I heard the other day about an online service that might just spark-off some interesting ideas amongst forward-thinking legacy fundraisers. Called YouDeparted, the US-based company provides its members with a secure ‘online safety deposit box’ for the storage of important documents, photo collections, videos, etc., accessible 24/7 from anywhere in the world. But here’s the twist. As the company name suggests you can also store your Will, letter of wishes and last messages – all of which can be accessed by your loved ones in the event of your death.
All stored documents are protected by what the site describes as “military-grade encryption” (apparently the same 256 bit Advanced Encryption Standard the US Government uses), so they’re kept safe and sound for whenever you need to access them. Then when you die, your named loved ones can unlock the account once a pre-defined number of them have signed-in and confirmed that you’ve really gone.
The founders describe their site as “a personal organiser with a death benefit”. Given the ever growing amounts of digital information that we collect as part of our everyday lives – from photos to formal documents, passwords and bank account PINs – it seems like the type of service that could really catch-on. Both to help organise everyday life as well as to help prepare for the inevitable.
So, what’s in it for legacy fundraisers? Well, over the years I have seen a wide range of legacy fundraising activity which offers pledgers support in terms of advice on Will making or how to value their estate and calculate potential inheritance tax. Could it be that the next generation of such services might include the provision of something like YouDeparted for supporters who have included your charity in their Will? They get to keep their Will and all of their other documents safe throughout their life and then the charity benefits after they’ve died.
At present, the YouDeparted pricing model starts at $9.95/year – which could perhaps be covered as part of a combined regular monthly donation and legacy pledge product? That’s a combination I haven’t seen used before.
Meeting the fresh challenges of online-savvy new audiences such as Baby Boomers, and families with children, will require very different legacy propositions to the tried and tested ‘will guide’ approaches we’re used to.
In the light of this, might the integration of “a personal organiser with a death benefit” into the legacy fundraisers product range be a viable idea for the future?