Legacies

A legacy is a special kind of donation, left by someone in their will. Legacies are often an unexpected source of income, left by someone who has a link with your organisation in some way.

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of giving money in memory of someone, such as donating to their preferred good cause or sponsoring tree planting in parks and community forests.

Encouraging legacy donations

If you think that your organisation should try and encourage legacies, this will need to be handled with great care and sensitivity.

You will need to develop appropriate publicity materials which ask people to consider your organisation in their will, or to give to your organisation in memory of a loved-one. If you are actively considering this approach, you will also need to ensure you are fully equipped to deal with people’s grief, respond to the wishes with care and perhaps mark their donation in a fitting way.

Have a look at how larger charities deal with legacy donations and use that to develop what you think would work well for your group.

Key considerations

  • this is a long-term funding strategy
  • it will require inter-personal skills and time to support people in grief
  • it will often require dealing with solicitiors
  • donors may want a fitting and public memorial or tribute
  • legacy donations might be restricted by the donor to a particular activity or cause

Institute of Fundraising, five-minute fundraiser

An introduction to legacy fundraising


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