2 June 2014back

Creative Internships Blog Week 31

Lauren Webb, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Well, it turns out the second half of the internship is flying by just as quickly as the first! Since my last blog I have been super busy, just in the last couple of weeks I have submitted a trust application and an initial corporate proposal, presenting our case for an in-kind sponsorship.
I am going to take this blog on a little detour, but trust me, it is relevant and will make sense in a few paragraphs. For the past three years I have been involved in running a community youth club for ages 10-18 on Council Housing estates in Cardiff and, interestingly, this has keenly informed my views of legacy donation. Volunteering in the team of five, every Friday evening I have been responsible for organising and running the club’s activities alongside my colleagues, providing an enjoyable environment and a reliable escape from home and school week after week. Through this work I have also become aware of the worrying reality that young people are not growing up with a healthy awareness and openness to regular charity giving. If community fundraising could be undertaken with an education aspect in mind, focussing on teaching a culture of charity work and donation, then this would be a very interesting undertaking with the great potential for sponsorship in itself. 

Our youth group numbers are currently higher than ever and I feel an important part of this success is remembering that the young people’s enjoyment is the most important element. This must be regardless of how my day has been or the pressures I am under, providing a positive environment from which they can expect consistency, both from us as leaders and the evening as a whole. Consistency and openness are essential in building relationships of trust.
I am currently developing our legacy strategy at the College and have found that, similar to youth work, it is crucial to gain a donor’s trust and recognise the importance of their enjoyment and their own life experiences, identifying how these relate to the charity’s ambitions. To build a donor’s enthusiasm and secure their trust in this way, it is essential for a charity’s message to be consistent, ensuring that a donor can be confident in that charity’s work. Donors should be reassured that their gift can be reflective of what they care about in life, and this is even more fundamental when that gift is a legacy.
It has been fascinating to learn how The Legacy Foresight research programme estimates that, by the middle of this century, legacy income in real terms will be worth £5.3bn, against £1.9bn today. This is due to the baby boomers, the post Second World War generation that stands out for its wealth and numbers, dying in upcoming decades. However, as our younger generations get older, it is questioned whether the value of giving to charity is something that has really been taught? After speaking to a will advisor at a local law firm, it is clear to me that very few people consider leaving money to charity anymore. There is also the issue that 35% of people in the UK say they'd happily leave a gift in their will, but only 7% actually do. Dr. Russell James’ research into Legacy Science clearly demonstrates that “the decision to make annual gifts and legacy gifts used very different parts of the brain. The decision to leave a legacy gift was connected to the same part of the brain we use to think about our own life story” and that “to motivate donors to leave legacy gifts, we must connect their life stories with our charity’s mission, vision and values”.
To combat legacy giving no longer being a social norm in the UK, Remember A Charity has created a consortium with over 140 registered charities. Together they promote that, if legacy income can be grown by just 4%, we could raise an extra £1 billion for UK charities. These charities offer services that support some of the most vulnerable people in society and yet, as the Charities Aid Foundation reports, the over-60s are now more than six times more generous than the under-30s, compared to being less than three times more generous thirty years ago.
One day I would love to fundraise for a community educational project that encourages an ethos of regular charitable giving. I recently read a different blog on how new generations can be lovingly taught to be philanthropists, I hope you find it as interesting as I did: http://lnspencer.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/the-importance-of-philanthropy

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