Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

In-memory givers three times more likely to make legacy pledge

In-memory givers three times more likely to make legacy pledge

People who have given in memory are three times more likely to make a legacy pledge according to research carried out by Legacy Foresight for its In-Memory Insight programme.

Benchmarking data from 22 learning circle member charities revealed that supporters with a known in-memory connection were three times more likely to pledge a legacy to the charity – and twice as likely to be legacy prospects – than standard regular donors giving via direct debit or standing order.

Legators who had a known in-memory connection to the charity also left bequests of significantly higher value. The average value of a residual legacy for a known in-memory supporter was two thirds higher than for a supporter with no known in-memory connection. For pecuniary , former in-memory supporters left double the amount.

Further data from surveys covering 4,000 adults revealed that a high proportion of legacy donors (2 in 5) had at least one in-memory gift in their will and that 3 out of 5 in-memory legacies had been preceded by in-memory support of a charity. Donations had often been made at or after a funeral – some were of substantial value.

In addition:

  • Three-quarters of all in-memory legacies were to health charities; double the percentage for all legacies
  • In-memory legacies were more likely to be pecuniary than all legacies (70% vs 61%) – possibly because these donors were also more likely to have children
  • Most legacies had been left in memory of partners, parents and in-laws, although friends had also been remembered

Sue Pedley, Head of Donor Research at Legacy Foresight, said:

“We know that an in-memory motivated gift can bring significant benefits, both to a donor and the charity, including focus and a therapeutic outlet for grief; a new reason to get in touch and the inspiration for continued engagement. But there is now hard evidence to show that an in-memory relationship with a charity may also lay the foundation for a legacy gift.

“This research proves how important remembrance is as a motivation for legacy giving. We hope that this evidence will help make the case for greater, more thoughtful investment in in-memory fundraising throughout the sector.”

In-Memory Insight is an ongoing programme to map, measure and research in-memory giving and fundraising. It sees Legacy Foresight work with a learning circle of over 50 charities who agree to pool their budgets, experiences and data to help build evidence and insight.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

Get free email updates

Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]

* We do not share your email or personal details.
" />