Webinar: using the telephone in your legacy programme

Thanks so much if you were one of the many attendees at the recent webinar on legacy marketing using the telephone organised by Guardian Angel – we hope you found it really useful!

We thought we’d do a quick follow up here with a link to the recorded webinar and also a summary of what was discussed, including some of the questions which came up during the one hour session.

So here goes!

Donor pyramid

The first part of the webinar focused on the basics of what makes a great telephone marketing campaign for legacy fundraising, and legacy expert Sanita Guddu talked about how to embed the telephone within the donor pyramid.

And if you are familiar with the pyramid, you’ll know that legacy is right at the top of it – it’s where you hope to get every donor. But as Sanita pointed out, this doesn’t mean you should leave the subject of legacy right until the very end of the donor journey; legacy is a slow burner of a fundraiser and is far more effective when integrated into all conversations.

So ideally, you will be using the telephone already with your supporters – with campaigns to welcome them to your charity, to secure Gift Aid, possibly to upgrade or to reactivate – so when they do get a call about leaving a legacy, they are not surprised – they already understand that this is how you communicate with supporters. And you shouldn’t be scared of talking to supporters over the phone about gifts in wills, but even less so if you’re already talking to them over the phone about other ways in which they can support you.

Key audiences

Sanita then talked about what she perceives as the 5 key audiences for legacy marketing – and if you’re watching the video you can pick this up at 7 minutes in. She started with donors, who you can segment as warm or cold (although bear in mind they may view themselves quite differently, and just because they haven’t donated for a while doesn’t necessarily make them a cold lead!) and you can introduce legacies as part of your ongoing communications to them.

Then legacy enquirers, the supporters who have indicated an interest and who you want to move along the journey, perhaps by offering them support in the form of printed information or free will services, which are great tools to removing any barriers.

Then consider volunteers and beneficiaries – key audiences for legacy discussions.

And finally those who have already pledged – you should be calling them annually to check in with them, to thank them, understand their motivations to improve your marketing to enquirer, to perhaps see whether their gifts are restricted in any way to aid your planning – and pledgers are usually more than happy to have these conversations and will feel a more valued supporter as a result.

Successes and pitfalls of telemarketing

The webinar then moved to QTS, and Ben talked about the successes and pitfalls of telemarketing – and you can join him talking at about 13:40 on the video. He supported Sanita’s comments about legacy tele-marketing campaigns being slow burners and how a telephone campaign is about engaging supporters, understanding their relationship with the charity and identifying where their interest and level of support lies. And through these calls, generally you find that about 3 – 5% of those contacted have already left a gift in their will to the charity – which is really essential information to you for supporter journey mapping.

Then 25 – 40% will be enquirers and interested in receiving more information – which is a cue for you to follow this interest up. And really surprisingly, even when calling supporters who have previously shown no interest in legacy (who you would class as refusals) when revisiting them some time later, a pledge response of 3 – 5% can be expected, which is incredible.

Data selections

Which shows you should never make assumptions when it comes to making your data selections! Ben encourages you to have an open mind, be creative and if unsure, then test small data selections and adjust accordingly. Ben is always keen to look at the data in the very early stages of campaign planning to ascertain the volume, those with consent, those that could be contacted via legitimate interest – and he always advises clients very carefully. But obviously what is crucial for the charity is to be thinking of ways to regularly collect phone numbers from supporters and obtain consent for telephone contact.

Ben also added that having a plan beyond the telephoning stage of the campaign is essential, because you are going to get some great leads – and you need to be ready to follow up, with touchpoints, more information, a will pack and consider further campaigns to monitor conversion.


Sanita and Ben than chatted about why the telephone produces the best ROI over any other channel – you can jump to this discussion at around 26:18 on the video. Key to this is the flexibility telephone offers – not just the ability to test and adapt – but that telephone conversations themselves are flexible and adaptable, and engage supporters on a different level to a DM piece or social media ad. Especially when led by experienced fundraisers who know how to tactfully and successfully navigate the subject.


If you want to hear some of the questions posed by attendees (and answers provided!) – these start at 33:34 – Q&A.

Ben and Sanita address:
– If charities want to work with a TM agency, what should they be asking/looking for as part of procurement process?
– What are the likely costs for a small campaign of 500 calls?
– Are TM campaigns amending scripts/approaching calls differently bearing in mind cost of living crisis?
– Where can I find ideas to build a script for in-house calling?
– Should we follow up legacy enquiries collected from years ago?
– How long does it take to set up a campaign start to finish?
– Any tips for an in-house team contacting pledgers?
– How do you ask someone if their gift is restricted in any way?
– What are your thoughts on legacy campaigns for cold audiences?
– Would you recommend a follow up call or a letter after the initial call – and how long after?
– How valuable is the free will offer when making calls?
– Does QTS offer training inhouse?!

If you have any feedback, please do let us know, and if you’d like more information on a telephone legacy fundraising campaign, we’d be delighted to help. Thanks again to Guardian Angel for inviting us to be part of this great discussion!

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