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The Great Bequest of Neverland

Bequests, or legacies as they are sometimes called, are given by caring, thoughtful individuals and families. Individuals that believe in and are passionate about a cause. Some bequests are broadcast loudly in the media while some just go quietly through into the funds account.

And one bequest that perhaps you don’t know about, but it has in many ways been in front of you your whole life is the story of Peter Pan.

Although he had no children of his own, author J.M Barrie who wrote Peter Pan: The Boy Who Never Grew Up, was a true supporter of the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. In 1929 he was asked by the hospital to sit on a committee and although he declined the offer, saying he wasn’t a fan of committees, he said he would work out another way to help.

True to his word he did. He left the rights to Peter Pan to the hospital in his Will.

So any time a production of the play is put on or a book or product is sold (and the book has been published in 14 languages) a percentage of the profits made go to the hospital. Although his Will stated the hospital was never allowed to reveal the amount raised from the story, speculation suggests that the royalties have gone well into the millions.

The Peter Pan Hospital, as Great Ormond Street is often affectionately called, seems to have harnessed this ‘small gift’ and honoured all that it stands for. They have a special bronze statue at the hospital, a Tinkerbell play area in one of the wards and have even developed a fundraising initiative called Peter Pan Week which takes place in schools across the UK later this month.

The little boy who never grew up but continues to provide joy and support to sick children.

The story of Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy and the Lost Boys has always been a personal favourite of mine, and this has only been strengthened since learning about this gift. A beautiful story. A beautiful author. A beautiful gesture.

So, why am I telling you all this today? Well, just like Peter Pan says ‘You need to believe‘. Or more importantly, your donors need to believe. If nothing else, our job as fundraisers is to inspire our donors to believe. Believe in our organisation. Believe in our vision. Believe that they can make a difference. And I’m certain when you do this, your bequest program – or just about any other fundraising program – will grow like it had been sprinkled with fairy dust.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are some ways you inspire your donors to believe in your cause?

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.


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