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2S films creativity for good
  • Sophie Cooke

6 tips for an effective legacy film

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Many charities rely on gifts in Wills to continue their work, making up to 50% of income for UK charities. In recent years, more charities have started to recognise the value of this unique giving and are upping their efforts in this area, reflecting predictions that this sector will continue to grow substantially over the next 5 years. Research suggests that 35% of over-40s in the UK would be willing to leave a gift to charity, but at present only 6% actually do. This presents a huge opportunity, given the pool of people who would be happy to leave a legacy gift, but have not done so yet.

Video has a proven track record to reach and engage audiences, and the pandemic has seen a dramatic digital shift, resulting in permanent changes in how people interact with charities, as well as improved digital literacy amongst older generations. Therefore charities should be thinking about how to use video to encourage more supporters to take this step, and normalise this process. Here we talk about important factors to consider when making a successful legacy film.

Send the right message

Legacy giving should be represented as a reflection and continuation of someone’s life, values and experiences, rather than the process of Will making and death. Essentially, people want to see part of themselves continue long into the future and how their gift will make a lasting difference after they’re gone. Therefore a legacy film should clearly point to the vision and demonstrate hope, impact and continuity in a way that resonates with the target audience.

This example by WWF focuses on a message of hope and how legacy gifts can continue to change the world’s outlook for generations to come.

Know your audience

Almost all legacy donors will in some way be involved with the charity, whether as a beneficiary, donor or volunteer. Therefore your legacy video needs to speak to your existing supporter base, and those with a true passion for your cause and the work you do. With such a personal decision at hand, a targeted approach is crucial to connect and align with your audience’s values.

Given the gap between those willing to include a charity bequest and those who do at present, it is important to engage younger adults who haven’t independently pursued a Will yet, as well as those ready to write or rewrite one. Therefore speaking to a wider age group, focusing on their shared values may help to bridge the gap. This video by Cancer Research UK is a fantastic example of a legacy film that speaks to and reflects a broad range of adults, uniting their common values and experiences.

Build a connection

Connectivity is a key factor in the charity bequest decision, and therefore building a strong emotional connection should be a key focus of your legacy video. This should drive your creative approach from start to finish, thinking about how the narrative, contributors, music and filming styles can help the audience to resonate with the message. A ‘family first’ approach is important to help mitigate the idea that a charity bequest would be taking away from what would otherwise go to loved ones. The two need to be aligned, i.e. the legacy gift where possible needs to be represented as something of value to family, their future and the world they live in.

Nostalgia can play an important part in stirring emotion and reminding the audience of their life experiences and purpose with relation to your charity’s work. It has also been proven to inspire optimism, prosocial behaviour and generosity. UNICEF offers a personalised service, using an individual’s childhood experiences to create a bespoke video, relating memories back to their charity’s work and journey, a great use of nostalgia to generate a truly personal response. Find out more here.

Make CTA easy

Obvious but important, a clear and simple call to action is needed to convert your engaged audience into Will donors. You need to make this step as accessible and easy as possible, especially for those who are taking this step for the first time. Many charities offer a Will-writing service, recognising the benefits of supporting individuals through this process.

Free Will Month also takes place in March and October, funded by participating charities. This is the perfect time and opportunity to drive legacy fundraising efforts.

Plan your platforms

TV continues to be the most trusted platform making it a great choice for a gift-in-Will ad. This said, growing digital literacy amongst older generations and increasing numbers of younger people thinking about Will-writing, continue to strengthen the potential of digital platforms. Therefore it is important to consider shorter edits, content styles, CTA methods and links for each platform for maximum engagement and a smooth user journey.

Here is a video by Dementia UK posted on their Instagram feed, which uses a totally different style to the legacy video on their website.

Using your video on a legacy page within your website, at events and in your email marketing are all great ways of maximising the value of your video and reaching your existing loyal supporters i.e. your targeted audience.

Do your groundwork, build relationships

At the end of the day, your organisation and your supporters share common values. That’s why they’re already onboard your mission. But understanding the big picture, really understanding the value of bequests long term, takes trust and time. Building genuine, trust-based relationships with individuals from your first interaction onwards and a strong, credible brand for your charity will lay important foundations for successful legacy fundraising.

Here is a DRTV legacy video we made for Macmillan Cancer Support in 2018. For this film, we built a concept around our target audience, considering the everyday moments and people that were important to them. The ad was a great success and succeeded acquisition targets.

If you are thinking about making a legacy film for your charity and would like some advice, please get in touch.

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