Legacies and bequests

Please treat this section with respect. For if within these pages you can find out how to increase your share of the massive legacy (more commonly referred to as bequests in North America) income that seems to fall each year from heaven above into fundraisers’ laps, you’ll have done well indeed. So, this is the place where you’ll find some of the best ideas worth borrowing, truly the all-time greats of legacy marketing.

YMCA: ‘soft sell’ legacy advertising

by SOFII

In the mid 1980's, the YMCA offered a free legacy information service to generate a list of potential prospects...

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RNLI: the legacy letter

by SOFII

This letter raised £millions. It is a classic example of a direct appeal to supporters for information to help plan for future income. An example of a candid, plain-speaking, respectful letter to remind supporters that RNLI relies heavily on legacy income to fund their work.

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Great Ormond Street Hospital: legacy marketing 1856

by SOFII

Why is it that the giving and receipt of legacies figured strongly in Victorian literature, yet is largely absent today? The announcement in the annual report of The Hospital for Sick Children (later Great Ormond Street Hospital) appeared just four years after the hospital was founded, but it was already obvious that gifts of legacies would be very important to the health and development of the hospital.

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Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia: bequest conversion pack

by SOFII

This very detailed exhibit shows clearly how to ask donors and potential donors for the biggest gift they’ll ever make – a legacy. The campaign achieved brilliant results and stands out in the charity sector as an example of good bequest (legacy) marketing. It showed that asking someone for a bequest doesn’t have to be daunting and risky, as long as it is done in a sensitive, respectful manner that offers an emotive and compelling case for support.

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Greenpeace Sweden’s legacy commercials

by SOFII

Colourful cartoon characters present the threats to their environment and set up a conversation about legacies for Greenpeace in Sweden. It’s all about trying new things and taking risks, which too many organisations shy away from. Greenpeace International has developed a structure to make them possible.

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Southern Poverty Law Center: Partners for the Future legacy letter and brochure

by SOFII

These two items – a single page letter and 16-page booklet, which together constitute a single legacy-promotion direct mail package, represent an outs…

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WWF integrated legacy marketing campaign

WWF legacy marketing materials

by SOFII

This is truly ground-breaking communication for fundraising. Not only did these press advertisements and posters herald a new approach to the promotion of legacies (bequests) but they were also the first ads to use jargon-free language and to talk about legacies in plain, everyday terms that any one could understand.

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The Greenpeace legacy beer mat

The Greenpeace legacy beer mat, front

by SOFII

This is the copy line that every writer wishes he or she had written. If half the challenge with legacy marketing is how do you raise this delicate subject with donors, then this brilliant promotion hits every button perfectly. I’ve always believed that the fact it’s an advertisement on a beer mat is almost entirely incidental to its brilliance, though it is characteristic of Greenpeace that this is how they would choose to deploy such a fantastic idea. Without doubt, this is a fundraising classic. NB see also ‘lessons’, below.

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Nature Conservancy of Canada: legacy mailing

A warm, attractive package with the maple key emblem, symbol of Canada’s national tree, acting as an intriguing involvement device.

by SOFII

How NCC accessed the pot of gold at the end of the fundraiser’s rainbow with a classically straightforward but very appealing legacy piece. Without doubt, this carefully and sensitively crafted pack will raise funds very effectively for the cause and the organisation that created it.

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