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Another day gone

This could be considered a cruel blog. It is aimed at fundraisers around the world where legacy fundraising is often called planned giving.

Planned giving should be re-named planned fundraising. Why?

Because it is so easy to plan to do it but you do not get round to it.

Pressures on your professional life can add blood sweat and tears daily:

                You have a direct mail pack to get out by Thursday

                You have an event next week

                The capital appeal is short on target

                There is a board meeting in two weeks (oh god)

                Budgets are being revised and… 

“I was going to do a planned giving/legacy campaign. But what the hell, it can wait. After all, I might have left this place by the time the income arrives so who cares?”

And the Board don’t see it as urgent – after all, they will have died, resigned, been sacked or retired by the time the legacy income comes in.

So let’s leave it another day or two; or year or two or in some cases a decade or two after the Board have decayed.

Of course in reality most legacy campaigns are launched too late. And soon it will be too late for ever because we have a good window of opportunity NOW (I hate capital letters to emphasise a point but is difficult to shout on paper).

Without repeating all the boring statistics, the world is ageing and all the GREATEST prospects will be dead in the next 30 years. If you do not take action now another charity is bound to.

How long have you been in your current job? Just think for one moment: if it is more than five years and you had done a legacy campaign when you started, you could be sitting at your desk with very little to do and getting awesome praise for the stunning legacy income you attracted. And, all the Board would be rather impressed at the financial security of “their” charity.

(OK I admit it, many Boards always want more money regardless of need and this is one of the biggest problems in our sector. Enough is never enough. My dream is to get a Board to agree it does not need to ask for money for the next five years thanks to the amazing generosity of its supporters. This would spark so many legacies it would be awesome!)

Can you imagine a newsletter or direct mail letter announcing “Do not give us any money for the next five years. We set realistic ambitions and you have fulfilled them for now, thank you

It would probably result in more legacies than ever before. Message: “Keep us going for the next 50 years through a gift in your Will. You have done it today, you can do it tomorrow”      

So to get you exploding into action I propose a simple solution.

A weekly legacy lunch. This is not a lunch for prospects or pledgers or enquirers. This is a ten minute lunch once a week when you sit down and whilst chewing on a stale sandwich or slipping down a succulent salad and you agree:

One task a week which advances a legacy campaign.

Put a sign on your desk: Late = dead so get on with promoting legacy giving before it is too late.   

We are so good at making a legacy campaign difficult and making it difficult for prospects.

I was in a focus group last week for a private school. The alumnus said “It was so strange. I decided I really had to have a new Will. So I phoned my professional adviser and told her what I wanted to do. Five minutes later I was off the phone. Two days later my new Will arrived, my next door neighbours witnessed it and it was done. And then I thought to myself, why have delayed doing this for 10 years when it took 10 minutes? It’s mad

So why do you delay developing simple tasks for years when they take minutes and each task might just raise more than the direct mail shot on Thursday, the event next week or even help you exceed your target?

The world of planned giving is BONKERS . It is all so easy.

So, before another day is gone forever, get one action done today and keep going until you have left your job or the world.

Richard is founder of Radcliffe Consulting and fonder of legacy giving than anything else in the world – apart from his family.

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