With 40 years in fundraising, which includes more than 30 years specialising in legacies, there isn’t much about legacy fundraising that Richard doesn’t know. However, he never presumes he is right! Every time he spends time with his clients and their stakeholders he discovers unique attitudes to each client. Richard knows when he will retire: it is when he thinks he knows everything and becomes arrogant!
“Every client and every region of the UK (and the world) and every charity has donors, volunteers (and where applicable service users), who feel something special and unique about their charity. All we do is try and find out what that is, so that we focus on what they want to encourage them to leave a gift in their Will” He is passionate about sharing his expertise and creativity with nonprofits, about challenging their thinking and helping generate substantial income for future years.
Richard divides his time consulting, training and mentoring charities and fundraisers across the world to maximise their legacy income. He can guide you through legacy research, strategic planning and the development of all your legacy communication materials to deliver a successful legacy fundraising programme.
So far, Richard has met around 34,000 donors, volunteers and service users in thousands of incredibly informal focus groups/discovery days covering every cause on the globe.
During Covid-19 I have been continuing with virtual focus groups and loads of one-to-one calls with supporters. Although this is considered by some people to be a sensitive time to talk about legacies the universal response has been: “actually we have more time to think about our Will so it is a good time”.
He has written (or helped draft) more than 700 successful legacy fundraising strategies. He continues to access the legacy market, learning and expanding his insight as the market evolves and matures. And WOW is it growing in virtually every country in the world. (A note from Richard: OK, so Russia was a failure and that might change. But in almost 30 years that is the only country which has not successfully developed some form of legacy giving programme!!)
Richard’s background… he began his fundraising career with the MS Society, became Director of Fundraising of the Order of St John (St John Ambulance and the St John Ophthalmic Hospital in Jerusalem) and then a director of the Charities Aid Foundation.
He went on to become executive chairman of the world’s first specialist legacy research and development company Smee & Ford, breaking new ground and instigating a number of world firsts that include the first ever university based training course for trustees. His international work took Richard around the globe covering Will writing and legacy giving traditions in every culture. He trains anyone to make the legacy ask with passion.
Richard was made a the Fellow of the UK’s Institute of Fundraising in recognition of his outstanding contribution to fundraising. In a voluntary capacity he was a trustee of the IoF for six years, served as the Institute’s Treasurer and chaired the IoF National Fundraising Convention for four years. He has also served as Chairman of the International Fundraising Congress (IFC) held annually in the Netherlands.
In 2010 Richard founded Radcliffe Consulting, giving him greater independence to challenge today’s legacy market and its fundraising thinking and practices.
In 2018 he received, from the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, the Lifetime Contribution to Fundraising award.