CDE project 10 sec­tion 4 part 1: the approach used in this report and the basis for these conclusions

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
April 27, 2017

To draw together some inputs, ideas and contributions that shaped some of the conclusions and recommendations in this paper, we have organised the collection of insights around four areas that can affect legacy fundraising from the position of the donor, and which provide insight into the position of the fundraiser – donors, organisations, marketing and legacy administration.

d. The needs and experience of donors and their families – seeing it from the donor’s viewpoint

e. Different organisations’ cultures, capacities and experiences – seeing it from the organisations’ viewpoints

f. The legacy marketing and influence method and experience – seeing it from the ways that fundraisers fundraise

g. The probate experience and approach – seeing it from the experience of the donor and of the charity when families engage with a charity through probate (Probate is the legal process whereby a will is "proved" in a court and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased – Wikipedia).

This was explored by asking participants to define

h. What works, inspires and provides a positive experience?

i. What prevents the delivery of an inspiring and positive experience?

j. How could fundraisers make this experience remarkable at present and in the future?

A survey was created using Survey Monkey, and was distributed via the Institute of Fundraising Legacy and the In Memoriam Special Interest Group, as well as on Facebook, Fundraising Chat, LinkedIn and via blog posts on UK Fundraising during the summer of 2016. Findings and feedback were collated and used to distil the recommended actions. Specific individual heads of legacy fundraising were emailed as part of the IOF Special Interest Group, while Remember a Charity sent its 160 members the questionnaire. The four case studies were identified (presented in the appendices) as part of this.

The content in this report draws upon the authors’ experience and background knowledge, as well as on perspectives from others (referenced throughout) to illustrate the thrust of the paper and to support the conclusions.

The following sections relate to the four areas (the donor, the organisation, marketing and legacy administration), beginning with an overview of and perspective on each, followed by a series of defined recommendations and a narrative to explain. 

About the author: The Commission on the Donor Experience

The CDE has one simple ideal – to place donors at the heart of fundraising. The aim of the CDE is to support the transformation of fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. It is based on evidence drawn from first hand insight of best practice. By identifying best practice and capturing examples, we will enable these to be shared and brought into common use.

Related case studies or articles

CDE project 10 summary: legacies

This project will look at the strengths and weaknesses of the current model of legacy fundraising and identify how we make sure that people feel encouraged to include charities in wills.

Read more

CDE project 10 section 1: an overview of and background to legacy fundraising

To leave a legacy is a natural human desire. Since the beginning of history, human beings have striven to pass on something of ourselves to future generations.

Read more

CDE project 10 section 2: legacy fundraising today and the opportunity before us

In the past 15 to 20 years, legacy fundraising has embraced new forms of reach and engagement. The rise of digital platforms and other media have increased and developed engagement.

Read more

CDE project 10 section 3: putting the donor-led experience at the heart of legacy fundraising growth

What do donors need and want in order to make the giving of a gift in their wills meaningful, normal, joyful, easy and rewarding?

Read more

CDE project 10 section 4 part 2: the experiences and needs of donors and their families

At the heart of the challenge of providing the best experience are the primary wishes of the donors and their families. 

Read more

CDE project 10 section 4 part 3: how the donor might behave and how can we use insight to improve experience

Much has been written about the power of emotion and at the heart of thinking about how these can be used in legacy fundraising, the following are links to four resources pertaining to the art and science of emotion.

Read more

CDE project 10 section 4 part 4: the organisation’s culture, capacity and experience

Creating a positive experience for legacy donors or for those enquiring about becoming such donors requires a much wider contribution and understanding from the organisation.

Read more

CDE project 10 section 5: the legacy marketing, fundraising and influence method and experience

The majority of legacy gifts are made without revealing intent in life. We have indicated reasons that this focus may actually drive engagement away rather than encourage openness.

Read more

CDE project 10 section 6: the probate and legacy administrative experience and approach

The donor experience is complex, and there are a variety of experiences that donors may with a charity during their journey. 

Read more

CDE project 10 appendix 1: case studies to showcase putting donors at the heart of legacy fundraising

Four case studies are described here, each demonstrating strategy and behaviour in legacy inspiration that place the donor at the heart of its practices and activities.

Read more

CDE project 10 appendix 1: WaterAid

This case study was put forward for an Institute of Fundraising Legacy Award and highlights the combination of strategy, marketing and culture to promote legacies in a more donor-friendly way.

Read more

CDE project 10 appendix 1: UNICEF UK

UNICEF UK had reviewed its legacy strategy and concluded that it needed to engage a wider audience and to reach more people while simultaneously finding innovative ways to engage existing supporters.

Read more

CDE project 10 appendix 1: Cystic Fibrosis Trust

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust recognised that, as a charity in which the condition they were seeking to address was responsible for early death, the subject of legacies was a difficult one to introduce to their core audience and beyond – people with CF and their families and friends.

Read more

CDE project 10 appendix 1: Remember a Charity

This case study illustrates an insight-driven and donor-led campaign.

Read more