Looks like one of the main legacies of Covid-19 is…well…Legacies

The Will of the people

So, in this edition of our Book of Covidence we thought we would focus on legacy fundraising as there have been several great pieces of advice and research published in recent weeks. 

First up, according to media reports in the UK, there’s been a surge in Will making – up 300% in some cases – since the onset of the crisis. Twice as many people are visiting Remember A Charity’s ‘Making A Will’ page. In our view, given the existential times we’re living through, it doesn’t really come as any surprise that donors who want to make a difference are doing so with legacy gifts and pledges.

Be prepared 

One impact of this development is that supporters will make enquiries to their favourite charities, so the advice is to make sure you are prepared and know how you plan to handle queries about Will-writing and what you can do to help supporters. This might include putting them in touch with reputable Will-writing partners and encouraging them to discuss their intentions with their family and friends.

More or less?

New research from Legacy Foresight talks about the potential impact of the Covid 19 crisis delaying the processing of Wills so in the immediate short term it is quite likely we will see a drop in legacy income this year which they currently estimate at 10% or less. However, over the next 5 years they are still projecting possible growth of 14%-19% which is less than they had projected before the crisis due to the far more pessimistic outlook for house prices and share prices over the period.

Short term In-Memory loss

In regards to In-Memory fundraising, the fact that funeral services are being restricted suggests that funeral giving to charities will be severely diminished, at least in the short-term. However, they think there may be a ‘delay effect’ – where people who have been unable to give their loved ones the send-off they’d have wanted at the time of their death, will wait until restrictions have lifted to organise the memorial event of their choice.

With the best Will in the world

Just before the lockdown, Remember a Charity published the results of their latest consumer tracker survey they commissioned from nfpSynergy that shows that record levels of charity donors say they have written a gift to charity into their Wills or are preparing to do so. The study reveals that 17% of charity supporters aged 40 and over have included a charity in their Will and a further 10% are preparing to do so. Annual tracking indicates a steady increase over the past decade, with 21% of donors in this age group saying that they have left, or intend to leave, a gift in their Will in 2010 rising to 27% in 2019. Only 9% of donors actively reject the concept of leaving a legacy, down from 12% in 2010. The number of people unaware of legacy giving has fallen from 20% in 2010 to 11% in 2019.

Be top of mind 

Whether or not you should continue to campaign for legacies at this time is something that every legacy fundraiser is grappling with over recent weeks. The overwhelming anecdotal evidence is that most charities are pausing their legacy campaigns. Moceanic has published a great blog that summarises a new ‘White Paper’ by Russell James and Michael Rosen called Legacy Fundraising: The Best of Times or the Worst of Times? It proposes a strategy to charities that now is the time to be top of mind with your donors and suggests numerous tactics for achieving this. It’s free and can be downloaded here.

Be seen, sensible and sensitive 

Institute of Fundraising UK is recommending that charities consider the timing of any pledger recruitment mailings scheduled over the next few weeks, as these could be deemed insensitive at the current time. However, they’re also recommending that charities should think about how any pledger stewardship communications and activity can be reimagined, so you can offer some contact to any pledgers who are self-isolating and would welcome the interaction, without it being obviously linked to their pledge.

Download our survey 

Finally, a reminder that Persuasion Republic produced a legacy survey last year, in association with My Legacy, that tracks legacy giving in Ireland. You can get a free copy here.

We hope you are all staying somewhat sane and physically healthy.
Be safe.
From John, Susan, Charlie and Alan and all the team at Persuasion Republic.



This week’s best tips, advice and insights

Hi Everyone. We hope you’re all coping, adapting, connecting and most of all – staying well.

Thanks for all your messages and reactions to our recent EDMs. And it’s really uplifting to see so many smart charities reacting quickly, being lithe, being strategic, and getting their appeals out. And most of all, being more connected to their donors than ever. It shows once again, what a bright, developed and responsive sector we are.

Continuing our series on sources of helpful advice to fortify ourselves as we navigate this unchartered storm, here is our next instalment.

Could this be fundraising’s finest hour?

SOFII has launched a new series: Fundraising in a time of crisis. Over the coming weeks they will share insightful new content, links to great assets and more to help you maximise your potential to do good in this trying time. Well worth monitoring.

5 Steps to Keep Your Fundraising Strong Through the Crisis.

Sean Triner presented with Moceanic a new webinar live on Facebook called COVID-19: 5 Steps to Keep Your Fundraising Strong Through the Crisis, to help you survive the crisis, how to avoid a fundraising catastrophe, key strategies for crisis and emergency campaigns – and how to recover lost events’ income. Moceanic have also put together a Cheatsheet for Navigating the Crisis.

Bluefrog’s Mark Philips in interview with Amber Nathan

The first feedback on a Bluefrog research study aimed at finding out what UK donors need from charities during the time of the Coronavirus crisis is out. It is still early days and they expect donor attitudes to further evolve over the coming weeks and will update us more.

Havas Media Guide to Navigating Covid

Our media partners and Adam Taylor and his team have produced a terrific guide to understanding the changing media landscape here in Ireland with their Guide to Navigating Covid

ZOOM to improve. Our tips for maximising Zoom 

What we have learned in generation Zoom. The world has now come to love and rely on video conferencing tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts. But as some people may be recent arrivals to Planet Zoom, we’ve compiled the best  tips just for you. Find them here.

While video conferencing is a great and essential asset at this time, please do be careful. As reported in the Irish Times, there is, as with all online activity, a constant need for vigilance when it comes to your data and privacy.

