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Extreme Will-writers launch Remember A Charity in your Will Week

Howard Lake | 7 September 2015 | News

You can go to extreme lengths to write a Will and leave a legacy to charity if you really want, but it’s a lot easier than that for most people. That’s the message from this year’s Remember A Charity in your Will Week campaign, which starts today.
The annual campaign is run by Remember A Charity, the 150-strong consortium of charities working together to encourage more people to leave a gift to charity in their Will.
This year’s public awareness campaign begins with an Extreme Will-Writing campaign documentary and a series of interviews with legacy donors. The video shows these extreme Will-writers, in their sixties and above, sign their Will at 10,000 feet, before skydiving down to land.
The campaign slogan is “you don’t have to go to extremes to become a Living Legend, you can just leave a gift to charity in your Will”.

Extensive government support

The campaign has attracted the most extensive government support achieved to date, with support form the UK and Scottish Governments (The Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, Scottish Government and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport).
The legal progression has also, once again, supported the campaign.  Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society at the Cabinet Office, Damien Hinds, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs at The Scottish Government, have jointly written to over 8,700 solicitors in England, Wales and Scotland, urging them to highlight the option of leaving a gift to charity to clients. Prompting clients to leave a gift can treble the number of gifts in Wills, according to research conducted by the Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team in 2013.
“The UK Government is keen to encourage and facilitate legacy giving,” the Ministers said in a signed letter to solicitors.
“A Will can be used to look after everything that your client cares about, from family and friends, to charity.”

Watch the documentary

[youtube height=”450″ width=”800″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBL4yADPSeU[/youtube]
The documentary, campaign posters and advertising will be displayed across a variety of consumer channels. The consortium’s member charities are hosting many of their own activities to raise awareness of Remember A Charity Week across the UK including regional legacy roadshows, promotion in hundreds of members’ charity shops and the use of branded merchandise (such as extreme energy drinks and extremely strong mints) to further generate awareness and engagement with consumers.
For example, WaterAid has highlighted two of the Extreme Will-Writers who have each left a bequest to the charity:
[youtube height=”450″ width=”800″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRuu5gf50a8[/youtube]
[youtube height=”450″ width=”800″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHuuTmlwkqw[/youtube]
Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has also written to all cultural organisations to encourage them to get involved with the campaign and boost legacy giving during Remember A Charity Week.


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Charitable bequests are the largest single source of voluntary income in the UK, generating more than £2.2 billion in 2014.
Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said:

“Never before has the campaign achieved so much support from Government and the legal profession and this is critical in extending our reach to new audiences and to achieve social change.
“Our research shows that 35% of the UK are happy to leave a gift in their Will, but only 7% currently do. Remember A Charity Week helps to address the disconnect between intention and action.

Cope referred to the negative criticism in last week’s Daily Mail about legacy fundraising and wealth research, and other media criticisms of other methods of fundraising, adding:

“Particularly in light of the negative portrayal of fundraising in the media recently, it has never been more important that charities continue to strive for the highest standards, cherish their supporters and celebrate success. Without legacy giving, many charitable services may not survive.”

Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Institute of Fundraising, which hosts Remember A Charity, said:

“Remember A Charity’s light-hearted, celebratory approach to what can be a very serious topic is a great way to celebrate the impact of legacy giving and get legacy conversations started. The consortium is a fantastic example of how collaboration within the sector can enable powerful social change.”

Campaign gets underway