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Charitable Bequest Research Project in Australia

3 June 2002 at 1:06 pm
Staff Reporter
Charities and other fundraising organisations are invited to subscribe to a wills and bequest fundraising survey.

Staff Reporter | 3 June 2002 at 1:06 pm


Charitable Bequest Research Project in Australia
3 June 2002 at 1:06 pm

Charities and other fundraising organisations are invited to subscribe to a wills and bequest fundraising survey, the aim of which is to establish the patterns of behaviour of Australians when it comes to making or changing a will, and leaving or not leaving bequests to charity.

The results of a similar survey conducted in New Zealand last year are helping NZ bequest fundraisers to be more effective by being able to focus their efforts and resources better.

The survey will be conducted by the professional market research company BRC Marketing & Social Research in conjunction with Sebastian Wilberforce, a bequest fundraising consultant and international authority in this area.

Wilberforce has been working in the bequests field for seven years. During four of these he worked in the UK for one of Britain’s biggest charities, which was a pioneer in bequest fundraising and had one the largest and most sophisticated programs in the country.

He took the opportunity to disseminate more widely the knowledge and experience of Britain’s biggest charities and their consultants in his book Legacy Fundraising: The Art of Seeking Bequests which was re-published last year.

Three years ago Wilberforce moved to Australasia, settling in New Zealand from where he works as a bequest fundraising consultant.

On the basis of the survey done in New Zealand last year the researchers believe the findings of this project will provide the Not for Profit sector with valuable information in five areas:
 The percentage of Australians that have got wills, what prompted them to make them, and how long ago they made them
 The percentage of wills containing bequests to charity and why they are there
 The percentage of wills that don’t contain bequests to charity, and why not
 How people (bequestors and non bequestors) would like to be approached by charities seeking bequests, and why, and also why they would not like to be approached
 Why people tell charities of their bequests to them, and why they won’t

What use can you make of the survey findings?
 If you already have a bequest fundraising program your organisation can evaluate its strategy, its implementation and its expectations in light of this key information on the behavioural characteristics of the target audiences.
 If you are intending to start fundraising you have a unique opportunity to ensure that from the outset your strategy is soundly based in these behavioural characteristics. The survey will pay for itself by providing you with a means to avoiding wasting money on wrong approaches for instance.
 In both cases the survey is valuable for highlighting key messages charities need to be communicating, and when
 The verbatim responses accompanying the survey are expected to be thought provoking, and in some cases may have wider implications than are initially apparent. For instance understanding why people want face to face meetings with charity staff may persuade you to offer this facility, as well as indicating how such meetings should be conducted. The New Zealand data also has implications for head office staff who interface with bequest prospects and pledgers, especially those who do not think of themselves as fundraisers. This data may also be established for Australia.

If you would like more information to be able to decide to subscribe to the survey contact Sebastian Wilberforce via email:

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