Today’s inspiration steps it up to help charities through bequests

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Welcome back to our Step it Up Campaign, where our aim is to inspire others to become more active in charity work by sharing stories of social responsibility.

Meet Angie Wilson

Angie is the MD of a Legal Services firm Red Apple Law, and helps charities raise funds through bequests.

AngieWilsonAngie explains, “Red Apple Law is unique for the industry in that it is not a law firm in itself (indeed I am not a lawyer) however we manage a small panel of four (large) law firms and two specialist legal service providers.   I am passionate about ensuring people access legal services in the way they choose, not the way the professional wants to provide them; all the while being totally aware of the costs up front – most of the legal services are fixed fee.  We work business to business only, our introducing partners include EE, RNIB, Pernod Ricard, Curo Housing Association, Honda UK, Tesco, Support Dogs, Coach Drivers Club and many more. I guess the newest term for what we do is ‘Legal Service Enablers’?!”

How are you involved with charities?
“Yes, some mentioned above; RNIB (Telephone Will Writing service), Support Dogs (providing discounted will writing and legal service for supporters), Family and Childcare Trust plus those I support personally (regular monthly donations, ink cartridges, stamps, plastic bottle tops etc.)  Red Apple Law are Campaign Supporters of Remember a Charity.”

How did this come about?
“I became aware of the ability to increase gifts left to charity in a Will through my work with Remember a Charity – from here I spent over 12 months working with our panel to provide a totally ‘joined up service’.  This means a charity can go from no legacy fundraising strategy to a working process within a week!

Our panel not only ‘prompt’ charitable gifts in the Will they take instructions for (which achieves a 100% increase), many also use the specific prompt “many of our clients leave gifts to charity in their Will, is there a cause you are PASSIONATE about?”. This wording was put together by Remember a Charity in conjunction with the Cabinet Office and the Behavioural Studies department at Bristol University and can see a further 100% increase in gifts left by Will. We then provide monthly management information to the charity, detailing:
1) How many Wills have been written for their clients, supporters and donors.
2) How many of these included a gift to their charity (also known as a pledge).
3) An average amount of the gift.

As well as being vital information for the charity to provide to stakeholders and their board, this information is increasingly important in proving the individual was involved with the charity before their death and fully intended to make the gift (case of Ilott v Jackson).”

How is this a good fit for you brand wise?
“My background over the last 12 years is Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney, Probate and Estate Administration – so naturally when Red Apple Law was incorporated, these were the services we looked to provide and improve (choice in delivery methods, good pricing etc.)  For nearly two years we have referred volume work to our panel, we deal with over 1000 bereaved families each year.  We now provide a wider range of legal services but those listed above still see the highest volume.  Putting this ‘joined up’ offering together for charities took a lot of work and even more conversations, discussions, berating and a lot of pushing lawyers on my part!  Many have tried to achieve collaboration with their professional advisers, resulting in something similar to this but to my knowledge all have failed in their attempts.”

What have you got out of it from a personal point of view?
“Helping charities in new and different ways is always of interest to the Third Sector from what I have learned.  After studying every single case from a Will writing company for six months and seeing the difference prompting makes for myself, I was on a mission to find this solution.

Finding such a niche and being viewed as a specialist brings a great deal of personal satisfaction; I have and will continue to share my story and the simple steps charities can take to improve their voluntary income from gifts in Wills – I give this information and my time talking about it for free, we do have a solution but this is only mentioned if asked (you have to understand the how before our solution actually looks like one).”

What would your advice be for anyone thinking of doing something similar?
“I guess the problems and pitfalls during the journey is the most important information to share.  As always, what can go wrong is usually costly both in finances and time, much more so than what can be achieved when it goes well.

As a general point for any fundraising, my understanding is that fundraising departments are often fragmented in their communication of what each other are doing; until and unless your entire fundraising department is aware of all the methods and campaigns running, the results will never be as good as they could be with clear communication – legacy fundraising is usually the last on the list and the one most fundraisers find difficult to talk about.”


Please check back often for more Step it Up interviews,
and get in touch if you would like to share your own story!


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