Results of a survey into hospices legacy fundraising carried out in May 2003 as part of a Help the Hospices/PROMARK review into legacy fundraising among hospices.
Section 1 Survey findings
1.1 General Information
1.2 Voluntary income and legacies
1.3 Pecuniary legacies
1.4 Residual legacies
1.5 Fundraising structure
1.6 Use of consultants
1.7 Legacy fundraising
1.8 Updating materials
1.9 Permissible activities
1.10 What Hospices would like to see in best practice guidelines
1.12 Smee and Ford
1.13 Other useful support services
Section 2 Trends and conclusions
2.1 Volatility of legacy income
2.2 Percentage of total voluntary income from legacies
2.3 Age of hospices
2.4 Legacy materials
2.5 Fundraising staff
2.6 Use of consultants
3 The survey
This report is based on hospices responses to a survey commissioned in May 2003 by Help the Hospices. The survey looked at hospices total income and the importance of legacy income to their total voluntary income. It explored the resources that hospices are committing to legacy fundraising and asked what further support hospices would like for their legacy fundraising. The report is in two sections, section one reports back the findings of the questionnaire and in section two some trends are highlighted such as the volatility of legacy income, the age of hospices, updating of materials and the use of fundraising staff. Finally some conclusions are drawn.
A legacy review questionnaire was sent to Help the Hospices mailing list of 185 hospices in May 2003. This was part of a review of hospice legacy fundraising by Smee and Ford, commissioned by Help the Hospices/PROMARK. The review was undertaken as a result of a recommendation from the 2001 Hospice Fundraising study undertaken by the Henley Management Centre which identified legacies as the most important source of voluntary income for hospices. However, investment into legacy fundraising appeared to be relatively low among hospices. This survey aimed to draw a clearer picture of legacy fundraising practice among hospices to better understand legacy fundraising and assist hospices to maximise their income from this important source. In total 68 completed questionnaires were received, giving a response rate of 36%. The responses show that hospices experiences with legacy fundraising vary greatly. The percentage income received by hospices from legacies ranges from less than 1% to 75%. This report aims to provide a summary of results from the survey and to highlight trends and patterns that emerge from the data collected.
Section 1 Survey findings
1.1 General information
Of the hospices that replied all but 2 are independent, and all but 5 provide services to adults only. The average age of the hospices was 21.6 years.
1.2 Voluntary Income and legacies
The average income of respondent hospices was £1,656,424 in 2001, £1,365,762 in 2000 and £1,249,436 in 1999. In 2001 income ranged from less than £30,000 to more than £15 million. Legacy income as a percentage of total voluntary income ranged from 1% to 75% in 2001. The average percentage was 28.4% in 2001, 29.3% in 2000 and 30% in 1999. In 2001 legacy income represented over 25% of the total voluntary income for 29 of the hospices that provided this data on the questionnaire (53%). For 8 of the hospices (14.5% of those who provided the data) legacy income represented over 50% of their total voluntary income. For 6 of the hospices (10.9% of those who provided the data) legacy income represented less than 10% of their total voluntary income.
1.3 Pecuniary legacies
A total of 37 hospices (54% of respondents) gave data on pecuniary legacies received last year. Among these the average number received was 15.4 with an average value of £3,136. Numbers of pecuniary legacies ranged from 1 to 49 and average values ranged from £701 to £36,214.
1.4 Residual legacies
A total of 29 hospices (42% of respondents) gave data on residual legacies received last year. Among these the average number received was 16.8 with an average value of £33,211. Numbers of residual legacies received ranged from 1 to 49 and average values ranged from £1,690 to £128,163.
1.5 Fundraising Structure
Only one of the respondent hospices had a dedicated member of staff for legacy fundraising. 27 (40.9% of respondents) had dedicated members of staff for either trust fundraising, corporate fundraising or individual fundraising.
Once received, administration of legacies was the responsibility of the fundraising department for 21 respondents (30%), the finance/accounts department for 35 (51%) of respondents and the remaining 10 (14%) hospices deals with legacies elsewhere or gave no answer.
1.6 Use of consultants
A number of hospices have used a consultant and/or agency for assistance with their legacy fundraising. These had been involved in:
|Use of Consultants||Number of respondents||Percentage of respondents|
|Legacy strategy development||8||11%|
|Direct marketing for legacies||2||3%|
|Print designer for legacy booklets/fliers||13||19%|
|Will making pack||9||13%|
A number of consultants/agencies were mentioned by name….Performance Bonus, Guess Who, Smee & Ford (7), DDC Alan Willet, Comptons ‘a member of the Institute of Legacy Managers’, Legacy Masterclass.
1.7 Legacy Fundraising
Almost all hospices used at least one method to publicise their need for legacies. The methods most commonly used are:
|Method||Number of respondents||Percentage of respondents|
|Fundraising staff giving external presentations||45||66%|
|Distribute annual report to supporters||38||55%|
|Include legacy stories/need for legacies in newsletter||38||55%|
|Legacy booklet/flier displayed externally||38||55%|
|Legacy booklet/flier display in hospice||36||52%|
|Highlight legacies in annual review||36||52%|
|Legacy details on website||34||50%|
|Direct mail leaflet to solicitors||33||48%|
|Use care/professional staff to give presentations||28||41%|
|Advertise in Charity Choice for legacies||25||36%|
|Include leaflet in newsletter||22||32%|
|Use Testimonials/case studies||20||29%|
|Will making pack||19||27%|
|Advertise in other publications||14||20%|
|Run a make a will week||12||17%|
|Use volunteers to give presentations||12||17%|
|Advertise in Law Society Gazette||12||17%|
|Direct mail to supporters||12||17%|
|Advertise in the local press for legacies||11||16%|
|Advertise in local press of in memoria gifts||11||16%|
|Press releases when have received legacies||6||8%|
Respondents were asked to give reasons if they did not use testimonials or case studies in their fundraising materials and a wide range of reasons were given. These are detailed below:
- Inappropriate (2)
- Never considered (4)
- Sensitivity and discretion
- Difficult to obtain but the climate is improving
- Has not been policy to use named case studies
- Don’t get round to it
- Only just beginning to look at developing legacy marketing (2)
- Has not been part of planned legacy policy
- Privacy issues
- Sensitivity of legacies within hospice environment
- Starting to look at possibility (3)
- Donors are given confidentiality unless give permission – impossible with those who have died.
- Have not had a good enough story (2)
- Trustees have just agreed to trail – will do with next legacy
- Professional staff are reluctant because of confidentiality.
- Have just started asking permission – have some ready to go
1.8 Updating materials
A number of hospices have updated their legacy materials in the last 2-3 years.
|Material updated||Number of Respondents||Percentage of Respondents|
|Will making pack||14||20%|
1.9 Permissible activities
In relating to patients and relatives on the issue of legacies, hospices were asked which practises where permissible. For those hospices which answered negatively this could mean the practise was not permissible, but also that they have not necessarily been thought of or done to date:
|Permissible activity||Number of respondents||Percentage of respondents|
|Will writing advice in patients welcome pack||6||8%|
|Need for legacies in patients welcome pack||17||25%|
|Care staff to mention legacies when asked about hospice funding||19||27%|
|Care staff to be trained in talking about legacies||8||11%|
|Volunteers to be trained in talking about legacies||8||11%|
1.10 What hospices would like to see in best practise guidelines
When asked what they would most like to see in best practice national guidelines for legacy fundraising, respondents were most interested in the following:
|Would like to see in best practice guidelines||Number of respondents||Percentage of respondents|
|Ethical guidelines concerning will making for patients||58||85%|
|Training of fundraising staff||51||75%|
|A National Hospice Make a Will week||48||70%|
|Training of care/professional staff||44||64%|
|Make a will week (own local week)||44||64%|
|Administration of legacies received||44||64%|
|Training of volunteers||40||58%|
50 (73%) hospices said they would find it useful for Help the Hospices to provide guidance to Trustees on the importance of legacy income and the need for legacy marketing.
