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Marlin Communications - digital strategy

A Gifts in Wills Conversation with Cherie Hansell

Include a Charity Week (IAC) runs from 5-11 September 2022 and is a campaign run by Fundraising Institute of Australia to promote and elevate the work of over 100 charities across Australia. By working together we can change charitable giving forever and make Gifts in WiIls (GIW) the norm, allowing more Australians to make an impact after they’ve gone.

Marlin spoke to four trailblazers in the GIW space to gather their experience and insights. Tune in throughout the week to hear from each. First up is Cherie Hansell, Key Relationship Manager from the Wilderness Society Australia.

What gets you up every day and energised about working in gifts in wills?

Knowing that each day our organisation is working at its best due to the passion and commitment of many bequestors in the past. Thanks to them, we are able to continue our work and honour their legacy. My work ensures that the cycle continues into the future.

What has surprised you about working in this space?

How many bequests come through that are anonymous! I respect that many people wish to remain private, but I wish we could have made them feel honoured and appreciated.

What’s the most challenging aspect of gifts in wills?

Managing expectations on the short term vs long-term strategy, and obtaining an adequate budget for ongoing work (since the reward doesn’t come through for many years to come.)

What are your top three tips for how to look after a bequest donor?

  • Handwrite thank you’s often, through as many touch points as you can, like birthday cards, and anniversary cards, and call often (expect long conversations).
  • Always show appreciation and when asking for further gifts, (make sure to acknowledge their long-term commitment).
  • Make face-to-face visits. We all love sharing a cup of tea when possible!

Is there a charity (apart from yours of course) who you think is doing GIW particularly well? What has stood out to you?

RSPCA is doing great things from what I have seen.

What’s an element of TWS’s GIW program that you’re most proud of?

During Covid lockdowns, our whole organisation, including our board members, wrote handwritten letters and made phone calls to our bequestors to check in and make sure that they could have a friendly conversation during a very hard and lonely time. This simple act has created several new “check-ins” that we send out to our beloved bequestors, such as a seed pack for them to plant, a recommended book list to read, and nature posters to imagine visiting when the time is right. Our bequestors love it.

We also have a beautiful bequest pack that Marlin refreshed for us a few years ago that has been highly successful.

Check back in tomorrow for a Q&A with Allanah Dixon from CARE Australia