As part of our training programme for Will to Give charity members, we were very fortunate to have at our June meeting Nigel Gorvett, Legacy Development Manager at Marie Curie to tell us how they rolled out their legacy messaging to community fundraising teams across the UK.

The main aim was ‘To increase the regularity that regional fundraisers “talk about gifts in wills” with supporters, and to report that activity back to the legacy team on a monthly basis.’

What was the need?

  • More important than ever to talk to our supporters about Gifts in Wills
  • Regional Fundraising gives Marie Curie that reach


  • Fundraiser’s legacy knowledge and confidence was generally low
  • Inconsistent  regional fundraising support of legacies
  • No clear understanding of what they should be doing or how
  • Lack of understanding on available resources

The objectives were to highlight why Gifts in Wills are important, the fundraisers role in spreading the word, to increase their confidence and signpost to Marie Curie’s Legacy Advisors. 

The training

Supported by the Management Centre Training Agency, Marie Curie held 8 half-day sessions across the UK, with 119 people attending and split the training into 4 sections:

  1. What are Gifts in Wills
  2. When to promote Gifts in Wills 
  3. How to promote Gifts in Wills
  4. Action Planning

The sessions consisted of a mix of learning and scenario based role play, facilitated by an external agency and one of Marie Curie’s Legacy Advisors.  95% of those who attended agreed or strongly agreed they were satisfied with the training.

Nigel reported the key finding of the training was there was a misconception of what fundraisers thought they were being asked to do and what in reality was being asked of them.  The objective was to get more fundraisers to talk about gifts in wills to donors and report back, this is now happening very effectively.

The outcome

Gifts in Wills is now being talked about by not just Legacy Advisors, but also fundraisers and senior management.  Marie Curie plan to keep the momentum going by updating their materials, introducing mandatory legacy inductions and further training for new starters and starting to engage with the Major Gifts fundraising team.

Key learnings

Here are some of Marie Curie’s key learning points from rolling out the staff training:

  • Be clear on your purpose
  • What do you want to achieve and is it realistic
  • What are your key messages
  • Gain support of your senior team
  • Know where your Fundraising Teams are at 
  • Understand their needs
  • Keep it engaging and relevant to Fundraising
  • Measure and evaluate
  • Provide support materials and tools
  • What’s next? Have a plan
  • Always be there to support

Whilst Marie Curie are a large UK organisation with resources and community fundraising teams to train, many of these tips and activities could (and should) be undertaken by all charities. Will to Give also recognise the opportunity to also apply to other stakeholders in charities such as the Board or volunteers.

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