Asking donors to think about leaving legacies when they send one-off cash donations in response to direct mail campaigns can reduce the number of respondents to the appeal and lower the average gift, according to research by the fundraising agency Pareto Fundraising.
The agency sent an appeal to 45,000 people who had already made donations to an Australian charity, asking them for one-off cash donations to the same charity. It sent the same letter, with an added tick box for requesting information on legacy giving, to another 45,000 of its donors.
The appeal that did not include the legacy tick box raised about £20,300 more than the appeal that did. The average gift in response to the first pack was £29.11, compared with £27.64 for the second.
The first appeal had a response rate of 12.6 per cent, compared with 11.6 per cent for the appeal that included the legacy tick box.
Jonathon Grapsas, regional director for North America at Pareto Fundraising, said: "Separate communications about legacies are much more effective than peripheral efforts such as tick boxes on appeal response forms. These tend to be a distraction from the message."