Every one of us is being affected.
The effects are different for each of us.
We know absolutely nothing about what the future holds in the short, medium or long-term future.
We have no idea what the future holds for each of us financially.
We have no idea as to the global effects on our economies.
How the hell any government will fund the massive injection of cash currently being undertaken – goodness knows. But the money will come, ultimately, from taxation: personal and corporate.
And then there is the silent subject of Brexit!
What action to promote legacy giving should be taken? None? Or some?
Finally, I will be hosting a webinar soon to give more detailed advice and to answer questions online.
The Issues – attitudes to death and dying
A third of the world is in lockdown
A half of the world cannot cope with the subject of death and dying
A half of the world can cope with communicating about the subject of death and dying.
The issue: do we know which ones prefer to avoid the issue and which do not? No
In the UK 1,600 people die every day. Globally it is about 152,000.
We have no idea who is experiencing a death or is about to.
Attitudes to asking for legacies
How will each of us feel about a legacy communication? Perhaps, more worryingly, it is 99% certain you will never know – they will just talk about it to those they know or (more likely given the situation) they will bottle up their feelings and just get annoyed without telling you.
What will be their effect on giving now or later through a gift in their Will?
Attitudes to Wills
Almost the only certainty is: they will see any form of Will making offer as ambulance chasing. They might want to make a Will – but that has to come from them and not a charity. They know they must – but solicitors are fighting to save their livelihoods. And the way witnessing the signatures on Wills can happen with social distancing is setting challenges – though in the UK this might change if the Law Society listen to campaigners for change.
Finally, in the UK longer term, if witnessing a signature is relaxed (i.e. online), as in many parts of Europe and beyond where handwritten Wills are legal, will this result in more contested Wills involving negative publicity? Almost certainly.
Can you still fundraise?
It seems, from donor calls we are making, that you can, because supporters feel they are in the same boat as you.
Can you still ask for legacies?
No – at least not directly. That is considered to be taking advantage of the deadly virus.
Can I still communicate about the benefits of legacies?
Yes, you can. It is all about tone of voice. But it is more than that. It is about freedom of choice which meets the circumstances, and attitude of mind of each supporter.
There is one final issue: legacies are given due to trust and confidence in your future. You must trust your supporters as much as they trust you. If you treat them with love, care and personal attention they will automatically leave a gift in their Will.
Be nice. Be careful. Be appreciative. Be trusting.
Do not offer sympathy – offer empathy.
So, what can be done to encourage legacies?
LOADS but never a direct ask. Each charity/cause has different tasks in the next few months. A Hospice cannot communicate the same legacy information as a Museum. Mental health charities must not communicate the same legacy information as a University.
We must focus on why those engaged ARE engaged and NOT on our charity’s financial needs.
And that is the reason for the webinar coming soon. Sorry for the delay – patience is more important than action NOW.
Keep safe, keep healthy. We are all in this together.