Charitable Organisations and Leaving Gifts in Wills

The decision to leave a gift in a will is a very personal one.

In charitable organisations, members have a unique vantage point to work with their donors, giving them the ability to inform them about leaving gifts in their wills. Depending on the age, many individuals are not yet informed of the ease of creating a will online, must less planning it and leaving behind a legacy to their favourite charity.

For some, writing a will seems like a daunting task, but with the advent of online wills, the task is no longer difficult or time-consuming. In fundraising, the opportunity to help donors learn more about writing their will online in addition to the inclusion of gifts can be done in several ways such as:

  • Informative emails
  • At events or meetings
  • Within thank you letters at the time of donations
  • With Print media and leaflets
  • On your website

It is reported that over £3bn is gifted annually through wills. According to Remember a Charity, only 6% of people who die leave a legacy; however, it is cited that 1 in 3 people would like to leave a gift to a charity in their will. Gifts can come in various ways. From existing donors to administration and volunteers, the typical gift left to a charity is counted in the tens of thousands of pounds.

It is noted that there is an obvious connection between someone’s age and making a gift in their will versus when a gift is converted from a wish into a will to a financial donation. By utilizing the above marketing techniques, charities and fundraisers will have a better success rate of acquiring gifts from their donors.

Educating Your Donors

Through the awareness and the education that can be provided during a campaign, you will help your donors see that you are not strictly after their money or that you are prioritizing the organization over them as an individual.

The educational part of the campaign is an important one because it answers questions and helps donors feel like they have a true understanding of the process of how to leave a gift in their will to your organisation.

Surprisingly, 68% of those in England and Wales do not have a will, and most have not considered giving a gift in their will, so it is important that an organisation help their donors learn more about how to create a will online. Any campaign should have the task of raising awareness as their priority when converting interest into immediate actions.

It is also important to educate donors who give to multiple charities and helping them understand their rights when receiving help from a fundraiser or charity. More information regarding assisting donors “too much” can be found in Fundraising Regulations.

On a case-by-case basis, you can ask directly for a gift from an individual; however, this should be done with knowledge and planning. For example, an individual who donates heavily while living will most likely ask for detailed information on how their money will be spent after they have passed. Upon this request, it is imperative to have information ready for presenting.



Marketing Considerations

When marketing to donors to leave gifts to a fundraiser or charitable organisation, there are several things to consider. See below.

The approach for older individuals should be less direct. A more traditional means of communication and patience will go a long way when helping a donor who is older. They have an appreciation for detailed information and someone taking their time explaining how things will be carried out. Also, print media is more applicable and more readily received.

When marketing to younger donors, education, and patience are still key. Inspiring them to leave gifts in their will needs to be a conversation that is open and comfortable. Some have a difficult time facing their mortality, where others may feel completely at ease. With those that are younger, there is a great opportunity to help guide them and discuss how an online will writing solicitor is quick yet thorough.

Interesting fact: Up to a third of people die without a will; this proportion, unfortunately, increases as age decreases. Statistically speaking, a gift left in an individual’s first will is more likely to stay the course, even if the will goes through several rewrites.

If the marketing and approach are well structured in a campaign, that donor will be a mouthpiece for your organisation no matter their age. Therefore leading to word-of-mouth marketing and a viral effect for gaining more gifts. Campaigns also increase donations from those who may not be ready to make the decision at the time but are considering a gift in their will in the future.

Things to Do Before Starting Your Marketing Campaign

Before starting your marketing campaign, there are several things you will want to do that include:

1. Knowing what you want: Get the charity to hone in on why they want gifts in wills. What are the projects that could be accomplished if funds were available? Knowing what you want will help to establish your message.

2. Acquiring an internal buy-in: Speaking with leadership and volunteers will open a dialogue with them, helping them to do a will online and leaving a gift to the organisation. This will help to get the ball moving to go forth and speak with supporters.

3. Ask your supporters/donors that have left gifts why they did so: By understanding why your donors left a gift, you can gain knowledge of what motivates someone to do so. Let them know you are starting a campaign and would like to use their stories for other donors for encouragement.

4. Know and Integrate your message: By knowing what you want, you can gain your message and integrate it into your campaign. Having a solid, clear message will help to sustain the campaign. Also, a clear message is more likely to stay present in a donor’s mind. From newsletters to emails and your website, your message will be in their thoughts long after the campaign has ended.

5. Endurance: A campaign, in truth, should never truly end. Education about how to write a will online is vital for all ages, whether there is a gift or not included within it. An organisation should keep its message relevant and push forward with helping its donors understand how to make a will online and continuing the discussion about gift-giving.

In Conclusion

Most all fundraisers will tell you that obtaining gifts in a will is tough. This particular effort takes time, education, and patience. Oftentimes, a charity will not know that a donor is planning to leave a gift or if they already have.

This is sometimes due to anonymity and not wanting attention. Although this humbleness is understood, an organization can better plan when there are good, strong lines of communication regarding heavy topics like will writing and death.

At Wills Trusts LPA online, we provide qualified solicitors all over England and Wales to help fundraisers and charitable organizations. We provide metrics that are vital to measuring the success of their effort when they are marketing to their donors. A fundraiser’s administration will know who had made a will when the will was created and the amount of the gift made to the organisation.

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