Recognising our forward thinking work

17 May 2016

Last month, I was pleased to have been awarded the Legacy10 award for excellence 2015. I have loved working in this still quite niche fundraising area, for a brilliant forward thinking charity, and sitting on the Council for the Remember A Charity campaign and Institute of Fundraising group.

Legacy10 is an independent campaign that aims to both change people’s attitudes to giving in their Will, as well as highlighting the taxation benefits of gifts to charity. Our work, including collaboration with the Remember A Charity campaign, and promoting gifts in Wills has been recognised by this prestigious award.

The ‘D word’

As a nation, we don’t like to talk about death. It provokes fear, brings back memories of loved ones we’ve already lost and concern for those we’ll leave behind. But, like taxation, it comes to us all.

Many consider being a legacy fundraiser as all about death, though in practice it’s about financial management, providing for those you love, and ensuring your affairs are in order. In this sense I consider it no different to getting a mortgage or signing up to a pension scheme.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust had shone away in its first decades from promoting the importance of leaving a gift in your Will to them. How could we speak about Wills within a cause where life expectancy, whilst increasing, still meant a life shortening condition?

But we knew whilst our generous supporters did include gifts, as they made up around 10% of our income, that many other national health charities were receiving around a third of their income from legacies. Many added this as a means of support in addition to community fundraising, regular giving, or responding to appeals.

Bold and ambitious plans

So we changed: we needed to. Because the legacy income we miss out on will help us develop our fight for a life unlimited by those affected by the condition. Our supporters, central to our campaigns and our success, came with us, for which we are grateful. So did our staff across the organisation, in helping to promote the ease and importance of writing a will.

We provided our first national free Wills campaign in September 2014, to help our supporters make the process easier, to promote the importance of gifts to the Trust as well as ensuring that they had provided adequately for their family and friends.

It’s thanks to our supporters that our free Wills offering has allowed not only over 130 of them to write a Will for free using a local solicitor, but has secured for us over 100 new pledges. We have bold and ambitious plans for the future – and gifts in Wills help us know we will be around to continue fighting for the generations with the condition that follow.

Saying thank you

Our collaboration with Remember A Charity shows we are serious about telling supporters the difference they can make through this form of giving, using insightful and innovative campaigns, which are fun for people to be involved with whilst incorporating important messages.

We know as a charity that relies heavily on fantastic support through community fundraising and challenge events to fund half our work, that this is a key place for us to include information on this form of giving.

I personally would like to thank all of our supporters who have welcomed me to the events and fundraising that they are taking part in, and their branch meetings, for listening to our plans for the future and understanding how important gifts in Wills are to help us beat cystic fibrosis for good.

Find out more about the Cystic Fibrosis Trust

Michael Clark, Legacy and In-memory Manager at Cystic Fibrosis Trust