Did you catch our recent webinar on planned giving and the pandemic? If not, you should know that the pandemic influenced a significant number of Canadians to make and update their wills. Many made their wills online through virtual meetings with their lawyer or used online will-making services.

The fact that an increasing number of people are making their wills online, combined with the fact that Canadians are spending more time online than ever before, means that your legacy web content needs to be in good working order. More and more people are relying on your website to guide them through their legacy giving journey from deciding to make a gift and making that gift to checking in on your impact.

So, if you’ve decided that now is the time for you to update your legacy web content, here are a few things for you to consider.

#1: Consider the brain research on legacy giving.

When we make a charitable gift, we do it from the part of the brain that’s empathetic. That is, we imagine what it would be like to walk in the shoes of the individual suffering – and then we give to ease that pain.

However, legacy giving is a little different. The brain research of Dr. Russell James has taught us that charitable bequests are made from the autobiographical centre of the brain. This part of the brain isn’t focused on others – it’s focused on the self. The autobiographical section of our brains is where we write the stories of our own lives.

So, to encourage a donor to make a legacy gift, you need to appeal to the idea of how giving to your organization would add to the story of their life. You’ll want to position their gift as a reflection of their values that continues on, even after they are gone.

So, how does this apply to your web content? Impact, impact, impact! Our research has found that legacy website users spend a lot of time reading about where gifts go. When you combine that with autobiographical thinking, it makes a lot of sense – learning more about the impact your charity is having today tells your donor a lot about the kind of impact they can have tomorrow, through a gift in their will.

#2: Incorporate the science of storytelling.

We also know from neuropsychology that storytelling is the most effective means of communicating when it comes to fundraising in general, and legacy giving in particular. The testimonial story told in the first person by a living bequest donor is the single most effective method to persuade legacy prospects to make bequests.

So, your legacy web content should ideally include stories and testimonials from legacy donors. Invite them to talk about their own lives and connection to the cause and your charity. Your goal here is for legacy prospects to see themselves and think, “Wow, I could do that too!”. So, your donor should be able to see themselves and their values in your testimonials.

Looking for more tips on legacy web content? Be sure to check our legacy web content research.