Crusaid, the HIV/Aids charity, will mail out its first legacy marketing pack next week, in a bid to halt a sharp fall in its legacy income.
The mailing, which will be posted on 15 October, will invite 5,000 high-level donors to leave a legacy in their will and attend a face-to-face fundraising function in London.
Designed by communications agency Burnett Works, the mailshot will include a letter from Crusaid chairman Iain Renwick, along with three case studies of supporters who have pledged to leave a legacy to different aspects of the charity's work. The chairman's letter mentions that he has revised his will to include a legacy to Crusaid.
The case studies show how areas such as the charity's poverty and hardship fund, treatment research, or international projects have benefited from legacy funding. The pack reminds donors that they can choose which initiative to support and provides recipients with a fourth option - to leave the decision to Crusaid.
"Since the 1980s our legacy income has fallen dramatically," said Alison Heyes, head of fundraising and events at Crusaid. "We did well with it in our first years as a charity when people were seen to be dying with HIV/Aids. But since combination treatments began in the late 1990s, our legacy income has dropped to less than 1 per cent of our total income - it has averaged 16 per cent over the past 10 years."
Targeted donors will mainly be gay men in their 40s and 50s. They will receive a hand-written envelope with RSVP on it so they will immediately know it is some kind of invitation. It asks the charity's most committed givers to attend a thank-you evening at Liberty department store in London next February, where they can discuss the possibility of leaving a legacy.
"We haven't set any financial targets because of the sensitivity of legacies and the privacy surrounding people's wills," said Heyes. "But we hope several hundred donors will come to the reception and we will judge success from there."
Heyes said if the campaign was successful, she would roll it out to a wider donor base of supporters who have been on the Crusaid database for more than two years.
Crusaid's new red ribbon, designed last month, will feature on all campaign envelopes. It will be used in all future legacy marketing campaigns and may become the charity's symbol.