1.12 Smee & Ford
Many of the respondents currently use Smee & Ford services
|Smee and Ford Service||Number of respondents||Percentage of respondents|
|Named service for legacies to your hospice||28||41%|
|Trusts established in Wills||5||7%|
1.13 Respondents were asked “what other useful support services could be provided nationally to help you gain more legacy income”
Suggestions were many and varied. Six respondents suggested a national awareness campaign of the importance of legacy income to hospices, a further 3 asked for national advertising. Three respondents asked for training either for fundraising staff or for clinical staff to inform them of the importance of legacies and advise in how best to put the message across. A further 3 respondents asked for materials, one of these specifically mentioned posters. Two respondents suggested a helpline, to call to find details of local hospice and for guidance on wording. A further 2 hospices suggested that Help the Hospices join the “Legacy Awareness Campaign” and pass on information/advice to members. The following further suggestions were each made by just one respondent.
- National awareness of inheritance laws and intestacy.
- Blue print of a legacy leaflet
- Media coverage of exceptional legacies
- National subscription to ‘Remember a Charity’ campaign
- National ‘Make a Will Week’.
- Details of successful legacy campaigns from other hospices.
- Shared experience and joint working
- Networking sessions with other hospice fundraisers
- Information on how to deal with solicitors
- A hospice pack for funeral directors
- Directory of cooperating solicitors who promote legacies
- Section on legacies in the NAMF handbook
- Share analysis of what other charities successful with legacy fundraising do.
- Plain English guidelines
- Umbrella approach to Smee & Ford for lists of discretionary legacies.
One respondent voiced caution with national initiatives, highlighting that the emphasis must be on supporting local hospices.
Section 2 Trends and conclusions
2.1 Volatility of Legacy Income
Of those hospices that gave a figure for the percentage of their total voluntary income coming from legacies in 2001 and 1999 (49 respondents), 8 (16.3%) had experienced an increase in the percentage of their total voluntary income that was made up of legacies over this period of more than 10%. 13 (26.5%) had experienced a decrease in the percentage of their total voluntary income which was made up of legacies over this period of more than 10%, and 28 (59%) had experienced a change either way of less than 10%. In total 25 hospices (51%) experienced a percentage increase either up or down of 5% or more from 1999 to 2001. It should be noted that this did not mean a smooth incremental rise either up or down over the 3 year period. These figures illustrate the volatility of legacy income. Where legacy income forms a significant proportion of total voluntary income (in 2001 53% of hospices secured at least 25% of total voluntary income from legacies) this unpredictability must create a real difficulty in financial planning.
2.2 Percentage of Total Voluntary income from Legacies
It is not possible to draw any conclusions on the relationship between a hospices total voluntary income and the percentage of this made up from legacies. Of those hospices that provided the data 29 respondents had an income in 2001 of £1million plus, these secured an average of 30.2% of their total voluntary income from legacies. 24 respondents had an income of less than £1m in 2001, and they secured an average of 25% of their total voluntary income from legacies. Given the relatively small sample size and the closeness of the figures it would be unwise to surmise that hospices with large incomes on average secure a higher percentage of this from legacies though from this sample this is marginally the case.
2.3 Age of Hospice
A total of 19 respondents had been in operation for 15 years or under and these had an average of 24.5% of total voluntary income made up from legacies. A further 34 respondents had been operating for over 15 years. These hospices had an average of 29.8% of their total voluntary income made up from legacies. This marginally higher percentage may be due to the longer existence of the hospice but given the small sample size and relatively small difference this should not be assumed to be the case.
