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Legacy Advertising: Great Idea or Waste of Space?

I've been amazed at how many phone calls I've received over the last couple of weeks from advertisers offering me 'a great deal' and an 'unmissable opportunity' to advertise my charity in their esteemed publications and websites.

I'll be honest and say I'm a bit sceptical about advertising in solicitor's publications and on websites/magazines for the over 50's as I haven't seen any hard evidence that someone has chosen to leave a legacy because of an advert they'd seen in one of their brochures.

There are two main problems with this type of legacy advertising:

  1. So many other charities are advertising with these publications/websites that it is almost impossible to produce a compelling enough advert that will make someone want to give.
  2. Leaving a gift in your will to a charity is not done on a whim.  It is a deeply personal decision that reflects your values, beliefs and (possibly) a lifetime of giving and support to that organisation.

The money spent on advertising for legacies would be better invested on research to understand your donors and their motives for giving and then using this research to produce outstanding communications that would inspire them to want to leave a legacy to you.

This might be harder work, but I'm convinced it will be far more successful in the long run. 

I would love to hear if anyone has any success stories about advertising for legacies in this way.  I asked about this on Twitter and the responses I got from @parkeslife, @markyphillips and @derekhumphries suggested I am right to be sceptical...