Leaving a legacy in your will is a very emotive act and after producing several legacy fundraising videos, we understand that successful legacy engagement is about connecting emotionally on a personal level.\u00a0If charities can build an emotional connection with donors, they are able to more easily communicate the difference a legacy gift can make.\r\n\r\nLegacies are a vital income stream for charities to continue their invaluable work and most charities are creating campaigns to show the impact of legacy gifts on their work and encourage more legacy donations.\r\n\r\nNew research is changing the way charities focus their legacy message. Dr Russell James\u2019 ground-breaking research on planned giving and the brain found that emotion (as opposed to information) is the key to deciding to make a charitable legacy.\r\n\r\nDr James identified that legacy giving is connected to the autobiographical area of the brain thus a donor\u2019s experiences, values and emotions are critical to the legacy process. Successful legacy communications therefore need to connect emotionally in a meaningful way.\r\n\r\nVisual storytelling is an essential messaging tool for waking the limbic system where emotions reside in your brain.\u00a0 Stories connect emotionally with us in a way that information and statistics don\u2019t. Stories inspire, engage and connect on an emotional level and have been found to be a very effective way to motivate supporters to leave a legacy.\r\n\r\nThe emotional connection between a donor and a charity often springs from shared values and beliefs. Stories about injustice, poverty & discrimination can stir people to leave a legacy and faith-based charity campaigns often focus on the desire to follow God\u2019s calling. Successful faith-based legacy communications often demonstrate that a donor\u2019s faith and values live on through their gift.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s often a challenge for charities to balance the need to ask for legacy gifts whilst being sensitive with the subject matter.\u00a0 Charities are therefore increasingly recognising the importance of specific targeted campaigns and the power of video to connect more on a personal level.\r\n\r\nVideo is a personal medium; an engaging and inspiring video gives a sense that you\u2019re being spoken to individually. An inspiring fundraising video which personally moves and connects will engage donors and motivate support.\r\n\r\nOne way to connect emotionally with supporters whilst showing the difference a legacy gift can make, is to see the charity\u2019s work through the donor\/donor family\u2019s eyes. Some of the legacy videos we\u2019ve produced capture the personal journey of lay executors visiting charity projects to see how the legacy left by a family member is making a difference.\r\n\r\nA donor journey film is highly personalised and connects the viewer directly with the need \u2013 he or she sees the difference a legacy donation can make.\r\n\r\nWhen emotional stories are used with integrity alongside rational evidence in a fundraising appeal, they are likely to generate a positive response. It is this mix of emotions and reason continually expressed in fresh and creative ways that will help a charity to build stronger relationships with supporters and drive legacy giving.\r\n\r\nKate Topping, business manager at Purple Flame Media\r\n\r\nFind out more about Russell James' research in our November blog.