Power of Storytelling | UNICEF UK finds legacy giving opportunities in storytelling

September 11, 2017

Ah, Founder’s Syndrome. It’s also known as “founderitis,” and it is a dreaded organizational illness. I’ve witnessed it time and time again with nonprofits, who face this difficulty when their founder (or founders), just can’t bear to let go. As a result, the founder wields the majority of the power and the other people involved in the nonprofit are at their mercy. This unbalanced dynamic, as you can imagine, causes more harm than good.

It was founderitis that turned my first consulting gig into a nightmare. The organization who had hired me had the worst case of founderitis I’d ever seen. The founder, a woman who had been at the helm for over 30 years, had been a brilliant fundraiser in her day. But now that she had ostensibly retired, she refused to allow anyone else access to donors or data. As a result, grants and donations had been steadily declining.

But something kept this nonprofit afloat.

What kept them going was the seed she had planted 30 years earlier. A legacy giving seed. Because of that, bequest gifts ranging from $10k to $35 (and even $100k!) trickled in on the regular.

Legacy giving is so, so important, but organizations constantly forget about it or relegate it to the back burner. Maybe it’s because of humanity’s struggle to cope with death and dying. It can be hard to look that far into the future, so how can we ask our donors to?

UNICEF UK has found a way to speak to their donors about legacy giving by targeting specific donors and speaking directly to them about creating a lasting impact. They’ve united these special supporters through a beautiful video that casts a spotlight on their story and the legacy they’ve got the opportunity to leave.


Where were you when Concorde first took flight? Did you succumb to Beatlemania? Take a nostalgic look back through the years and see how much you remember from decades of momentous events, dodgy hairdos, wonderful inventions and incredible change.

History doesn’t stop there. Leaving a legacy is a simple way to ensure that Unicef can still be there for every child in danger for many years to come.   You can help to create a safer world for children by leaving a gift in your Will. Find out more at http://unicef.uk/leavealegacy

Remember, legacy giving doesn’t has to be some big, fancy production of bells and whistles. Dip your toes into the water and create a start. Because you’ve got to begin somewhere. Include an option at the end of your next direct mailing for legacy gifts, and work outward from there.

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