Promote tribute funds to attract more legacy donations, charities urged

A report from Legacy Foresight says tribute funds have a strong symbolic function for donors

(Photograph: Lesley Martin – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
(Photograph: Lesley Martin – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Charities should look to promote tribute funds in order to attract more legacy donations and help donors “cut through darkness and grief”, according to new research.

In a new report, In-memory Through the Pandemic, the legacy consortium Legacy Foresight says tribute funds are powerful tools that have healing power and strong symbolic function in encouraging memories of loved ones.

The legacy consortium studied how the crisis had affected 55 of its member charities’ in-memory income and activity since the start of April.

It found that tribute fund income had increased for more than a third of charities surveyed, with 38 per cent reporting an increase in the number of gifts.

The tribute funds, which it describes as regularly visited happy places of remembrance, “become repositories for myriad in-memory donations from a wide range of different sources, encouraging and incentivising targets with their high visibility”, Legacy Foresight said.

Kate Jenkinson, head of in-memory consultancy at Legacy Foresight, said “the deep-seated need to grieve for and honour those who have died” was greater than ever during the pandemic.

She said: “It’s so important to remember that the desire to honour a loved one who has died underlies so many types of charity support. Our research proves how important charities’ application of good stewardship is to their in-memory fundraising.

“We hope that this evidence will help make the case for greater, more thoughtful investment in in-memory fundraising throughout the sector.”

In addition to charity surveys, Legacy Foresight interviewed supporters, all of whom agreed in-memory fundraising “really matters”.

The report says: “Sometimes, fundraising was the only thing a bereaved person felt they had left and their primary way of ensuring their loved one would never be forgotten.”

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