Workshop: Case Study - Age Concern solicits legacy support

Francois Le Goff


Background: Age Concern England is undertaking a review of its legacy marketing strategy, testing new media and audiences. The charity is heavily dependent on legacy income and is seeking to develop closer relationships with solicitors, who are in a key position to advise people who wish to leave a legacy in support of a charitable cause.

In February, Age Concern launched Will to change, a magazine targeted at 15,000 solicitors in England and Wales. The move aimed to ensure that probate professionals were aware of the charity when advising their clients on drawing up or updating their wills. Aims Age Concern England launched a £30,000 campaign to promote the magazine and encourage solicitors to display it in their offices. The campaign's objective was also to obtain information on the legacy market, enabling the charity to refine its message and advertise its cause via the appropriate channels.

It was estimated that 25 per cent of those contacted would agree to place the magazine on their premises, and that 30 per cent would respond to a market research survey.

How it worked: The campaign proceeded in two stages. First, the charity sent out a direct-mail pack containing the magazine and the survey to the target audience in mid-February. Then, two weeks later, Age Concern began a telemarketing campaign to follow up the direct-mail packs, targeting those that had not returned the survey. The telephone was viewed as the most appropriate medium for allowing the charity to build a closer relationship with this audience.

Calls were managed by Personal Telephone Fundraising, an agency Age Concern had worked with in the past on legacy marketing initiatives. Operators asked recipients whether they remembered receiving the introductory mailing and whether their firm would stock and display the magazine.

Solicitors were then asked to fill out a questionnaire about the professional publications and charity reference directories they use most when updating their knowledge of charitable legacies.

The questionnaire also sought to establish key statistics on people's attitude towards legacy, such as the average age at which a will is first commissioned and whether people generally know which charity they wish to support before instructing a solicitor.

Results: The campaign exceeded its initial target. Some 35 per cent of the 3,000 probate solicitors who were contacted agreed to display Age Concern's magazine in their company's offices. The charity collected over 1,000 research questionnaires, equivalent to a 32 per cent response rate.

Shelagh Paterson, legacy marketing manager at Age Concern England, said: "The statistics gained from the survey highlight the potential benefits that Will to change could bring, both as a valuable resource for solicitors in promoting wills and generating business, and for promoting the work of Age Concern and the value of legacies to their work."

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