Scottish charities raise over £90m a year from gifts in Wills

Building back stronger with legacies report cover

Charities in Scotland are raising more than £90 million a year from gifts in Wills, according to a joint report released today by Remember A Charity, Legacy Foresight, the Institute of Legacy Management and Smee & Ford.

The first collaborative report on the Scottish market from the legacy bodies, Building back stronger with charitable legacies explores the role of legacies for Scottish charities in the current environment, featuring new market data and commentary.

It shows that legacy income to Scottish charities has been growing at an average of 7% per year, exceeding the 4.6% average growth rate for charities in England and Wales. Around 500 Scottish charities benefit from gifts in Wills each year and almost two thirds (64%) of these are smaller charities and community-based organisations.


Getting Started with TikTok: An Introduction to Fundraising & Supporter Engagement

Around 50 registered Scottish charities generate 70% of legacy income, but the market is broadening with the number of Scottish charities named in Wills increasing by 18% between 2013 and 2018.

Each week, 47 people in Scotland leave a gift to charity in their Will. However, the report indicates greater growth potential, with 42% of people in Scotland aged 40+ saying they would be happy to give in this way.

Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity said:

“The Scottish legacy market is at a tipping point. On the verge of the biggest international wealth transfer in history, Scottish supporters seem to be feeling even more closely connected to the good causes they care about, with more and more people choosing to leave a gift in their Will.


“Legacy giving may be less prevalent currently in Scotland, but consumer studies show that Scottish people are even more willing to consider leaving a gift than those south of the border. So, there’s an even greater opportunity for growth and for the sector to work together to normalise gifts in Wills. And, as the sector builds back from the pandemic stronger and more resilient, that income will be all the more vital.”

Meg Abdy, Development Director at Legacy Foresight, added:

“Over the past two decades the number of Scottish charitable estates has grown by over a quarter, while the value of those estates has trebled. This means a lot more money for the causes Scottish people care about, whether that’s at a local level or to help those in need on the other side of the world.  Looking ahead, these trends are set to continue; creating huge opportunities for those charities with the ambition to convey their legacy vision to a new generation of legacy donors.”

Also commenting on the findings, Vanessa Rhazali, Head of Fundraising and Marketing, Age Scotland, said:

“There’s a big opportunity for charities to work together to grow legacies in Scotland. We need to have more of a culture in Scotland of sharing the wonderful stories of what legacies can achieve. A gift in a Will is not about death, it’s about life – people’s values, their aspirations, the things they want to carry on once they are gone. We want supporters to see that this is a very special way for them to help and that it really can make such a difference.”