writers will all come together to encourage the public to leave a gift to charity in their Will.

The bottom line is that more people are actually doing it. From 12% in 2007 to 17% in 2014 and a further increase this last year as the campaign has just reported. This is the sort of news that every member of the campaign throughout the last 14 years should take a moment to reflect on and celebrate. Momentum brings further momentum. I am writing this, just finishing a week in Australia speaking to brilliant legacy fundraisers through the Australian campaign Include a charity. They are making real progress too. Last week I spoke with a revised Dutch campaign about a new phase in their journey. And as a former Remember a Charity chairman and now working globally with charities on legacies, there are a number of countries with new campaigns and each are taking key steps to start to change behaviour and increase the number of gifts in wills in their countries.

Baby boomers are estimated to be worth $46 trillion USD of wealth and over the next 30 years or so will hand on this wealth to a new generation. Charities everywhere have a strong case to give these generous people who have given to charity in life the chance to leave something after they have gone. This is not a leap of faith anymore. Its a global movement. So don’t forget to take part in the campaign. #MyWisdom awaits your wisdom and your contribution.

Remember a Charity now has its own legacy. We all join charities to change the world. And this campaign might just do exactly that.

 

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To make a change in legacies we need the right culture and the right leadership to make it happen. It’s about us personally but also our teams and our organisations working together.

Over the next week, I will be speaking across Australia in 5 cities in 5 days about legacies and legacy leadership to charities, NGO’s, fundraising directors, fundraisers and legacy specialists. I’m really pleased to be the guest of Include a charity – the Australian campaign to promote gifts in wills. Australia, like the UK and many other countries faces a similar challenge. Many people give to charity, but fewer leave a gift in their will but say they would consider it when asked. It’s why campaigns are so important. It’s why campaigns are leadership. It’s the difference.

The UK’s Remember A Charity campaign has made huge strides and has now built up a bank of knowledge and experience over the last 14 years. I was privileged to be the campaigns chair for 4 years and looking back its clear that what we thought was the case, is now showing in evidence. Much has changed. Legacy conversations, normalising, social media, partnerships, behaviour change at the heart and real insight and evidence. But at its heart has been consistency with innovation. Legacies are an emotional decision backed by rationale action. Understanding where the donors is comes first. Partnering to lever impact drives scale. Cut through from edge and campaigns where people get to talk about it

This week, apart from spending time with Include a Charity members and helping them make more of their legacy programmes, I will get a chance to speak to those who currently aren’t members or are interested in finding out more. With them I will be sharing ways to show organisational leadership by leading legacies and legacy cultures in their own charities. I have 7 pillars from my experience that I believe show the way to become a legacy leader. Over the next 7 days I will share an explanation of each pillar in my blog.

If you’d like to become a legacy leader in your organisation or want to share your thoughts drop me an email.

So. 5 days. 5 cities – Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney. You can follow on Twitter and Facebook at ….or through my blog.

Enjoy the ride.

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There is an essential logic in fundraising. Hearts, minds and cash. The mantra for this is no gift is made without emotion to drive it.  The moment you connect. A close spark or bond created. This remains true above all with legacy gifts. But we often focus on function first – wills, probate, tax. Maybe we are scared. Maybe we don’t  understand. Maybe we don’t know. Either way it’s not where transformational legacy gifts sit and it’s not where donors start.  Here’s 10 emotional connections for legacy fundraising to get you connecting

  1. Find your founder story and relive it though the eyes of your founders
  2. Systematically collect and share stories
  3. Recognise long-term consideration of a gift will start with an emotional connection
  4. Understand the motivation for giving is emotional and won’t always be remembered
  5. Teach your organisation to be able to have a legacy conversation as you would to a trusted friend
  6. Show the work and the inspirational transformation made by legacy gifts
  7. Join up legacy admin so its part of the gift process and joy of giving
  8. Do everything possible to make face to face happen
  9. Reassure donors about their fears and barriers – soothe them
  10. Find and use your own personal connection to legacies

So – uncover the emotion, dig deep, be brave, open your hearts – but above all, connect.

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Some words matter more than others. Some have a rounder meaning, set a tone better and signal a mood more easily. In legacies the right words can be the difference between engaging or alienating.

