Encouraging Legacy Giving

What do Cancer Research, the RNLI and the National Trust benefit from where churches miss out? A lion's share in the £2billion legacy market.

In 2008 over 100,000 bequests were made in wills in a market that is worth £2billion a year. Yet, despite Christians having a very committed attitiude to giving during their lifetime this doesn't translate to our legacy and will giving.

Our campaign to encourage churches to take legacy giving seriously as part of their approach to Christian stewardship continues with Eleanor Gill, National Legacy and Funding Officer and solicitor Naomi Pinder leading a highly successful workshop on legacy giving last night.

Delegates heard two key challenges to be overcome with regard to legacy giving. Firstly, while 75% of Britons regularly give to charity in their lifetime only 7% incldue a gift in their will. Secondly, if they do it is highly unlikely that the gift will go to a church. The potential is huge and any increase will makea big impact on parish finances. Too big to leave to chance.

So we have to be more serious about the conversation.

Eleanor outlined to dlegates how legacies are a financial opportunity and a clear part of our Christian giving. Biblically we are called to be good godly stewards of the temporary resources that God places in our hands. It is good stewardship to write a will and make provision for those dearest to you. And as part of that legacy giving can be seen as an extension of the regular, proportionate giving we exercies in our Christian journey.

The workshop is not about encouraging churches to pester or unduly influence congregations. It is not about a direct ask. What was explored was how parishes could encourage congregations to think seriously about this - not just for the church but as part of their approach to making proper provisions for the future.

Delegates heard from St Peter's Formby who are looking seriously at a legacy strategy for their church and Naomi guided people through the legalities of making a will and the pitfall to avoid.

Finally delegates considered what they can do from here. A key priority is for PCC's to have a policy and strategy for dealing with legacies. A gift from the blue can cause more problems if PCCs haven't considered what they can be doing with that gift. How would a legacy benefit your church? And how do you open up that conversation with congregants in a sensitive, suitable manner.

As Eleanor reinforced, charitable legacies are no different to family legacies and we include in our family legacy those who have been the biggest part of our lives. So when a church family has been a big part of someone's life then we need to give them the opportunity to remember that in their gift.

Naomi Pinder talks about legacies here

Next week find out more in our interview with Eleanor Gill and look out in future weeks as we start to share the St Peter's Formby story.

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What you can do

 There are six practical steps you can take to encourage legacy giving.

Step 1: For advice check the CofE resources page and contact resources@liverpool.anglican.org
Step 2: Put it on the PCC Agenda
Step 3: Make and communicate a legacy policy
Step 4: Make leaflets available
Step 5: Customise your own leaflet
Step 6: Review