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Pledged legacy donations to homelessness & housing charities up 75% YOY

Melanie May | 30 January 2023 | News

A person wrapped in a grey blanket. by Katrina_S from Pixabay

Legacy giving pledges included in wills increased by 8.7% year on year in 2022, according to Farewill, with a 75% increase in legacy gifts pledged to homelessness and housing charities.

According to Farewill’s Year in Wills report 2022, the average sum of primary gifts increased in every age bracket from 41 to 80 year-olds. The biggest increase in legacy pledges came in the 61 -70 age group, with the percentage of customers including a gift growing by 33% year on year. The average pledged gift from 71-80 year olds increased by over 16% year on year, while those over 91 were the most generous with primary gifts. The average gift amount from that age group has increased by 285% since 2020.

While cancer, animal welfare and military charities have ranked most highly for the largest number of gifts received per cause for the last three consecutive years, the report shows that amidst the challenges of the past year, there have been increases in pledges to homelessness and housing charities, as well as to mental health charities.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

Legacy pledges reflecting societal challenges

2022 saw a 75% increase since 2021 in legacy gifts pledged to homelessness and housing charities. In the 18 -30 age group, gifts pledged to those charities increased by 156%.

George Shelley, Legacy Manager at Crisis, commented:

“As the rising cost of living puts more households under pressure, we’ve seen higher demand for our services as people are pushed to the brink of homelessness. Crisis is fortunate to have such generous supporters. Over the last year, we’ve seen an increase in the number of people pledging gifts in their will to make a difference to our mission to end homelessness that costs them nothing now.”

Mental health charities have seen a 127% rise in legacy pledges since 2020. The number of gifts pledged to mental health charities by 51 -60 year-olds was more than double any other age bracket.

Commenting, Farewill CEO and co-founder, Dan Garrett, said: 

“Witnessing the kindness and generosity shown towards the causes our customers care about when planning for death, particularly during tough economic circumstances, is a great privilege. The financial crisis is causing stress and uncertainty for families across the UK, making it more difficult to donate to the causes people care about regularly.


Offering charity supporters a free will writing service in the hope that they may include a legacy gift is a brilliant way to provide supporters with an easy, free service they value, while also keeping them engaged with a charity at a time when money is tight. What better way to express your wishes, protect your loved ones and celebrate your legacy.”

Last year, Farewill worked with over 270 charity partners and saw over £200 million pledged to charities in legacy gifts included in wills written with it, bringing the total to over £700mn since 2015.

With the cost of living crisis impacting many in the UK, research conducted by the Charities Aid Foundation last year found that around one in 10 people reported that they planned to cut back on charity donations in 2022.