Reflecting diversity in legacy communications and beyond

Legacy giving is a significant source of income for British charities, generating over £3bn a year for good causes.  As legacy fundraisers, many of our assumptions, strategies and messages have an implicitly white-centric focus and consequently ‘white ideology’ filters into the creative process. However, today’s society is very multi-cultural, and it’s set to become more so. Moreover, inclusivity breeds inclusivity and more vibrancy for human flourishing. How well do our current legacy materials and strategies reflect the rich diversity of British society? Do our legacy communications perpetuate stereotypes? What more needs to be done – and where do we start?

This session will share the findings of a study of legacy brochures from the top 100 British legacy charities; assessing how they depict donors, beneficiaries and service delivery teams, and in particular comparing how ‘bame’ and white people are represented within those materials.  The study explored not only the imagery used, but the stories surrounding those images, and ultimately, what the combination of word and image might suggest about representation in today’s fundraising environment.The session will be led by Dr Haseeb Shabbir, Reader in Marketing at Huddersfield Business School, and Dr Claire Routley, Head of Gifts in Wills Consultancy at Legacy Voice. After a 30 minute presentation, Haseeb and Claire will open up the discussion on what the findings mean; not only for legacy fundraising teams, but for fundraising more widely.

The session will give attendees a critical lens to apply to their own marketing materials, whether on legacies or beyond. Just how representative are your images, words and stories of the diverse stakeholders you work with? Just how inclusive are your images? What do the implicit, often subtle messages say about your organisation’s approach to commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity? What can you do to remedy the status quo? And how do you set about doing it?

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Reflecting diversity


Dr Claire Routley, Legacy Voice and Dr Haseeb Shabbir, Senior Lecturer, University of Hull