New study looks into public attitudes towards legacies 

Over a quarter (27 per cent) of charity donors are preparing to leave a charitable legacy, or have already done so, according to new tracking figures from Remember A Charity – a four per cent rise from March 2009 when the consortium’s study began. 

The new figures also reveal only nine per cent of those who took part in the research reject the prospect of making a legacy donation. In 2009 that figure stood at 13 per cent.

Along with a rise in people considering and actively leaving legacies, the awareness of the option to do so is growing. Only 12 per cent of those surveyed said they were unaware of the option of donating to charity through their Will (down from 17 per cent in 2009).

The research, carried out by nfpSynergy, looked at the attitude and awareness to legacy giving among 1,000 UK charity donors aged 40+ on a scale ranging from rejection to action.

One in six (16 per cent) of the over-40s questioned said they have written a charity into their will and 11 per cent say they are preparing to do so (up from seven per cent in 2015 and nine per cent in 2016). A further 13 per cent say they are contemplating it.

Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said: “Legacy behaviour and attitudes are really starting to change. While we are likely to see some fluctuation year-on-year, now with nine years of comparable data, we can see a sustained shift in public attitudes towards legacies.”

“This echoes findings from Legacy Foresight and Smee and Ford, showing longer-term growth in the number of gifts in wills and charities benefitting, as well as the amount given.

“Bearing in mind that only six per cent of people that die currently leave a legacy, even a small percentage increase can make a big difference in terms of charitable returns.

“It’s an exciting time for the sector, but with more and more charities coming into the marketplace, there is even greater need for organisations to invest in this area of fundraising and ensure they can continue to rely on such a vital income stream.”

As referred to by Cope, figures released in February by Legacy Foresight, covering the 12 months to December 2017, show a 5.1 per cent rise in total legacy income for the year. 

According to their Legacy Monitor, its 83 charity members received £1.5bn in legacy income in the year to 31 December 2017, while total bequests reached 53,775 – a 3.2 per cent rise from 2016.

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