The right words will help you and them nod with gentle enthusiasm, help them ponder on meaning or be moved by the string they form in the order they were delivered. They cut to the core, they sum up, they direct. So….here are my top 10 best words in legacy fundraising

  1. Consider – time after time a solid word in legacies. Being asked to consider is polite, respectful and appropriate. Would you consider leaving a gift? Nice
  2. Leave – leave a gift, leave a mark, leave something of yourself
  3. Gift – A legacy is a gift. Simple
  4. Future – Some time soon. Look to then and you made this possible – in the future. Hope. Now but to come
  5. Small – A small share, a small amount, small. Legacies get seen as large when in reality a small share of whatever is left after friends and family
  6. Share – a share of whatever is left after friends and family
  7. Family – its first and foremost and needs to be upfront
  8. Remember – the time to look back, with the donor and you
  9. Commit – a promise to leave a gift but no more – in time, when ready
  10. Thank you – its two words but lets break a few rules

This is not jargon. This is communication, connection, relational. Honest and real. Hope. That is a legacy.

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Working with fundraisers is a constant journey of discovery. We were discussing how to respond in a simple way to a supporter who said they wanted to do more….what else could they do? It’s a simple and frequent question. But the response is never simple is it?

So what is the problem that they identified as we discussed how to address this common question?

It’s this – firstly you probably can’t remember. Secondly, when you try you are almost certainly brainstorming your own list from various memories and prompts, and frankly its likely to be long and the prompts you remember aren’t always the right ones. The third problem is structure – this long random list has no framework. The fourth problem is no one is prepared to be able to respond when asked, so you are literally making it up in front of the questioner and then when it happens again you create another list. So here’s the solution to break the cycle.

You need to remember and then use these 4 headings.

Given. Raised. Time. Left

They are the 4 pillars of giving from which you can remember and offer choice. How? So, something like this then…( allowing for some things you may naturally say or not – this is an illustration!)

‘They are 4 ways you can help us. You can give – either a one-off or a larger gift or many of our supporters give on a monthly basis. You can raise money. Perhaps an event or a challenge such as a run or a trek or some other way. You can give your time, either as a volunteer or on our board or perhaps in our shops. You can leave a legacy. Many of our supporters are leaving a gift in their will after their friends and family so our work can live on’

Given. Raised. Time. Left

Better than a mind melt every time.

 

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Fathers Day. A moment to reflect on being and having a dad. A complex thing, boiled to a simple notion on a single day. But for all the love and reflection spare a though for the lost fathers, a breed somewhere else from the Facebook posts of admiration of fatherly love.

A father never sets out to get it wrong. On the contrary, they are usually full of optimism and hope, believing that all before them was a temporary thing and that this is their moment to correct, to look forward, to be a better man. My dad was and is a good man and father. I believe I am a good man and father. But for many and those whose expectations were never realised, there is a truth made more real than ever on a day like this, that they didn’t make it. For others looking at the father they knew or know, there is an equal truth that they remain without the beacon they needed or wanted. A lost father and lost children.

Spare a thought for them. The man who started with hope but became overwhelmed by expectation. The man who had no blueprint or map because he too was denied the father for him, the boy. The man who never shared or talked or cried because he couldn’t, without the language to express or the courage to open. The man who focussed on his work at the expense of his family, because it was easier. The man who tried to show his love but failed. The man whose anger was a mystery to him, yet lived with him all the time. The man who chose the wrong turn, who loved the wrong person, who fought the wrong battle, who missed the right thing at every turn. The man who wanted to be better but never was. The man without the father in him who meant he could not be the father in them.

No one sets out like this. Some are damaged. Some are empty. Some are vain. Some are not very bright. Some are just bad. But there is a tribe of lost fathers, some thinking about that today and for some a thought that may never occur to them as they remain in ignorance. For others they will look at their father and wish they had the unconditional, kind, wise, sturdy but open anchor, honest, funny, emotional and guiding light that other have or had. Lost fathers affect us all. So spare a thought today of all days.

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Procrastination. A lovely word and something I naturally practice myself. Someone sent me a book on procrastination and how to deal with it. I will read it soon. Promise.

There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do in the morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day. Brian Tracy, uses this metaphor in the book Eat That Frog, challenging you to do the one thing you probably most procrastinate over, but that could have the greatest impact for you.  The remarkable Rob Woods uses it in his brilliant training. On a daily basis we try our best to achieve our goals but the tide of stuff is often overwhelming. Not surprising the longer term suffers for the here and now.

It’s the same with legacies. According to Remember a Charity, while 74% of the UK population support charities, only 7% currently leave a legacy to them. Income is seen as long-term and given the need for cash today,  you can sometimes understand the way that legacies don’t get the attention they deserve. Too difficult, almost like eating a live frog. That is a mistake. Simple, daily, gentle actions can have a massive impact. Patience, insight and quiet determination drive a longer term process of consideration. Like a garden. Deliberately invest in it and remarkably, people will come.

Today, it really is time to stop putting off legacies. Make tomorrow happen today. Eat the very tasty legacy frog and you wont look back.

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