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Window of opportunity for charities to benefit from £40bn predicted legacy upsurge

Melanie May | 11 November 2020 | News

A predicted upsurge in legacies worth up to £40 billion over the next decade presents charities with a unique window of time to act and benefit from market growth, according to a joint report by Remember A Charity, Legacy Foresight, the Institute of Legacy Management and Smee & Ford.
Figures from Legacy Foresight predict that, as well as a substantial increase in legacy donations in the next ten years, legacy income will double in real terms over the next 30 years, with it being the volume of donations that will be critical in driving future market growth.
But, while an uplift in demand for Will-writing coupled with the scale of inheritance anticipated from the baby boomer generation has created this opportunity for longer-term legacy growth, the report, Strengthening Charities’ Resilience with Legacies, also highlights a limited timeframe in which charities can act to benefit from this growth. This, it says, means there is a real need for charities to continue to communicate the importance of legacies both within and beyond their supporter base.
The report explores how gifts in Wills – raising an estimated £3.1 billion this year, again according to Legacy Foresight figures – have given charities greater resilience and stability during the pandemic.
It features insights from 12 legacy experts with the findings from a survey of over 120 charity sector representatives, and looks at the impact of the pandemic, with recommendations for the ways in which charities can strengthen their legacy fundraising programmes during times of uncertainty.
In it, the legacy fundraisers highlight the importance of being agile, adapting their legacy fundraising activities and messaging in line with the wider environment. They emphasise the need to demonstrate particular sensitivity and care for supporters, making greater use of digital channels, offering support for Will-writing, and having the whole organisation, particularly trustees and senior management, supporting the drive for legacies.
Allan Freeman, chair of Remember A Charity, said:

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on charitable income, lives and livelihoods, making gifts in Wills all the more important for the sector’s recovery. But it’s also brought us to a pivotal moment when it comes to growing legacy giving.
“At the cusp of the biggest intergenerational wealth transfer of all time, we’re seeing a marked increase in the public’s appetite for Will-writing. This is a unique opportunity not only to normalise legacy giving, but to develop a more resilient financial core.” 

Meg Abdy, development director, Legacy Foresight, added:


How to move from Fundraiser to CEO - by Bruce Tait. Upwards white arrow on blue background.

“Legacy incomes will continue to hold up during the current crisis while many other income streams are plummeting. That resilience makes legacy income fundamental to charities’ sustainability during the pandemic, and through the tough years that lie ahead.”
“For many donors, leaving a gift in their Will is the ultimate expression of a lifetime of support. To demonstrate that you need – and indeed deserve – that gift, your charity must continue to prove your relevance, show your appreciation and build personal connections.”