NEWSMAKER: The 'Kate Winslet' of fundraising - Theresa Dauncey, Director, Legacy Promotion Campaign


When you've kitted Kate Moss out in a Fashion Targets Breast Cancer T-shirt, persuading 70 year olds to donate after their death may not seem the sexiest job in the voluntary sector.

But if Theresa Dauncey succeeds in her latest role, as director of the Legacy Promotion Campaign (LPC), it will mean a potential £180 million more each year to the voluntary sector. Her goal is to shift the percentage of wills that include charitable bequests from 13 per cent to 15 per cent,

Despite its unglamorous image, legacy fundraising is one of the most cost-effective forms of raising money, with some charities reporting a return of £45 for every £1 spent on marketing. Legacies contribute £1.4 billion to the voluntary sector in England and Wales. Six out of 10 lifeboat launches are made possible thanks to legacies. You get the picture.

The problem is that the percentage of charitable bequests has remained static for 10 years. To put it bluntly, fewer people are dying each year, sparking fears that the 13 per cent figure may drop.

As the LPC's only employee (when Third Sector interviewed her she was in the middle of writing a job ad for a marketing officer), its Dauncey's job to turn the figure around. The task is two-fold: the first element is to rally the LPC's members, which at present stands at 80 charities, including such names as Barnardo's, Oxfam, RSPCA and Save the Children.

Members pay a campaign fee related to their voluntary income band, with those with incomes of just £500,000 paying £1,250 and charities in the £50 million bracket coughing up £40,000 a year.

"The aim is to make the legacy pie bigger,

explains Dauncey. "The more charities that run individual legacy marketing campaigns, the smaller each one's portion of this 13 per cent will become, so the more organisations that sign up with us, the merrier."

The second part of Dauncey's brief is to oversee marketing for the LPC - a spin off of the Government-backed Giving Campaign,which will initially target the ABC1 group aged 55 to 70 years old, but may later talk to a younger audience.

Last week, she appointed marketing agency Target Direct to take charge of a £2 million campaign that kicks off in October. The media schedule may include press, radio and possibly TV advertising.

Dauncey learned the direct marketing ropes at her former employer, the 3,000-strong RNIB, which is a big user of the medium, along with gaining trust and corporate fundraising skills.

Lobbying the Government over possible future tax incentives and getting financial advisers and solicitors on side will also be crucial. "Solicitors are a key group,

explains Dauncey. "Only one in four ask their customers if they want to include a charitable donation in their wills. If we succeed in doubling this, we could hit our target."

Research shows that people like the idea of including legacies in their wills but just "don't get around to it", which proves that the campaign is not starting from zero. However, Dauncey acknowledges it won't be easy to tackle such an "emotional

and "taboo


Still, she's got the credentials to make it happen. Dauncey is probably best-known for launching Breakthrough Breast Cancer's now legendary Fashion Targets Breast Cancer - a campaign that took breast cancer fundraising away from village fetes and on to the pages of Vogue and the chests of 18-year-old women.

She joined Breakthrough in September 1995 as events manager and the campaign went live the following February. In between were five frantic months of persuading high street retailers to stock the T-shirt and the likes of Moss and Yasmin Le Bon to pout for the cause.

The Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign, which is now in its fourth year, raised £1 million in its first year, and £1.5 million the next.

The hard work did not go unnoticed. Dauncey's Fashion Targets Breast Cancer team walked off with five Institute of Charity Fundraising Managers (ICFM) awards in 1998, and Dauncey herself scooped the top prize of ICFM Fundraiser of the Year.

The north Londoner is typically modest about the award, stating that she was "completely stunned

to get it but her former boss, Breakthrough Breast Cancer chief executive Delyth Morgan, tells it like it was.

"We called her 'the Kate Winslet of fundraising' because she cleaned up at the Oscars',

recalls Morgan. "We decided not to enter the ICFM awards after that because we could never manage to match it."

Morgan comments on Dauncey's attributes: "Theresa is creative and driven and if you put those two characteristics together, you've got a good fundraiser. She also studied law at college, which was useful when dealing with legislation; it's an interesting mix of skills."

Dauncey repays the compliment by saying: "Being a good fundraiser is not all about research and good organisational skills but going with your gut feeling. This is only possible if you've got a chief executive and board of trustees who are prepared to let you take a risk and are proactive, like I had. It won't work if they just turn up for meetings."

The LPC won't know if Dauncey's fundraising and marketing skills have again produced the goods for some time. Broaching the subject of leaving gifts in your will just isn't the same as flogging T-shirts. "That's the thing with legacies,

she says with a raise of the eyebrow. "You have to wait a while for your money."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus