Joanna Katz: How Marie Curie used digital to engage our people and supporters with legacies 

10 Sep 2020 Voices

As part of Remember a Charity Week, Joanna Katz from Marie Curie explains how digital has become an important tool for this year's campaign

2020 has been a year of change. We know this is putting a positive spin on a year that has been incredibly difficult and painful for many, but for charities to survive in the current climate we need to start thinking positively.

So, while we shouldn’t forget the difficulties that the pandemic has laid at our door, it’s time to consider how the world has changed and how the third sector is changing with it.

For Remember A Charity Week 2020 Marie Curie is doing exactly that. 

Many of Marie Curie’s major fundraising events such as the London Marathon were cancelled this year due to coronavirus. As a result, we’ve been putting even more effort into promoting charitable bequests – asking people if they can use their will to support people living with a terminal illness.

Going digital

Like many organisations, Marie Curie asked most of its office staff to work from home during the pandemic. This safety measure is still in place, so we’ve decided to give our legacy campaign a digital focus.

This includes utilising the social network tool Yammer to communicate the campaign internally and ensure our staff stay engaged with it. We’re posting daily trivia questions focusing on legacy giving to Yammer throughout the week so staff will always see new content relating to the week every day. And we’re encouraging our staff to take up the Will-writing service available to them.

When it comes to getting the message out at a community level, we’re posting on our national and regional social media pages across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, sharing campaign resources and encouraging everyone to think about leaving a gift in their will. Having been inspired by the NHS’s brilliant Rainbow Campaign, we’re circulating two colouring sheets in the hope that staff and volunteers with young children find it useful and help promote our campaign. These are being displayed in our hospices and we’re posting them on Yammer too. 

This year, we’ve created an animated video explaining the importance of Gifts in Wills and how they allow people to make one of their final acts an altruistic one. The video is narrated by none other than Stephen Mangan, known for his role in Episodes opposite Matt LeBlanc.

Keeping people united

To make sure everyone across the organisation is aware of the importance of legacies and our awareness drive throughout the week, we’re featuring legacies in three upcoming digital newsletters – Marie Curie People, the Daff Digest and Caring Services. 

Due to lockdowns and some staff not being able to travel around the country or visit our different hospices, there is a concern that people are starting to feel quite isolated. This year’s legacy campaign is a great opportunity for us to remind people that our organisation is here for them; that we’re stronger than ever, and that we’re one big team with a common goal – a better end of life for all.

Building this sense of togetherness is particularly important as, due to our reliance on digital this year, we are unable to get out to the regions in person or to localise it the same way as we have in previous years.

What’s changed?

Last year, Marie Curie held 70s-inspired buffets, quizzes and photo booths in our hospices and offices to promote legacy giving as part of the campaign. We also held regional events across the UK. As successful as this was, the decision was made that to hold similar events this year – while the pandemic is still in our midst – would be too risky for our staff and volunteers. 

While it is unfortunate that we can’t hold face-to-face events or get our staff and volunteers from across the different regions of the UK more involved, we’re excited that this has given us an opportunity to increase the digital presence of our campaign. 

The charity landscape has changed a great deal recently – possibly permanently – so it’s great to be able to showcase our skills in this area. We certainly don’t see this year’s legacy drive as a half-hearted campaign that won’t live up to what we achieved in 2019. In fact, we’re confident that our plan will make this our best Remember A Charity Week campaign ever.

Joanna Katz is legacy events & marketing officer at Marie Curie

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