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In-memory giving: the biggest myths, busted

Ellie Adamo By Ellie Adamo

It might already be bringing in over £2bn a year (according to the recently published 2045 LegacyForesight report), but all the evidence suggests in-memory giving is still one of the sector’s biggest untapped fundraising opportunities.

One third of adults say they’ve given in-memory over the past 12 months – but while so many charities are reaping the benefits of legacy giving programmes, few are devoting resources to capitalising on the potential of in-mem.

We’ve been spending a lot of time unwrapping the mysteries of in-memory giving recently. And one thing has become abundantly clear: a lot of charities are making all the wrong assumptions about in-mem giving. With that in mind, here are our top four in-mem myths, busted…

Myth 1: Charities aren’t supposed to talk about death

It’s never an easy topic, but our legacy experience has shown us that, if you approach it in the right way, supporters will appreciate being given the opportunity to open up about their personal experiences.

In our experience, the key is equipping your staff with the tools to feel comfortable talking about in-memory giving.

Forward thinking charities could do worse than looking at ways charities have developed cross organisational advocacy programmes for legacy giving – like this one created for BHF earlier this year.

Myth 2: In-memory is just another way of donating

The message from the recently-published 2045 LegacyForesight report was clear: fundraisers need to start thinking of in-memory as a reason for giving to charity, rather than just another way of donating.

“It’s a significant motivation underpinning many donations,” the report revealed, “from the obvious (funeral collections and commemorative benches), to the invisible (setting up a direct debit to commemorate a parent, or running a marathon to raise funds for the cancer charity that helped a colleague.”

That means supporters already want to fundraise for you – the key is that you make it easier for them. That means building supporter journeys that reflect their motivations and needs, and using handy resources like our personalised fundraising film tool Social Pops.

Myth 3: Only medical charities can do in-mem

Of course, medical charities might be a perfect fit for in-mem fundraising. But that doesn’t mean others need to miss out.

We’re working with more and more charities on in-memory propositions – and our recent work for WWF is a great example of how, with strong insight, any cause can create a proposition that inspires supporters – and drives donations.

Myth 4: Unless you have immaculate data, steer clear of in-mem

We know that charities – large and small – can struggle with data, but that’s no reason to put your in-memory strategy on the back burner.

Rather than getting tied in knots creating hyper-personalised journeys, we’ve found that being upfront, and simply asking supporters whether they’ve left a gift in-memory is the most straightforward way of gaining insights into your audiences.

It’s also worth remembering that supporters are often looking for an outlet to share their story, so giving them the opportunity to do so can be a powerful way of strengthening your relationship with them.

Mind’s Memory Space is a great example of how tribute funds can be a powerful way, not just of generating income, but sharing stories, and building stronger supporter relationships.

Are you thinking of setting up an in-memory programme? Or have we missed a major myth off our list. Either way, we’d love to hear from you!

Ellie Adamo

Ellie Adamo

Account Director

Ellie embodies that covetable combination of razor-sharp strategic skill and an instinctive ability to connect and engage with people. She cut her teeth in commercial advertising, but moved to fundraising agencies when she found charities ignited her passion in a way that banks never would. We’re delighted to benefit from her considerable experience, read more about Ellie here.