Measuring success in legacy giving: key metrics

How do you measure success in legacy giving? The information here sets out communications objectives which are based on the legacy donor journey as explained in the rest of the document. A Word version is also included on this page.

The legacy donor journey and your role

The information below will help you to plan your communications strategy for legacy giving.

  • Awareness – you sow a seed (not asking, just telling them about others who leave gifts). Do this through every channel: newsletters, website, social media; email signatures.
  • Consideration – you give the case for support: show them the difference it can make – you need to understand the motivations of your supporters. This is your ‘legacy proposition’ or ‘legacy vision’.
  • Action – help prompt people to make or update their will: they might want to make a will in person, over the phone or online – give them a range of choices and support them to access those options.

Then steward and maintain the relationship – ensure you stay in their will, encourage them to increase their gift perhaps.

If you’re just starting out with a legacy giving campaign, focus on awareness raising rather than the case for support which will come later. If you have a very warm, receptive audience whom you already have relationships with such as volunteers or long-time supporters, you may not spend as long on awareness and move to the case for support sooner. However, every donor will need to go through all the stages of change and you need to recognise your role at each stage of the journey.

Be sure to measure how successful your campaign is by using some of the metrics suggested below.

Communications objective 1: Raise awareness
Key performance indicator: Volume of communication
Metrics:
  • Number of visits to legacy website pages
  • Reach / engagement in social media on legacy giving
  • Number of articles on legacy giving
  • Number of people receiving legacy mailing
  • Number of face to face conversations about legacy giving
Communications objective 2: Encourage consideration
Key performance indicator: Expression of interest
Metrics:
  • Number of requests for legacy information
  • Number of people in attendance at legacy event
  • Number of hand raisers ‘considering’
Communications objective 3: Prompt action
Key performance indicator: Number of gifts
Metrics:
  • Number of pledges
  • Number of completed wills
  • Number of people in legacy club
Stages of legacy change in individuals
  • Pre-contemplation – Not ready (“I never thought about it”).
  • Contemplation – Getting ready (“I’m not sure – I might consider it”).
  • Preparation – Ready (“I’m intending to do it”).
  • Action – Doing it. This is driven by life stages. People only make wills/update them after big life events, e.g. marriage, children, buying a house – that’s why it’s important to drip feed the message because you don’t know when people are going to act on making or updating a will.
  • Maintenance – Still doing it or doing it even more. Even after they’ve acted they need to maintain their decision – they might change their will and remove their gift or lower the amount. A gift needs to stay in the will when updated and maybe even increase.
Communications plan

Consider each of your objectives under the following 6 headings to create your communications plan.

Raise awareness
  1. Target audience:
  2. Key message:
  3. Channels:
  4. Volume:
  5. Resources/cost:
  6. Priority:
Expression of interest
  1. Target audience:
  2. Key message:
  3. Channels:
  4. Volume:
  5. Resources/cost:
  6. Priority:
Prompt action
  1. Target audience:
  2. Key message:
  3. Channels:
  4. Volume:
  5. Resources/cost:
  6. Priority:
Steward relationship
  1. Target audience:
  2. Key message:
  3. Channels:
  4. Volume:
  5. Resources/cost:
  6. Priority:
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