Thames Hospice reached out to Flourish to help them relaunch their legacy marketing. They found out about us after a contact of theirs attended a charity marketing event and saw a best practice legacy case study presented by another of Flourish’ clients.
Whilst the charity receives legacies, marketing had been done on an ad-hoc basis and there was a limited legacy programme in place to help ensure a steady stream of gifts in Wills.
Thames Hospice provides palliative and end-of-life care for communities in East Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire. The charity does receive some government funding but relies on funding from the public to provide a significant proportion of its services.
The challenge Thames Hospice faced
Thames Hospice has benefitted from legacy income in the past and it is the biggest single course of income, however the level of income has not increased in 10 years. Patients include Thames Hospice in their Will and families of patients leave gifts as a way of thanking the charity for the care received.
Legacy income forms the backbone of the charitable funding Thames Hospice receives but it needs to grow in order to keep up with increased costs of running the hospice, which have doubled in the last six years. The charity has limited knowledge about how many supporters have included a gift in their Will or would be open to consider it. They needed a new and coherent approach to proactively attract new legacy supporters.
responses to the campaign
average value of a gift left in a Will
Why Thames Hospice chose Flourish
Thames Hospice chose Flourish first and foremost because of our legacy marketing experience, but a key element in their decision was our pragmatic approach.
During initial conversations it was clear that the charity had a limited budget, but also that the budget represented a significant investment for the charity. We made it clear that we understood the significance of the investment and that we would tailor our response to maximise it. That meant designing a strategy and response that would help them kickstart their legacy programme as cost-effectively as possible.
How Flourish responded
In order to maximise budget, we developed an approach that allowed Thames Hospice to both identify supporters who had already left a gift in their Will and build of pool of warm prospects that they could reach out to in the future with stewardship comms.
This consisted of a recruitment direct mail pack, a Will guide that would give supporters all the information about gifts in Wills they needed, and some supporting materials that could be used within the hospice to raise awareness of legacy gifts in a recessive and sympathetic way.
Legacy donations rely on people understanding the ‘why’ or cause (e.g., what Thames Hospice do and why, in turn, they should continue to be supported) as well as the ‘how’ (e.g., how do you go about leaving a GIW, is it difficult, how much does it cost etc.).
The brand had become lost within many other campaigns at the hospice and they wanted something that would stand out from the rest and stand the test of time, something that was definitively ‘theirs’, a platform that they could use to communicate the ‘why’ and the ‘how’.
Flourish started with the development of a bespoke legacy proposition: ‘Care to Remember’. The proposition had to be hard working appealing both to an internal audience (the staff that would ultimately need to broach the subject of gifts in Wills with patients and their families) and external, forming a hook between Thames Hospice as a charity, and what they stand for, and gifts in Wills. We landed on ‘Care to Remember’ which was then carried throughout the campaign assets.
Armed with Thames Hospice’s new legacy proposition, and internal audience on board, we were able to design recruitment comms to attract new legacy supporters. Driving action is at the heart of what Flourish does. Legacy marketing however poses a unique challenge – people can’t leave a legacy immediately. What they can do is ‘hand raise’ to say they are interested in leaving a legacy to Thames Hospice.
For the direct mail packs, the audience was made up of a mixture of supporters including cash donors, regular givers, events supporters (coffee mornings, bake off type events, fun runs etc) and in memory supporters. The pack focused on the story of two sisters whose father was cared for by Thames Hospice and as a result they had decided to leave a gift from his Will to support the incredible work that the Hospice does to help families when a loved one is in the final days of their lives.
The direct mail included a response device where recipients could let the charity know whether they had pledged a gift, were intending to, or were considering it. There was also an option to request more information in the form of a Will guide.
The Will guide provides all the necessary information for people who may have ‘hand-raised’ to show their interest in taking the next step and including a gift in their Will to Thames Hospice.
Flourish also provided some supporting assets, consisting of posters for the charity shops and the hospice itself (to ‘advertise’ gifts in Wills as a way to support) and an email footer for all staff to include in their emails, showcasing gifts in Wills internally too – it’s important staff of a charity feel comfortable talking about gifts in Wills due to the huge untapped potential they provide.
Income from gifts in Wills is such an important income stream for us but we haven’t given it the time and resource it deserves to ensure future growth. Working with Flourish we’ve now given it a brand of its own which we should be able to use for a few years to build up understanding within our supporters and staff and hopefully see income grow over the next few years.
Flourish are great to work with. Understanding and patient with our many questions, great at seeing a vision and transforming that into something that fit our brand and being flexible when we thought of things last minute. They have built a great relationship with many of us at the Hospice, and our lovely case study family. We will continue to work with them in the future.
So far, the recruitment direct mail has received 28 replies and the response device has allowed us to understand where individuals where in their legacy journey.
12 new pledgers
6 new enquirers
With the Will guide we were able to provide more information to help enquirers and considerers become intenders. We were also able to identify intenders and pledgers that the charity could then follow up with ‘stewardship’ comms – yearly reviews, invitations to VIP events etc.
With the average legacy gift being £20,000, the numbers above represent a huge potential income for Thames Hospice in years to come. It also allows the charity to feel stability in their income forecast, and plan new investment in services with greater confidence.
Jane from Thames hospice said:
“Income from gifts in Wills is such an important income stream for us but we haven’t given it the time and resource it deserves to ensure future growth. Working with Flourish we’ve now given it a brand of its own which we should be able to use for a few years to build up understanding within our supporters and staff and hopefully see income grow over the next few years.
Flourish are great to work with. Understanding and patient with our many questions, great at seeing a vision and transforming that into something that fit our brand and being flexible when we thought of things last minute. They have built a great relationship with many of us at the Hospice, and our lovely case study family. We will continue to work with them in the future.”
To find out more about how Flourish could help your organisation raise more funds from legacy marketing, or help to optimise your existing legacy programme, get in touch to request more information about our services and for an informal chat.