What to say to your colleagues and supporters and when?

first steps – draft email – the inner circle

Internal engagement is a key initial step in any campaign.  With potentially sensitive topics like wills it’s even more important.

Getting a free wills campaign running is a great achievement. Ensuring your colleagues know about it is a cornerstone to success. Let your colleagues, trustees and volunteers know about it. You never know where a supporter’s initial point of contact about wills is going to be.

A first step in integrating your message is to let your colleagues know about the campaign. If you’re stuck for ideas feel free to use the template below:

Title: Our next chapter: Gifts in Wills


Dear [NAME]

Gifts in wills are vital for securing a sustainable future for the charity. We have launched a campaign to help our supporters make a will when they want to leave us a gift.

Research shows that 40% of charity supporters would like to leave a gift in their will. Only 8% of wills last year contained a gift though. We want to make it easy for our supporters to make a will.

We have teamed up with Make a Will Online to make it as simple as possible for supporters to turn their intention into a reality.

See our website [insert URL].  Let me know what you think.

If a supporter ever asks you can help them by pointing them there or by putting them in touch with me.


Total gifted in wills to charities each year £3bn People in England and Wales without a will 68%

wider circles – draft email – gather stories

People don’t make wills often.  In fact – 2/3 of adults don’t have a will at all!  If there’s no will there will definitely not be a gift to charity.  Rules of Intestacy are limited to close family or the Crown.

With a free wills campaign it’s easier than ever for supporters to make a will. But what will spur your supporters to action?

Stories of your successes and aspirations can inspire. Another thing you can do is share stories of people who have pledged a gift in their will.  A supporter’s legacy event is a good place for this.  At the outset of your campaign you may have to be more directive.  Why not ask the trustees or other highly engaged poeple whether they’ve left a gift in their will?

You can try working with an email like this:

Title: Seeking your stories


Dear [NAME]

As you know we’ve launched a gifts in wills campaign. This will create a sustainable future for the charity.

Before we cast the net out to supporters we are seeking the stories and motivations of people who have left a gift in their will.

You are someone closest to our charity.  I was wondering whether you (or someone you know) have made a pledge in your will.

If yes, a story of the motivations behind the gift would be extremely valuable for us.  Please (please) do share it.  It can be anonymous or the story could be a keytone Supporter Champion story of ours.

If you want to chat about this privately please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


integrate and percolate

Agree messages

Once you’ve spoken with your colleagues you can agree on your messages. Look forward: say what gifts in wills would enable. Look backwards: say how they’ve helped in the past. Finally – agree the headline for your campaign.

Integrate – a little & often

Get the message to your supporters in a low key manner frequently and for a sustained period.  A supporter may make only a single will in a whole lifetime. If you have one big event, the chances are slim that of the stars aligning. That single moment is unlikely to be the one when your supporter wants to make their will.

Get something into each communication. Put a note in every newsletter. Say something in the Annual Report.  Mention it at the AGM and invites to the AGM.  Have a banner at events. Say something on a weekly or monthly basis to your followers on social media.

Over 30% of your supporters may want to leave a gift in their will but never get around to it. They would regret that and the charity will miss out.


Your campaign is a live thing. Make sure that it grows and evolves with the world around you.  Come to our training. Read our blogs and emails. Tailor your messages as you learn more about your supporters.

How’s this for a back of napkin calculation:

A supporter may make a will every 20 years (not uncommon). Say: 30% of your supporters want to leave a gift in their will but haven’t done so yet (also not uncommon). A typical gift in a will could be £20,000 (average gift in 2019 was higher – around £25k).

A successful campaign could see 1% to 5% of your supporters who want to leave a gift take the step of making the will each year. If you have 1000 supporters that would be 10 to 50 wills a year.

That would be between 10 to 50 gifts of £20,000 per year.

Well done for getting started.  We’ll be with you along every step of the way.

Trusted since 2008

Unlike other online will services, every single will produced on our website is checked by a fully qualified UK solicitor. We are allowed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to provide will-writing services.

We are members of the Society of Will Writers, and follow their code of conduct. This ensures protection for our customers and your donors.

We make 1000s of wills every year and have excellent customer feedback.

More about:

Gifts in wills fundraising online

Online fundraising ethics

Online gifts in wills: how to

Compliance with the Fundraising Regulator

Five things to do before you start your gifts in wills campaign