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FreeWills celebrates £100mn in pledges, + more sector supplier & agency news

Melanie May | 8 December 2023 | News

a fountain pen lies on a sheet of paper, on a wooden table with a bunch of fuschia tulips

A milestone for FreeWills, a new service from SATCol, a partnership between GoFundMe and Social Sync and more are covered in this round up of sector supplier and agency news.

FreeWills celebrates £100mn in pledges milestone

FreeWills has now helped over 1,900 charities benefit from gifts in wills, with £100mn pledged to date.

FreeWills is an online, solicitor-checked service, which allows people to create their own bespoke and legal will, for free, and from home. It is open to people of all ages and offers step by step guidance, allowing most people to complete a free will within 15 minutes.


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

Last year, a total of £37 million was pledged to their charity partners, which now number close to 2000. They benefit from FreeWills’ “Gifts in Wills Service” which is also completely free to UK registered charities. 2023 has seen these numbers grow again. In October, FreeWills saw over £6mn pledged to its partner charities, which combined with a strong year to date has seen the organisation breach the £100m milestone as UK Charity Week draws to an end.

FreeWills was founded in 2018 by serial entrepreneur Carl Christensen and experienced will writer Jenny Chase with a mission to create a positive impact that benefits both legacy donors and a wide range of charities. It was built with input from will writing experts and is 100% free. It is also possible to create a new will to replace an old one. FreeWills is a full member of The Society Of Will Writers and every will is checked, vetted and approved by a solicitor.

Carl Christensen commented:

“These numbers are really encouraging and should be celebrated, not from the standpoint of FreeWills as an organisation but from the perspective that this means more people are getting around to writing wills (there is still huge room for improvement) and in terms of the impact on a huge range of charities that can now benefit – not just the big names that we all know.


“We work with some of the smallest good causes that might be village or even pet-breed specific to national and even international charities. We are all about bringing good causes and the people who want to support them together and we can do that through our free will writing service. October is often a positive month for us as the work around Free Wills Month boosts the focus on will writing in general but we want people and charities to know that with us, every month can be a Free Wills Month.”

Philanthropy Impact celebrates 25th anniversary & announces soon-to-launch networking platform

Philanthropy Impact recently celebrated 25 years with an anniversary event in London that also saw its latest magazine INCREASING THE FLOW OF CAPITAL FOR GOOD – INVESTING AND GIVING published, and news of the upcoming launch of 23 Impact – a new platform to enable online networking opportunities for professional advisors and others within the philanthropic and impact investing communities.

At the event guests were welcomed by the Chief Executive of Philanthropy Impact, John Pepin, who thanked the supporters, funders, staff and sponsors who made the evening possible.

Speakers also included Rennie Hoare, Partner and Head of Philanthropy at C Hoare & Co; Ceris Gardiner, Partner at Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP; and Lucy Blythe, Founder of Philip International. Gardner, a Board Member, gave special mention to the founder of Philanthropy Impact, the late Jim Myers, alongside the second Chief Executive of the organisation, Sue Daniels. Both have played a key role in shaping Philanthropy Impact into the organisation it is today.

Philanthropy Impact is a network that provides members and stakeholders with training, resources, and advice to drive impactful and meaningful giving and impact investing. The organisation’s website, magazine, and events share advancements and trends in philanthropy.

GoFundMe launches first virtual challenge with Social Sync

Crowdfunding platform GoFundMe has launched its first ever virtual challenge in conjunction with fundraising experts Social Sync. 

The challenge aims to raise more than £100,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association in 25 days from 4,000 donors. It will run throughout December.

Julia Beales, Senior Engagement Fundraiser at the Motor Neurone Disease Association said: 

“We’re really excited to be able to launch this new type of campaign to test the features offered by GoFundMe. We know our supporters are already using it to raise funds, but this new integration with Social Sync will help us to be able to get new insights and offer new forms of stewardship to them.”

Since launch, GoFundMe has raised £1bn in the UK for people and charities and $25bn globally. According to the platform, one in five people in Britain have donated to a GoFundMe fundraiser. 

Dina Rickman, Senior Director at GoFundMe for Northern Europe said:

“We’re delighted to bring our mission to help people help each other to the virtual challenge sector. We see hundreds of thousands of people start GoFundMe fundraisers, and the vast majority of them are consumers looking to help a charity. We are so excited about the possibility of working more directly with charities.


“Our users have raised more than half a million organically for the MND Association, and we want to help power their incredible work helping people living with this devastating condition. We’re delighted to partner with Social Sync to bring that magic to help charities.”

SATCoL expands corporate partnership offering with launch of Furniture Reuse scheme

Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL), has launched a Furniture Reuse scheme to expand their Corporate Partnership offering and help divert furniture stock away from disposal. 

The scheme calls for businesses to donate excess, returned, end of line and showroom sample furniture stock to be upcycled and resold in The Salvation Army’s 240 retail outlets. The profit that SATCoL receives from the resale of these items is given to The Salvation Army to continue to support its work across the country.

It is designed to prevent more items from entering the waste stream and is another way for SATCoL to support the circular economy. Each year the Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd divert over 250 million items to good uses, including over 62,000 tonnes of textiles.

Volunteer-run tech charity secures funding and launches Christmas gift

Volunteers from Leeds-based charity Better Giving Partnership have launched a new gifting service this Christmas, helping people to support a range of different causes.

Givto’ lets users set up a Direct Debit for the amount of their choice, and each month they are given a choice of three different charities to support with a click or tap.

A Givto subscription can also be purchased for someone as a gift. The receiver chooses a different charity to support each month, making it an attractive option for those who like to give a more meaningful present at Christmas.

Subscriptions start from £5 per month and can be purchased for periods from two to 12 months.

Givto user, Richard Blamires, said:

“I had considered making a regular donation to charity for some time but could never decide on which charity. Givto seemed like a great idea for helping a variety of charities on a regular basis and I have not been disappointed. The process is really straightforward and I’ve been able to do my bit for several local charities that I’d never heard of before. My kids often help choose a charity which helps them understand and appreciatethe needs of others.”