dave-and-meryl

WaterAid

“Remember A Charity is central to our new legacy strategy. Having a national week organised externally galvanised all our staff far more than if we’d tried to create our own Legacy Week.”

Dominique Abranson, WaterAid’s legacy and in memory manager, explains how having two of their supporters at the heart of the Remember A Charity campaign brought their legacy campaign to life and engaged supporters and staff alike:

“We found two passionate supporters to tell the story for us. Sharing why they support our work and why they have left a gift in their Will to WaterAid engaged staff and supporters alike and inspired them to get involved in the campaign. It opened up new opportunities to talk about gifts in Wills.”

How did you get started with Remember A Charity in your Will Week 2015?

“We launched the campaign internally in February as we looked for our ‘Living Legends’ to take part in the national campaign. This allowed us to have legacy conversations with some of our key volunteers, who we wouldn’t normally get to have this conversation with. It gave account managers a reason to talk about legacies and helped them realise that taking about gifts in Wills was less daunting than they initially thought.

It had a positive outcome as along with finding two intrepid volunteers others informed us that we were already in their Will. It helped made teams realise that talking about gifts in Wills was relevant to their supporters as some of them were already doing this.

“Having supporters Dave and Meryl (pictured above) take part in the national campaign was great, we used their stories and voices to talk about the importance of gifts in Wills, and their reasons for choosing WaterAid.

“I set up a legacy champions group consisting of staff members from the fundraising and communications teams; they acted as the representative for their area as they could spot the opportunities through which to engage people with RAC Week. We continue to meet to talk through opportunities and upcoming activities.”

Why was it so important to have your supporters at the heart of the campaign?

“It feels more natural for a supporter to share their reasons for including a gift to WaterAid in their will, and we knew that both Dave and Meryl are passionate storytellers. They are part of WaterAid’s Speakers Network, and regularly give talks about our work, they were able to encourage other volunteer speakers to share their story and allowed us to reach new audiences about the importance of gifts in Wills.

Meryl had worked in the UK water industry; WaterAid was founded by the water industry in 1981, so her story resonated with staff at water companies who got involved in promoting the week internally.

Dave and Meryl are well known to WaterAid staff so they were able to inspire my colleagues too. If they could jump 10,000ft out of a plane for WaterAid the least staff could do was talk about it. Having supporters in the national campaign made it much more relevant for teams to talk about the week.

How did you reach out to your wider supporter base about the Campaign?

“Most of our activity last year was digital; it’s cost effective and it has the potential to reach a large audience. We created a special landing page where we shared films of Dave and Meryl and promoted the campaign messaging.

“We piloted a couple of ‘legacy roadshows’ at water company offices and the plan is to expand on this during our 2016 campaign. Many water companies shared Meryl’s story through their internal communications – raising awareness of gifts in Wills with a key group who really resonate with our work. Yorkshire Water, where Meryl had worked even sent a press release about the week to local papers.

“In October we held our annual WaterAid Supporters’ Day. Dave and Meryl had a slot to talk about why they got involved in the campaign. They were so inspiring, and their enthusiasm was infectious as they invited the audience to help us raise awareness of gifts in Wills. We showed the films of them doing their amazing skydive, and it certainly did the trick, as lots of supporters came and talked to Dave, Meryl and me during the break. They were wearing the yellow skydive outfits, so you couldn’t miss them!”

What digital channels did you use?

“Facebook and Twitter were great platforms for us. We shared films and photos of our two volunteers who took part in the Extreme Will Writing skydive.

Our work tends to resonate with audiences from medical or engineering backgrounds, so with this in mind, we targeted people working in those fields via some paid-for Facebook posts – it worked brilliantly, and we exceeded our target reach. 13,500 people saw our organic Facebook and Twitter posts, whilst over 500,000 saw our paid content. We found more people clicked through to our website from photo posts than video.”

What activities worked most successfully for the charity?

“There wasn’t one activity that stood out. As it was our first Remember A Charity in your Will Week we tested lots of new activities and we’ll be using these learnings to make 2016 even more successful. We also focused on coordinating all our teams and getting the whole organisation behind the week. Legacies certainly has a higher profile internally since we took part in the campaign.

“One success was an email from Dave to our individual supporters, talking passionately about why he included a gift in his Will, this resulted in a 10% higher open rate than our average email and a good percentage of people clicked to watch the film of his skydive.

“Our dedicated legacy webpage normally sees about two per cent of our web traffic per week, during the Week this rose to almost 18 per cent, as a result of our various activities driving people to the page. The combined legacy promotion around Remember A Charity Week led to over 1,000 enquirers and 100 pledgers.”

How important was it to be part of the wider Remember A Charity campaign

“Remember A Charity is central to our new legacy strategy. Having a national week organised externally galvanised all our staff far more than if we’d tried to create our own Legacy Week.”

TIPS

  • Get the importance of legacies recognised by trustees and directors as they can influence teams to get involved
  • Talk about legacies at every opportunity so they become normal
  • Train staff how to have legacy conversations, giving them confidence to broach the subject.
  • Break down the myths – legacies are not about death, but about life – a positive gift.
  • Drip feed your communications to supporters over time.
  • Create materials that all colleagues can use to promote the campaign
  • Show appreciation to colleagues who get involved so they are more likely to take part again.

See more on WaterAid’s 2016 campaign here.

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