It’s neither a secret nor an exaggeration to suggest that National and local charities often rely on the support of their fans or enthusiasts over long periods of time. Whilst a single or one-off donation is welcomed and considered to be a marvellous thing, a long term commitment from a supporter is akin to a friend for life and is often the “bread and butter” for a charitable organisation.
This support might often come in the form of regular donations, via a direct debit or standing order arrangement, or through participation in regular events such as raffles or lotteries. However, many charities are now encouraging their supporters to remember them at the end of their lives and as such there are a variety of new jobs emerging in charities which address this.
Because donations to charity which are left as part of a Will are free of inheritance tax, people often feel that they would rather their favourite charity received money over the tax man and as a result this is becoming a more common practice where people will either leave a donation of a set amount or a share of their entire estate.
Because this is now becoming so common, many larger charities have a legacies officer in place and it is the job of this person to ensure that every legacy received is done so properly and according to the law. They will need to be aware of all the legalities surrounding estates, inheritance tax and Wills and their main responsibilities will be to have contact with the solicitors or the executors who are dealing with the affairs of the person who has passed away and collect the donation once all the relevant legal affairs have been wound up.
Because of the popularity of this method of donating money, many charities organise events to encourage their supporters to donate in this way. The role of an event organiser may include laying on special “Will Weeks” where supporters can go to a solicitor to draw up a Will for free (the charity may or may not fund the solicitors fee) and leave a legacy in this way or on-going events where the charity and the relevant legal firm will support each other throughout a whole year with the charity sending their supporters to the firm in question and the firm recommending and advertising the charity in return.
The above two roles deal mainly with the solicitors who enforce or assist in the drawing up of Will and making the necessary arrangements, but none of the above can happen if the supporters do not know about this way of donating. For this reason, many charities employ talented telesales and telemarketing people to contact their supporters (warm calling) and the general public (cold calling) to spread the word and encourage the participation of the public in remembering the charity in their Will or their final arrangements. It goes without saying that for this role, you will need to be persuasive, friendly and have a great telephone manner.
Mick Philpott writes articles on Third Sector issues.