Voluntary Sector: PR boost for 'legacy giving'

Remember a Charity launches drive to change perception of charity donations in wills.

A group representing 160 charities is launching a major campaign to shed misconceptions that people who leave money to charities in their wills are either 'rich, mad or spiteful'.

Remember A Charity has brought in Good Relations to work on a major campaign kicking off in January.

The campaign will use social marketing tactics and will try to make 'legacy giving' a social norm.

Charities currently receive more than £1.8bn annually from donations left in wills, making it the single largest source of funding.

But as the credit crunch slashes the value of stocks and shares and house prices, the worth of legacy gifts has also plummeted.

The campaign will run for at least two years and is an attempt to increase the number of legacy givers from the current level of seven per cent. Good Relations has been brought in for an initial 12-month contract and will work closely alongside creative marketing agency Touch DDB (which was hired last month) and media planner BBVS to create an integrated campaign. Good Relations' account is believed to be worth an amount into six figures annually.

Remember A Charity also held initial meetings with Porter Novelli, but the agency said it decided not to pitch for the business.

'There is a perception that legacy giving is just for dotty old aunts who leave all their money to a cats' home, or for parents who have fallen out with their children,' said Good Relations director Ian Barber. 'It is seen as the preserve of the rich, mad or spiteful. We want to break down these misconceptions.'

The campaign will target over-45-year-olds through national broadcast, print and online media sources.

This campaign will be more targeted than a previous 'I will, will you?' drive fronted by Michael Burke. It will acknowledge that most people's first priority is leaving money to their family and friends, but will ask people to donate any leftovers to charity. It wants people to realise even a small amount can help.

'If you simply pressurise people to give money to charities when people have more important things on their minds you risk alienating them,' said Barber.

Barber reports to interim director Susanne Levy.

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