Why you need stories
Stories about beneficiaries show supporters the difference their legacy gift could make. A story with impact will tap into your legacy prospects emotions taking them on a journey to start caring about your cause.
Remember that legacies like all other types of charitable giving, are often dictated by our hearts and not our minds.
Your case studies need to focus on how important gifts in Wills have been to your cause – the lives they have saved, the life-changing research they have funded and the services that have been saved, as well as how much you will need them in the future.
Talking about legacies through stories is an easy way to introduce the idea of leaving a gift and can take the fear out of talking about legacies.
What types of case studies matter?
They can tell you what your supporter was like as a person, what might have inspired them to leave a legacy and whether they ever talked about their charitable giving.
Whilst your readers and legacy prospects find common ground with your past legator stories, it can inspire them to want to be part of making the difference that your charity is seeking to achieve.
If the idea of talking to family members fills you with dread, fear not. As someone that has been speaking to legator families for most of my career, I can assure you that the conversations are often welcome by family members and can be a therapeutic experience for them.
When speaking to legator’s adult children expect to hear phrases such as “ I am so proud of my Mum for supporting your charity in this way. She always instilled in us the importance of giving back and she even did that right to the end.”
With the absence of any family members, they might be appointed as executor or a beneficiary in the Will.
Demonstrating the difference the legacy has made to them.
If the legator was known to your charity as a volunteer or used your charitable services, you can also interview their peers. These stories can be just as inspiring as those from family members.
These are exceptionally powerful when a pledger can talk about the rationale for not leaving their entire estate to their family, as they are managing the objection that people with children do not feel they can leave a charitable legacy. Expect to hear things such as:
“I don’t feel that I need to leave everything to my children. I’ve worked hard to provide for them and get them started in life. I believe that I can support the causes that have been important to me and still leave them a bit of money too.”
How to access families and friends of legators
Naturally, only write to those where they have also benefited from the estate.
Do ensure that where a solicitor has administered the estate, you go via them and do not contact family and friends directly.
How to get pledgers to tell their story
The point where a pledger informs you of their legacy intention is the opportune time to invite them to share their reasons for supporting your cause in this way. Inform them that others hearing their story may be motivated to support through a legacy too.
Where to use your case studies:
Social media & website - Facebook lends itself well to case studies and you can use the opportunity to ask followers to request legacy information
In all appeals - postal, email and telephone
Newsletters - what a great news story to share, about a new legacy you have received.
Thank you letters - try testing a few quotes from one of your case studies, in place of stating the need for legacies and sign off with an ask.
Events - In-person and Virtual
In your next legacy enquiry leaflet or brochure - here you can publish the case study in more detail.