April 23, 2024

Legacy Strategy with St Barnabas Hospice

Stephen Follows
Written by
Stephen Follows

It’s time for another edition of ‘Client Conversations’ where we catch up with previous clients of ours, reflect on our past projects together, and glean insights from their perspective. On this occasion we have the pleasure of talking to Ellie Carter, a Fundraising Development Manager at St Barnabas Hospice, about how we worked together to create a flexible five year legacy strategy with accompanying materials. We delivered the strategy and materials in 2023, but continue to support the hospice through our ‘Test & Learn’ meetings as they implement their new legacy strategy.

So, Ellie, can you tell us a bit about where this all began, and what motivated you to start this project?

When I first joined the Income Generation team, we didn’t really have much of a legacy strategy. We would run some campaigns to coincide with the national free Will months, and people would come forward with enquiries and interest, but unfortunately we didn't have the materials or the resource of staff to deal with those. And even though we weren’t putting much work into it, legacy still made up nearly a third of our fundraised income. So we took a moment and thought, is there something we could do here? What would happen if we focused a bit more on legacy fundraising? And that’s when we reached out to Catsnake to see what options were out there, and really just to get some advice from specialists.

How did you settle on the objectives for this project?

It can be tricky to know what to focus on when you first start thinking about investing in legacy fundraising, but from the start we knew we wanted it to be a very collaborative process. Your team really got to know our hospice, talking to our fundraisers, directors and also clinicians, to understand the part we would all play in the legacy strategy, and what materials we would potentially need. Through this process we identified three areas where materials were needed:

  • acquisition,
  • stewardship, and
  • staff engagement.

Can you tell us a bit more about the materials?

Yes, so our public-facing assets for acquisition, like our Gifts in Wills guide, and our legacy webpage needed a refresh to reflect the new strategy. For stewarding current supporters and legacy enquirers, we went for a direct mail pack, stewardship letters, and a ‘small to big’ leaflet (my personal favourite), which is great to hand out at events. Then, for helping hospice staff to feel more comfortable talking about legacies, we wanted a presentation template to be used in workshops, and you also made a handy sticker to signpost staff in different situations related to legacies.

Direct Mail Pack - Uplift

Can you share a specific success story that highlights the impact of the new legacy strategy?

As part of our legacy strategy we introduced ‘Free Will Cafés’, which provide supporters, staff and patients with the chance to meet legal professionals and seek guidance, write a Will for free or at a really reduced price. The uptake for these sessions and the feedback we’ve received has been brilliant! Even though we already had an online free Will writing service on our website, we’ve noticed a large amount of our supporters were more comfortable and keen to have a face-to-face appointment with a legal professional, so it’s been great to facilitate that. The ‘Free Will Cafés’ have also allowed us to build stronger relationships with our pledgers, and our solicitors too, which we didn’t really think about before.

Source: St Barnabas Hospice

And were there any other unexpected benefits of the project?

A real unexpected benefit of the process was how it made us work so closely with our clinicians and wellbeing team. They are the people that are talking to our patients and supporters, so getting their advice and really involving them in the strategy and campaign development from the beginning is something that we've thoroughly enjoyed. And we hope to continue this with other campaigns that we do.

Have you noticed any changes in how staff talk about legacies?

Yes! Our Clinical teams are talking more and more about legacies and Wills, and it’s great to see. They‘re contacting our Legacy staff member more than ever, wanting to undertake more training, be more involved, and support with the legacy campaign where they can. The project has really helped to build cross-team working at St Barnabas and to raise the profile of legacies internally.


What advice would you give to other Hospices embarking on a new legacy campaign or strategy?

Firstly, ask as many questions as you can, being part of the hospice movement means that information is so willingly shared because there is no competition. Reach out to people who are actively advertising their legacy campaign, it’s always really helpful.

It’s also good to be realistic with your budget and decide what elements are a necessity. Some of the materials can be expensive, so to save on printing costs you could decide that you won’t do a full direct mail pack, and instead focus on digital materials and social media. It’s important to have these conversations early on and think about how you can save whilst still reaching and engaging your audience.

Thank you so much for sharing, Ellie.

Thank you for having me!

It’s always a pleasure to catch up with charities we’ve worked with. If your charity is thinking about developing their legacy strategy or creating some new assets, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch and ask any and all questions, we’d be so happy to help.

Find out more about our work with St Barnabas Hospice and the campaign in the case study.

Want more ‘Client Conversations’?

Then check out our previous article with the Amnesty International’s Emma Simpson, about our Adaptive Acquisition campaign.