Every charity worker must be prepared to ask for funds \u2013 that includes discussing gifts in Wills\r\n\r\nThe recent report, Top 100 Fundraising Charities Spotlight, highlights some of the fastest growing charities over the last five years. Interestingly, it shows how those organisations managed it \u2013 showcasing a number of different techniques, and legacies\u2019 performance shines through.\r\n\r\nLeonard Cheshire saw a 40% growth in income through legacies and expanding trust support for its international work. And Battersea Dogs and Cats Home saw a 36% increase in income through legacies, regular and major giving and events.\r\n\r\nAs the voluntary sector manages increased scrutiny of their fundraising practices, how can charity bosses develop strategies that will build future growth?\r\n\r\nConfidence is key. If charities don\u2019t continue to embrace fundraising across the organisation, then they risk having to cut back on the services that society needs. And if more charities don\u2019t embrace legacy fundraising, they risk falling further behind.\r\n\r\nLegacies are all about \u201ca good chinwag\u201d, as one experienced fundraiser once told me.\r\n\r\nMy recent conversation with a board of trustees shows the challenge. The board were a passionate group of volunteers who really understood the need for addressing their declining statutory funding.The charity had a small donor base and only two fundraisers. But what the charity hadn\u2019t considered was its staff, all 2,000 of them.\r\n\r\nMany charities I talk to face this problem. They have a small, dedicated fundraising team but their wider organisation simply doesn\u2019t champion fundraising. Legacy fundraising is the perfect illustration of this. Legacies are all about \u201ca good chinwag\u201d, as one experienced fundraiser once told me.\r\n\r\nImagine if every charity armed all their staff with the knowledge, tools and confidence to have a conversation about gifts in Wills.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe had a legacy month and Remember A Charity Week helped us to create a lot of noise,\u201d says Dan Carter, individual giving manager for legacies at Marie Curie.\r\n\r\n\u201cInternally, we also promoted the theme, which included a \u2018Badge of Legends\u2019 that members of our community fundraising team wore with a handwritten legend of their own choice. This proved a fantastic way to start a conversation with the public.\u201d\r\n\r\nA similar approach was adopted by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. \u201cWe dedicated a whole month to promoting legacy giving,\u201d explains Michael Clark, legacy and in-memory manager. \u201cWe offered a free Will-writing service to our most loyal supporters, involving a direct mail to 6,000 individuals.\r\n\r\n\u201cAs 50% of our income comes from community fundraising, our community team were trained to promote the campaign.\u201d\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s rare to see a charity boss or board talking confidently about this fundraising stream. And equally unusual to see legacies put at the heart of a fundraising strategy, which too often focus on short-term goals at the expense of long-term change.\r\n\r\nBut there are reasons to be confident about the future of legacies. The market makes around \u00a32bn a year for good causes.\r\n\r\nRemember A Charity surveys show a disconnect between the 35% who say they\u2019d be happy to leave a charitable gift (once they\u2019ve taken care of loved ones) and the 7% who currently do it. If just a further 4% of the public were encouraged to include a charitable gift, it could generate an additional \u00a31 bn.\r\n\r\nRemember A Charity are also seeing a rise in competition within the market. More charities from more sectors are talking about legacies to their donors for the first time: arts, cultural and heritage organisations, hospices, hospitals, and universities. They are suddenly becoming a bit louder about legacies. Successful fundraising charities will be those who give their entire staff the tool, knowledge and confidence to talk about gifts in Wills.\r\n\r\nOxfam said it received a \u201csignificant\u201d increase in traffic to its legacy web page after promoting gifts in Wills in all 700 charity shops for the first time as part of Remember A Charity Week campaign last September. The legacy message went out \u201cboth to the people who are going into the shop and also to the volunteers who are working in the shop at the same time,\u201d explains fundraising director Tim Hunter.\r\n\r\nThe top 100 fundraising charities will undoubtedly look different in ten years\u2019 time. The charities that champion legacy giving across the organisation will be those that stand the best opportunity of rising to the top.\r\n\r\n Rob Cope, director at Remember A Charity\r\n\r\nArticle originally published in The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network.