That’s all from us for now. Stay safe and be kind. 
From John, Susan, Charlie and Alan and all the team at Persuasion Republic.



Latest Research & Insights

What we are learning from these first few weeks of the Covid 19 crisis.

As people start to really try to get to terms with what’s happening in the sector and Working From Home, some very valuable lessons are being learned every day. And now the first wave of research since the crisis hit is being published and it’s great to have it. So we thought we’d share what we found most insightful.

Some good news

First up, a quick look at what commercial marketeers are finding from their consumer research (which includes our donors and supporters). The good news according to research from MCCP Dublin is that we are moving from shock to an adjustment phase and looking for the positives in the negatives. Consumers are re-evaluating what actually matters. We are using the time to connect, to learn and to unplug. We are checking our bills, focusing on essentials, deferring expenditure and showing more deliberate, conscious buying behaviour.

Impulse buying is gone and we are saving our money. We are also returning to 70s/80s hobbies. Knitting is back! MCCP’s clear advice to companies, especially the big brands, is that consumers need them to step up, be proactive and help out. They also need to move fast and that those in greatest need, need the greatest support. Companies that decide to stay in the shadows and fail to act will lose valuable brand equity.

We think this research is very helpful for corporate fundraisers to use as part of their pitch to corporate donors and prospects over the next 4-8 weeks.

A Pint of Plain Goodness

Here’s one example of a corporate stepping up. Earlier this week Guinness announced that it was creating a fund of €1.5m to support communities around the country that have been affected by Covid-19. Of this, €1.2m will go to support the thousands of bar staff who have lost their jobs, while the remaining €300,000 will go towards assisting vulnerable elderly people around the country through a partnership with the charity ALONE.

There is much work to be done

There were also three very interesting pieces of research from the not-for-profit sector (all three from the UK). About Loyalty have launched a Covid-19 tracker and found amongst other things that 30% of people say they intend to stop or reduce their donations, but older donors say they are going to stick with their current charities through Covid-19. So all is not lost, the majority of donors will continue to support you.

The Institute of Fundraising, National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Charity Finance Group ran a survey to assess the initial impact of coronavirus on the charity sector. On average, for those charities that re-forecast their income, they now expect to see a decrease in their voluntary income of 43%, and 31% of total income from the previous year. Here’s hoping those estimates don’t come to pass, as based on our ballpark estimate of voluntary income in Ireland that would result in a loss of €300-400m in a full year.

NfpSynergy ran a short omnibus survey and found some interesting insights, including that only half of the public (53%) consider charity information trustworthy – around the same as family and friends. By far the clearest thing that the public think would be helpful for charities to do is provide day to day support for at risk people (64%), followed by funding or carrying out medical research (41%) and providing volunteers at hospitals (40%). In times of crisis, the public are aware of the need for charities; this perhaps suggests that charitable giving is not likely to be first on the list of cutbacks.

There is one simple conclusion to be drawn from this research. Now, more than ever, charities need to engage with their donors in an honest, consistent and regular way.

Another useful piece of research is the 2into3 report Fundraising in a Time of Crisis: Lessons from History.

Stay Safe.
From John, Susan, Charlie and Alan and all the team at Persuasion Republic.



What an extraordinary week that was

Nearly all of us are now successfully working from home and things are already shaping up for what will be a really challenging period. For every organisation (including us), their strategic planning window is coming in 3-month phases and it is certainly the shortest timeframe we have ever seen in our 30 years of working in the Not-For-Profit Sector. In fact, for some people and organisations, they are having to look at just 30 days.

But it’s terrific to see the sector, like so many sections of society, upping their activity and staying focussed on those in need – your beneficiaries. Never has fundraising and advocacy been so important to keep services and supports working.  And never has the Irish public been so united in kindness and solidarity.

And, luckily for your fundraisers and advocates, never has the public been so gathered in one very reachable setting – home.

We speak to a lot of clients and stakeholders every week and in the past 7 days we were told about events and appeals being rescheduled, services having to adapt, refocus and in some cases close and many of you have started to develop Covid-focussed fundraising and advocacy appeals. Over the next 3-4 weeks, we will see a lot of frontline domestic and overseas aid organisations fundraising because of the devastating impact of Covid 19 on their beneficiaries.

The good news

On another positive note, as well as seeing organisations like yours being so active, it’s great to see the umbrella organisations such as The Wheel and CII advocating a strong voice to government to support the sector in a meaningful way. It is also inspiring to see the solidarity and advice-sharing amongst colleagues in the sector and with that in mind, we are keeping our eyes and ears open for the best advice possible to pass along. Here’s this week’s highlights:

The post will always be delivered

It is also heartening to see that our postal service is continuing as per normal. An Post are even launching this wonderful initiative to connect the nation with positive messages of support and to reinforce the key message that ‘the post will continue’. As it has done in Italy despite the incredible challenges they currently face.

Updates from Italy

Speaking of Italy, some of you will know that this agency has strong links to Italy and we are in constant contact with family and friends there, especially in Lombardy, the region most devastated by the virus. The one constant piece of advice we are being told is to take absolutely no risks – self-isolate, full stop. No ifs or buts. The virus is incredibly contagious and knows no boundaries of age or health status. So be really careful and be safe.

You should all be so proud that, like our frontline healthcare workers, you too are keeping the flag of action flying for people in greater need than ever. Thank you.

From John, Susan, Charlie and Alan and all the team at Persuasion Republic.