News and Press

The imapct of mailing the deceased on legacy donations

Research shows that legacy donations are up, but our study reveals that poor data hygiene could significantly impact this form of fundraising

Following the ICO’s ruling that many charities are contravening the Data Protection Act through their use of wealth screening, data appending and data matching; fundraising professionals were due a bit of good news. And here it is - in the form of a spike in legacy gifting. Over the past 12 months legacy donations have risen by 10 per cent amounting to £143million in additional bequests.

 The growth has been attributed to the higher death rate experienced in 2016 (see our earlier blog for further information) and a better-than-feared economic performance post Brexit.

On average 43 per cent of people intend to leave money for charities in their will; the most popular amount falling between the £100 and £499 mark; consequently legacy gifting is an important fundraising stream for charities. However, our research reveals that 66 per cent of people would stop all form of donations if a charity communicated (albeit accidentally) with a loved one who had passed away. The same study shows that 55 per cent of people have received some form of charity marketing in the name of a deceased friend or relative in the past year – consequently if 66 per percent  of the 55 per cent of people that have received marketing materials were to write the charity out of their will this could cost fundraisers £267 million in cancelled bequests. A figure not to be sniffed at.

To stop marketing to people that have passed away it is crucial to ensure that donor databases are screened against a deceased suppression file such as Mortascreen on a regular basis – at least on a per campaign basis. It will quite literally save millions. For more information please give one of our friendly team a call on 01274 538888