Legacy Presentation for World WIZO Conference

Legacy Fundraising should be the most important part of any Federation's Fundraising work. 

January 2012

 Ruth Sotnick   WIZOuk






Legacy Fundraising should be the most important part of any Federation's Fundraising work.

Just one legacy can bring in more funds than all other Campaigns.

I know that many of you have geared up to obtain legacy income and have had success.

But some Federations may not yet pay enough attention to this source of income.

I believe that Federations who do not get any, or only receive a small amount of legacy income could increase this with a little understanding of the process needed

People are now used to talking openly about Wills and Bequests – something which was unheard of when we planned our first Campaign some 12 years ago.    It used to be in the same unmentionable category as talking about death;  mental illness;  single parents or cancer – thank goodness the world has changed and out thought processes have changed as well.


Sad though it may be death is the one unalterable fact of life and nowadays Wills and Bequests are an important fact in the finances of every charity.

I realize that each country's approach to legacies is different and must be adapted to suit their own culture.

A Legacy Campaign has to be carefully planned, researched and developed.

In the next few minutes I hope to show you just some of the things you have to consider when developing a  Legacy Campaign and some of the things we have learnt on the way.

Please bear in mind that in the UK legacies to charity are free of tax, your estate is only subject to tax after legacies to charities have been deducted.   The tax situation varies in every country and I suggest that potential donors are always advised to consult their own solicitor.

When should people think about making or reviewing a Will

Many people make a will at a particular point in their lives – it is vital to review your Will whenever there is a change in family circumstances, such as marriage;  birth of children or grandchildren;  divorce or bereavement.
• Change in personal/family circumstances
• Marriage/partnership
• Long distance travel
• Dangerous work or hobby
• New home/mortgage
• Financial/tax planning
• Children
• Divorce/Separation
• Protecting family or small business
• Inheritance/Windfall/lottery win
• Children leaving home/marriage/partnership
• Arrival of grandchildren
• Retirement
• Accident/illness / surgery
• Retirement/nuirsing home/sheltered accommodation
• Death of a loved one
• Charitable aspiration – Make a Will week
• Advertising and marketing

What motivates people to leave money to WIZO?

This is called Donor Motivators – just why should and why do people leave money to WIZO?

Amongst many motivators are:

• Reward and thank the charity
WIZO's caring face.  Have a personal link with WIZO, looked after by WIZO, use its services (discussion group;  book circle;  tour to Israel)  grateful for gift of friendship received and want to give something back to WIZO
• Feel good factor
This speaks for itself and should not be underestimated
• Personal experience and involvement
WIZO members – know what they are giving money to.  Realise that gift will make a difference, the money will go to where it is needed – children; elderly;  single parent families;  victims of domestic violence
• Sentiment
Most women leave legacies.  They are sympathetic and compassionate
• Admiration for Cause
Like WIZO and what it does – like and respect the people involved – like what it is doing – admire the caring side of WIZO
• Tax incentive
Can reduce inheritance tax payable on estate by making bequest to charity.  Check as every country has different regulations.
• No immediate family
Or family already adequately provided for;  donor may be single/widowed/childless
• Memorial
Powerful motivator.  Ideal way in which to remember someone you love in a tangible and lasting way
• Awareness campaign
See advertisements in WIZO magazine or Jewish newspaper
• The Israel Connection
WIZO projects all in Israel – the Holy Land.   Zionists with a close affinity to Israel -  many have family living in Israel.   Israel is the common bond which connects us all.

What is the profile of a typical legator?

• Female
• Elderly
• Single / widow living in retirement
• Could be cash poor/asset rich
• A member of WIZO ?  If not a member a supporter
• Charities may also include the wishes of a spouse of partner.

We in WIZO are in an incredibly positive position. It has been proved that people leave money to charities which they know about – with which they have developed a relationship over many years. We have a vast untapped potential in the thousands of our members spread all over the world – the majority of whom we have not asked to leave us a legacy in their Will.

We have immense donor loyalty – thousands of long standing members with intense loyalty and commitment to WIZO. Also have thousands of non-members who have come to events or supported us in the past.

All very well knowing these facts – how are we going to use them to our benefit?




In WIZO.uk some 10 years ago we launched a Legacy Campaign with WIZO Lifeliners…..we also started our Golden Age Club which has become very successful.

We started by writing to every WIZO member, inviting them to become a Lifeliner.

A Lifeliner is someone who has left WIZO a legacy in their Will and TELLS US THAT THEY HAVE DONE SO

We developed a Legacy Campaign with a leaflet explaining the various types of Legacy – we spoke about the future plans of WIZO and how much they could help us plan for this future and how much we needed their help.

Everyone likes to be thanked – before now this was not possible.
Before this the first time we would know that someone had left us a legacy would be after they died. We can not thank them in their lifetime for the gift they will give us when they die.

We do not ask how much they are proposing to leave us – but if they do tell us that it is likely to be a substantial sum it enables us to discuss with them how their gift will be used.

It is certainly beneficial to the donor and to WIZO to leave a percentage of their estate - rather than a set amount.

None of us knows how long we are going to live. The donor then does not have to be concerned if they are not able to honour their donation.

In many cases we do not know what the value of our estate will be and we may be in a position to leave more than we anticipated.

So I repeat we suggest people leave a percentage of their estate to WIZO in their Will.


We now have a list of several hundred people who have told us that they have left us a legacy in ther will and we have put the names of each one of our Lifeliners on a board at our flagship project – the **Rebecca Sieff Centre for the Family in Jerusalem. We have had 3 very special Lifeliner Tours to Israel – just for Lifeliners or potential Lifeliners – when we spent a wonderful week on holiday together, touring our projects and seeing the sights of Israel.

We have a special Lifeliner Pin which we give to each Lifeliner – we keep in touch with them at Rosh Hashanah
We have 'thank you' gatherings each year at the Israel Embassy and the House of Lords – in other words we try to make them feel special and valued in their lifetime.

At the same time and hand in hand with our Lifeliners Campaign we launched our Golden Age Club. This provides social activites for members of our older groups – or groups which are no longer able to be active. We have theatre and coach outings for our members and we celebrate Yom Tovim with special gatherings.

In this way we keep in touch with our older members – and acknowledge their loyalty and commitment to WIZO - some of them have been members for 60 years! They know that they are still important to us.

I strongly believe that it is the personal conctact which is all important.

Example of Legacies…………………………………

The moral is that it is important to speak with your family and your friends about WIZO and the work it does. You never know where this might lead.

The personal touch matters. Keep in contact with your donors – many of them may be old and lonely and they appreciate your time and thoughts. Many former members may not be so active in WIZO as they used to be – they are our ideal donors.
The personal touch is all important – we want our members to feel valued so that they in turn value WIZO.


Don't forget that legacy fundraising should not be morbid. It is life driven and only death activated.

Wills are written when a person is very much alive. Legacy fundraising should be joyful – the idea of leaving money and perpetuating something or someone should be exciting and stimulating and bring a 'feel good' factor to the donor.


My husband – who is a lawyer – always says that

Your Will is your last Love Letter
Many of our WIZO members have given to and received from WIZO a
Lifetime of love


Finally – ASK

If you do not ask – you do not receive

We may be apprehensive about asking and it is a sensitive subject, but if we do not ask other charities will do so!
It has also been proved that leaving a legacy to a charity does not stop the donor from supporting that charity in their lifetime.


It is the asking that is important – people give to people.

**We are not asking for ourselves – we are asking for the future of WIZO and those we care for