2.4 Legacy Materials
In total 34 of the respondents (50%) had updated legacy materials in the last 2-3 years. Of those hospices who also provided data on the percentage income they received from legacies in 2001 (54 (79%) out of the total 68 respondents) it was found that of those hospices who received 25% or more of their total voluntary income from legacies (total of 28 hospices) 18 (33%) had updated their materials in the last 2-3 years and 10 (18%) had not. Of those hospices who received less than 25% of their total voluntary income from legacies (total of 26 hospices) 16 (29%) had updated their materials in the last 2-3 years and 10 (18%) had not. It is therefore not possible to conclude that recently updated legacy materials correlates to a higher percentage of total voluntary income being received from legacies. Given that the average length of time between a will being written and the will writer dying is 4.1 years (the timeframe for a will being written and a hospice being informed they are to receive a legacy will be slightly longer than this) then any attempts to directly link the production and/or use of materials with the number of legacies received should use a 4-5 year timeframe.
The survey results suggest that hospices who receive a larger proportion of their income from legacies are no more likely to invest in materials to enhance their legacy fundraising than hospices which receive a smaller proportion of their income from legacies.
2.5 Fundraising Staff
There was a clear correlation between a hospices income and the employment of fundraising staff. A total of 61 hospices provided data on total income in 2001 and fundraising staff employed. Of these, 35 of the hospices had an income of over £1m in 2001 and 26 had an income of less than £1m. Of those hospices with an income over £1m 20 (57%) employed at least 1 full-time dedicated member of staff for either legacy, trust, corporate or individual fundraising. The remaining 15 (43%) did not employ any dedicated full time members of staff for any of these areas of fundraising. Of those 26 hospices with an income in 2001 below £1m 7 (27%) employed at least 1 full time member of staff dedicated to the above four areas of fundraising, while the remaining 19 (73%) did not. It should be noted there was perhaps a little confusion in answering this question as some of the hospices who answered that they do have a dedicated member of staff seem to actually have a staff member who is responsible for these areas of fundraising as well as other areas of fundraising and possibly other areas of work. It is also likely that other fundraising staff are employed by some hospices but the survey did not ask about these.
Of the 57 hospices which provided data on percentage of total voluntary income from legacies and fundraising staff it was found that of the 27 hospices that received at least 25% of their total voluntary income from legacies 13 employed dedicated fundraising staff for either legacy, trust, corporate or individual fundraising and 14 did not. Of those 30 hospices, which received less than 25% of their total income from legacies, 11 employed dedicated fundraising staff and 19 did not. Therefore the full picture of fundraising staff is not available but it is clear that those hospices with the largest incomes are most likely to employ dedicated fundraising staff, this correlation is less clear when looking at staff resources against percentage of total voluntary income made up by legacies.
2.6 Use of Consultants
It is interesting to note that those hospices which used consultants for some aspect of their legacy fundraising, marginally tended to be those, which receive higher than average percentage of their total voluntary income from legacies. Of the 8 hospices which used a consultant in their legacy strategy development 6 (75%) gained 24% or more of their total voluntary income in 2001 from legacies (non of these hospices had an income as high as the average hospice income in 2001 which was £1.6 million). This pattern is mirrored for all aspects of consultant’s involvement. Of the 10 hospices which used consultants for staff and/or volunteer training 6 (60%) gained 24% or more of their total voluntary income from legacies. Of the 13 hospices which used consultants for print design 7 (53%) gained 24% or more of their total voluntary income from legacies, and for the 9 hospices which used consultants to assist with their will making pack 5 (55%) gained 24% or more of their total voluntary income from legacies, (for comparison, with all respondents in 2001 53% gained 25% or more of their total voluntary income from legacies). In all cases it was not necessarily those hospices with the highest income which were using consultants, rather those for whom legacy income represented a significant portion of their total income.
In conclusion it is clear from the survey that legacy income is an important source of income for many, but by no means all hospices. Legacies as a percentage of total voluntary income can vary considerably for an individual hospice from year to year making financial planning difficult. A significant proportion of hospices are committing resources to legacy fundraising in terms of producing materials, using consultants and allocating staff, but as the average length of time between a will being made and a legacy being received is 4 years plus increases in legacy income are difficult to attribute.