Why we need to ready ourselves for legacy growth
Despite the chaos that the world seems to be throwing at us, current predictions are that the legacy market will grow substantially over the coming decade.
Our research arm, Legacy Foresight has predicted a boom in legacy donations, amounting to over £40 billion in the coming years. That growth will have a phenomenal impact on the sector. Legacy donations will likely fund new charitable services across the sector and enable many charities to invest in their core, and budget for the future.
But we need to think long and hard about what this growth could mean at a practical level, whether the sector is ready for it and what needs to be done to prepare.
Equipping the sector for growth
It goes without saying that more legacies will need more legwork. This means more information about legacy giving from fundraisers, larger volumes of supporters to nurture, larger caseloads for legacy administrators, and more dialogue with probate teams, executors, solicitors and families.
Even at the largest national charities, fundraising and finance teams are at full stretch. If the sector doesn’t upscale or introduce more efficient systems or processes to accommodate such growth, will those teams be able to cope?
We need to acknowledge the risks of not anticipating change, of just keeping the status quo. At its simplest level, this might mean one charity missing out on a significant legacy donation to another simply because they couldn’t respond to a donor in time. It could of course mean the reputational risk that comes from lacking the resources or expertise to handle a legacy dispute sensitively. After all, last year once more saw a further increase in the volume of contentious estates. And then there’s the very real threat of staff dissatisfaction and burn-out.
Stress and heavy workloads make it all the more likely that actions will fall through the gaps, with staff feeling unsupported and leading to an environment of low morale, with too many good people wanting to move on.
The great resignation has seen a large turnover of fundraising staff since the pandemic. The challenge now is to reverse that trend. What can we do to bolster retention and retain legacy talent so that we can truly inspire legacy supporters? How can we make efficiencies in our working practices or better use of technology so that we are best geared up to look after them and manage their gifts well? And how can we keep bureaucracy to a minimum and ensure time is spent where it will have the biggest impact?