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1 in 5 donors now include a charity in their Will

Melanie May | 7 March 2022 | News

A woman wearing silver rings and a white shirt writes with a black pen

Almost one in five UK charity donors now leave a gift in their Will, up from 14% in 2013 – although only half of legacy givers say they have notified the charities.

The findings are from Remember A Charity’s consumer benchmarking study, which surveys over 2,000 charity donors aged 40+ to track legacy giving attitudes and behaviour over the past eight years.

Its most recent survey, carried out by independent research firm OKO, found that as well as 19% of people saying they had included a charity in their Will, a further 10% were preparing to do so. Less than one in ten donors (9%) reject the concept altogether.

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Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity – a consortium of 200 UK legacy charities – said:

“This continued growth in legacy giving is testament to charities’ increased focus on legacies and their willingness to collaborate, inspiring more people to leave a gift in their Will and raise vital funding for charities across the country. The more we talk about it and normalise the concept – particularly with the predicted surge of donations from baby boomers, the more charities will be able to benefit for generations to come.”

Prevalence of Wills

The study shows that 62% of donors have already prepared a Will, with the likelihood of doing so naturally increasing with age. 82% of those aged over 70 have written a Will, compared with 46% of those in their early 40s.

Three in ten donors with a Will have included a charitable donation. That proportion rises significantly among the affluent, those who are aware of the tax incentives and those who seek financial advice, as well as those who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

The study also indicates a correlation between awareness of Remember A Charity Week and legacy giving, with those who have seen or heard of the legacy awareness week being more than twice as likely to have left a gift in their Will.

However, almost half (48%) of those who have included a charitable gift in their Will haven’t let the charities know. The most prevalent reason given by donors is that they can’t see how it would benefit the charity to know, while others say it’s because they might change their mind.

Cope added:

“People don’t always understand what a difference it can make to charities if they can plan ahead and budget for the future, particularly when it comes to often sizeable legacy donations. This research shows that there’s a real opportunity for charities to communicate that message and encourage legacy pledgers to share their story with the organisation. This gives you the opportunity to thank supporters and steward those relationships, and to help normalise giving by making it a ‘social’ behaviour.”

The research also highlights how often people change or update their Will with just over half of respondents with a Will saying they have updated it at least once and almost 6 in 10 indicating that they are likely to change it in future. Trusted advisors play a key role in providing financial advice when people write or update their Will, particularly among the affluent – those with a financial adviser were 26% more likely to have left a gift in their Will.

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