Charities rely on legacy fundraising. Many large charities say that legacies account for a third or half of their income.
But writing about legacy fundraising online can be daunting. Saying the right thing around a sensitive subject is important, and it can be hard to know how to pitch tone of voice and terminology to a wide audience. Knowing where to place it on the website and how to promote it, is equally challenging.
Chances are, visitors get to your legacy pages because they already care about what you do or support you in other ways. Most people visiting these pages are likely to be interested in your cause rather than searching for a charity to support.
Your page therefore needs to persuade them that remembering your charity in their will is a good thing as well as an easy thing to do. Simply, it should cover:
- the impact of a legacy
- a thank you for what they are about to do
- easy access to the information they need to progress
It should be memorable, interesting and engaging – you want it to stick in the reader’s mind for when they actually come to write or update their will.
Here are five charities whose online legacy fundraising pages really stand out.
WaterAid’s legacy site is persuasive and well designed. The page starts with a powerful call to action: Leave the world with water. Headings and links are eye catching and engaging (leave your mark / what would you like to pass on? / our promise to you). Images are positive and inspiring. They include a legacy promise which is reassuring and clear.
Alzheimer’s Society talk about their ambitious plans to defeat dementia. They include all the usual sections (practical information, FAQs, legacy events) as well as a video from Sir Tony Robinson.
But it is Glenys’ story which brings it all to life. In a video, she talks openly and honestly about her sister and why she supports the Alzheimer’s Society.
Refugee Action’s Leave a legacy page is simple and persuasive. Although it is just a short page it includes everything. It is beautifully written using storytelling and a sense of urgency.
It starts with a statement reinforcing that by leaving a legacy ”you will be joining thousands of others” who are standing up for refugees. The second paragraph frames the issue, the third talks about the difference a legacy gift will make. The fourth is an inspiring quote. Then follows the practical information of contact details and a downloadable guide.
Online legacy fundraising doesn’t have to be complicated. This example shows that being clear about your message and audience’s motivation is key.
Mencap’s gifts in wills page is based around the inspiring story of Lord Brian Rix. The page says that he “helped change the future for people with a learning disability. With a gift in your Will to Mencap you can too.” It uses beautiful images from their archive and talks about what he achieved in his lifetime. It says that although lots has changed, people with learning disabilities still face challenges so by leaving a gift in your will, you can help change the future too.
Why do you think someone might have reached your page? What are they thinking? Miscarriage Association’s page is warmly written in the tone of voice of a supportive letter from a friend. They rely on a quote to position the ask.
All of these examples have the confidence and a clear sense of themselves to produce warm and engaging content.
How do you match up?
It is a good time to review your own legacy fundraising pages online. Who looks after legacy fundraising in your organisation – how do they speak to people about it? How can you get some of this tone of voice into your web page? What stories do you have? How can you make your content persuasive and effective?
For more examples and a checklist, see Madeleine’s blog on Online legacy fundraising 2017.