28/05/2009 - 00:00

Charities connect for donations

28/05/2009 - 00:00

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

ELIZABETH and Ken Frankish have been Heart Foundation of WA donors for many years, but it wasn't until Elizabeth suffered a stroke at the age of 49 that they decided they wanted to do more for the charity through a bequest.

GENEROSITY: VICKI RASMUSSEN (LEFT) AND BEQUESTER ELIZABETH FRANKISH ARE OUT TO PROMOTE THE IMPORTANCE OF BEQUESTS. PHOTO: GRANT CURRALL

ELIZABETH and Ken Frankish have been Heart Foundation of WA donors for many years, but it wasn't until Elizabeth suffered a stroke at the age of 49 that they decided they wanted to do more for the charity through a bequest.

"I looked at the ethics of the Heart Foundation, how it spends its funds and what the organisation had achieved, especially in the area of research into prevention and treatment, and it just seemed logical for me to donate and also become a bequester," Mrs Frankish said.

For many charities, bequests are a major source of income, with a growing number of Australians now opting to leave tens of thousands of dollars in their will to a charity or, as is often the case, to several charities.

Since 2006, four of the nation's largest not-for-profit organisations - the Heart Foundation, Cancer Council of WA, Australian Red Cross and Mission Australia - have joined forces to raise awareness of bequests on both a state and national level.

The consortium, called Include a Charity (IAC) does not have a formal structure with a board, but operates as a social awareness campaign to communicate the common objectives among the four member charities to encourage people to leave money to not-for-profit organisations in their wills.

Include a Charity spokesperson and Mission Australia national fundraising manager, Winnie Cheng, said IAC's primary objective was to raise the social conscience and awareness of bequests in Australia, with a long-term aim of increasing the number of charitable bequests.

"As with any cooperative group, there are individual goals and views that need to be heard," Ms Cheng said.

"But generally, because we have the common goal of raising awareness of bequesting, all views are heard - something which encourages progress."

IAC operates in a similar way to a cooperative where a working group collaborates on the implementation of a campaign and, as a collective, makes a recommendation to the management team.

The management team then deliberates and either approves or knocks back the recommendation, ensuring each charity is represented at both levels and all decisions are made as a unified group.

Ms Cheng said despite the IAC's loose structure the consortium had an integrated communications strategy comprising public relations, advertising, strategic partnerships and direct marketing initiatives.

She said discussions were currently under way to formalise the structure and possibly recruit more charities to the consortium.

Heart Foundation of WA director of fundraising, Vicki Rasmussen, said about 40 per cent of the charity's income was derived from bequests, which averaged about $30,000 each.

"The importance of bequests really cannot be underestimated," she said.

Australian Red Cross national bequests manager Sam Broughton said bequests were a vital source of income and that about 1,000 supporters had indicated they had left a bequest to Red Cross in their will.

This financial year the charity expects to receive $13 million in bequest income, about 25 per cent of its total fundraising revenue.

"All bequests, regardless of size, are gratefully received and help out to carry out our work helping vulnerable people across Australia, the Asia Pacific and around the world," Mr Broughton told WA Business News.

The average bequest gift to the Red Cross is $40,000 but amounts vary from a $1,000 up to several million dollars.

The Cancer Council of WA joined the consortium because bequests were the biggest single source of income it received.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options