Will making spiked as COVID-19 became part of our daily reality. We witnessed a surge of under 60s making their first Will and of older people updating theirs. As we begin to emerge from lockdown, it remains unclear how COVID will continue affect our daily lives longer-term. Might younger people continue to be motivated to make their Will? And if so, how many of them will choose to leave a gift to charity?

What we do know is that making a legacy ‘ask’ in the face of COVID felt particularly insensitive. As a result, many charities halted their legacy marketing campaigns, whilst emergency fundraising took centre stage.

An understandable reaction, but might things have been different if our legacy marketing was less focused on the act of Will making, and more broadly focused on supporting people in planning end of life?

Let’s reimagine legacy marketing; thinking beyond the process of making or amending a Will.

Our society is slowly becoming more willing to think about, discuss, plan, and celebrate end of life. Those baby boomers we are so anxious to reach with our legacy message are interested in learning, advice, conversation, support, and success in reaching life goals. If we aren’t engaged in any of that, we’re not listening.

There’s an opportunity for a significant shift, increasing the real value your organisation can bring to your supporters. Can we focus part of our legacy offer on supporting end of life planning?

We believe the answer is yes, and that this shift is imperative.

It would mean investing in audience understanding and product design, but we do that elsewhere in fundraising, so why not for legacies, which are so important to our donors and to us? Opportunities range from co-creating a product to support people in considering and completing end of life planning tasks, to building stewardship with a wider range of support and prompts.

A clear and compelling proposition remains vital, but a great way to build a relationship is to offer something tangible. There has never been a better time to develop a fresh approach to legacy and develop more relevant, useful, and interesting offers.

Gifts in Wills are the ultimate and often the greatest act of generosity of a lifetime. Let us do them justice and be generous in supporting people as they consider making them.