First will and testament

Jaz Nannar | September 26th, 2012

Jaz Nannar on why it pays to sow your legacy seeds everywhere

We’d had it on an invisible to-do list for ages. Sort out our will. Our first child was the trigger, though not a particularly quick one. We were expecting child two by the time we got round to it.

Therein lies the story. We knew we should sort this stuff out. We had the perfect excuse. But we really, really didn’t want to. Didn’t want to have conversations with each other about what happens if one of us dies. Or both of us. What happens to the kid(s)? When should they inherit the money? And how? (We’re not worth much, but like most people we’re worth a more dead than alive.)

Add to that my having worked on legacy marketing strategies for major charities for over 10 years and having banged on constantly to others about the perils of not having a will. At this point I’d have really appreciated one of those will-making guides that helpful charities used to produce. But though I support several good causes I didn’t have even one of those kicking about on the kitchen table to prod me into action when I needed it.

Anyway, now it’s all done. Our wills are made. But never at any stage did our (very good) solicitor ever mention a gift to charity. I waited until towards the end of the process to ask him why he hadn’t. He hesitated and said he didn’t think it would be something we’d be interested in. What does that mean? Not old enough? Not wealthy enough? Didn’t look generous enough? Or simply that we hadn’t mentioned it and he’d forgotten too?

If the law of averages is right becoming new parents is just the first key life stage that will throw something like making a will into sharp focus. Perhaps retirement will be the next. And then possibly, the final will.

Our experience confirmed everything we already know about legacy giving. Charities must sow the legacy seed across communications with all audiences rather than waiting to bombard unsuspecting folks once they’ve reached ‘the right age’.

Some of our clients are now joining up their thinking and making legacy fundraising everyone’s responsibility. This decision to market legacy giving across all kinds of communications – including cold cash asks – is reaping rewards and means that there’s less danger of folks at my life stage missing the legacy boat that charities would like us to jump on.

First wills will rarely be last wills of course. But it pays to sow the seeds early and everywhere you can. Here’s a link to a legacy marketing campaign that might interest you

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