The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Legacy Marketing

By Jono Smith

Graham Richards writes in from the UK to share a very successful legacy marketing idea he used when he was working for St. Gemma’s Hospice, the UK’s 4th largest hospice, which serves Leeds, a major city in West Yorkshire, England.

St. Gemma’s relies on gifts in Wills to bring in around 25% of their voluntary income and, as such, are very proactive in communicating the message about this form of giving.

Our ad agency, who give all their time for free, came up with a very simple idea, which any of your readers who have visited the UK might recognise. On buildings in towns and cities, you will see blue plaques, which commemorate a famous person. They tend to catch the eye of the passers by, as you don’t see that many around.

Our agency designed a fake blue plaque, just like the real ones, but with the message: “It isn’t just remarkable people who can leave a legacy”, “Help St. Gemma’s Hospice with a gift in your Will”.

We started off using A4 size posters, then we made some life-size laminated plaques, which were hung in the windows of our 15 charity shops. However, the most effective use of them was when we had two cast aluminium plaques made, which I then got permission to mount on buildings in the city centre (photo below).

This was 2 years ago and last year saw our biggest legacy income to date at around £1.8million (approx $3.5 million), which is pretty good for a local charity in a provincial city. I’ve recently moved on to a new charity, the Ear Trust, who support cochlear implants in deaf adults and kids, but will be starting my legacy messages
to a whole new audience!


Thanks, Graham!

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