This blog is NOT an economic forecast (nobody really knows what is going to happen to the stock market or property prices in the next 12-24 months).
This blog is all about what legacy fundraisers should focus on in 2024 to make legacieshappen.
This blog is focused on very recent focus groups throughout the UK (and some in USA and other countries).
Issue 1 – uncertainty
Personal financial uncertainty is certain to continue! It is about the only thing we know. The uncertainty is global and also spreading like an infectious disease throughout our hearts and brains:
• How secure is my family?
• How much will I need for my future care?
• I am likely to live longer and might my pension be inadequate?
• I want to enjoy my retirement but dare I spend and have a bit of fun?
• How can I get my children onto the property ladder?
• Do I really want my children or grandchildren to suffer horrendous post university debt?
• How much will my partner/spouse need if I die first?
I could go on.
But all these encourage one way of giving that does not affect the bank account: legacies.
This is the time to encourage sensitive but sustained interest which is not forcing an instant decision.
Issue 2 timing
I ask you one simple question: when is any legacy prospect starting their “Will planning”?
None of us have a clue.
Which is why a “one month” campaign can fail – unless timing of the month matches a call to a professional Will writer. Or by some small chance a prospects keeps your communication for future action.
Wills are mostly made at times of “a life changing moment”: death of a parent, marriage, divorce, serious illness, birth of a child or even grandchild, major family changes (redundancy or divorce of a son/daughter), downsizing in retirement. Even Covid triggered massive testamentary action.
Finally: Will planning: where do you turn to first? If you have any decent savings (but not necessarily a fortune) you turn to your financial adviser or wealth adviser NOT your solicitor/attorney or notary.
Concentrate on building relationships with the planners NOT the doers.
Issue 3 – prospect profile
And before you comment “Richard those without family are best prospects and often think about their Will” I have one simple answer:
You are right, but 70% of I have recently met donors who HAVE children yearn to leave a legacy – if the communication makes it accessible to them. The silent generation and baby boomers are both exceptionally philanthropic.
30+ years ago – over 80% female and without family.
Now 60% female 40% male (thank you Smee & Ford www.smeeandford.co.uk) and many with a family.
The past does not totally indicate the future. Anyone aged over 55 ish is a prospect.
Issue 4 – future gift privacy
The propensity to inform the non-profit of their legacy intentions is in freefall – except those without a family who often feel reassured that you will get their gift if they tell you.
Emphasise that the only reason to inform the charity of their gift is to say thank you. NEVER say “it is to plan our future”.
Issue 5 – gaining prospect engagement.
I am 69 – the perfect prospect age. Think of me. Put yourself in my shoes. I am happy to be reminded about legacy giving. With the cost of living crisis I will never tell anyone about my gift apart from my family and professional advisers.
I am happy if you make it affordable (I have a family). See previous blogs on ensuring I can easily leave an affordable gift.
Remember I am part of a generational philanthropic revolution which yearns to make a lasting impact. Think: impact of my gift – which has to be inspirational tangible and expressed with an urgency.
Please draft a vision which focuses on my impact of my gift. There are loads of wishy-washy horribly bad visions which focus on features – such as “a legacy of hope”. I hope to win the national lottery …………. I say no more!
Issue 6 Action
I am happy if you make it easy to DO. Get rid of that awful Will planner which makes me NOT take action. Think: easy call to action
But you still do not know when I plan to plan my new Will.
You have got to match thinking time with action time.
And that will mean regular gentle nudges, so you remain in the front of my mind.
Richard Radcliffe FCIoF Cert