It’s Personal!

This is my third blog for 101fundraising and while other may prefer to write about theories of giving. I like to write more about technical things that, hopefully, can immediately help you.

In my previous blogs, I talked about “drip-drip” marketing for legacy fundraising and about organising a legacy event.  Now, I want to discuss how using a “personal touch” can help legacy fundraising

In Indonesia we have a phrase ‘Tak kenal maka tak sayang’— which means “if you don’t get to know people, it’s impossible for you to care for them.”  And with legacy fundraising, personalisation can be a VERY  important factor.

In the WWF Network, globally, we have 24 national offices that have a legacy program. However, there are still not many offices that dare to put a picture of their legacy manager on the website. Sometimes, not only do they not have a picture, but also there is no personal email address for people to contact!  If you don’t feel comfortable putting your own picture on the website, (which is understandable, but not advised) at least put your name and personal clickable email address. I don’t suggest putting a general email like: or

The reason why change is so difficult for offices trying to become “more person” varies from office to office. For bigger offices with high legacy income, they feel they simply won’t have time to handle the thousands of  legacy donors they may have. For smaller offices, they are afraid people will start calling them for personal advice.

In my experience, not all donors will give you a call (Relax! You won’t be popular just because your picture is on your website), and if they do give you a call, it means they are serious about leaving a legacy. Legacy donors like to be treated differently and they should be made to feel special. So, when they call you and make an effort to get information, then you just need to make sure you give  them a pleasant experience, accommodate their needs and listen to their story. Sometimes, really, they just want to chat to a real, live person.

WWF Netherlands has one of the biggest legacy incomes in the WWF Network and I think the key of this success because of their great legacy manager, who actively building relationship with her donors. Her picture is on the WWF Netherlands website if you want to get to know her. She talks with many of her donors, visiting them at their home regularly, inviting them to WWF events, having lunch with them once a year at legacy brunch in our office,  and listen to the donors’ stories via phone!  And guess what? Our donors love her! Surprise!  She builds trust and good relationship with her donors.

For example, I think it might be beneficial to try to send a mailing to your donors that is written and signed by the legacy manager and not the CEO. To make the donors feel they are important, the foreword on the legacy brochure or a thank you letter can still come from the CEO/Program Director.

There are many approaches to legacy fundraising but I think donors really like the personal touch and think its important factor. I personally prefer to talk about my personal life to someone who I can relate to (legacy manager) than to someone who is CEO or Director.  Do you agree? Or not?

Hope you enjoyed this blog.  I’m Juan Hendrawan and I’m “telling it like it is” from Zeist, Netherlands.

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