Legacies: the untapped potential
A relatively small increase in the number of people leaving charitable legacies would make a huge difference to our good causes
Legacies form the foundation of the UK’s best known and best loved charities. Indeed, without income from legacies, many charities would struggle to survive. It is a little known fact that income from legacies represents 33% of the total fundraised income of the top 10 charities (Charity Market Monitor, 2011). To the sector as a whole, legacies contribute in the region of £1.9 billion per year (Legacy Foresight, 2009). Yet this sum is generated by only 7% of the UK public.
While this demonstrates the fragility of legacy income, it also reveals its potential. If the rate of legacy giving rose by just 4%, it would create an additional £1 billion for good causes nationwide.
Remember A Charity, a consortium of more than 140 charities working together, was created to realise this potential. The consortium aims to do what no single charity can do alone, i.e. to increase the number of charitable wills and to make legacy giving a social norm.
In reality, most people don’t realise that they can use their will to take care of not just their family, but of everything else that is important to them. Currently, 75% of the UK population supports charities in their lifetime, but only 7% of people do so by making a gift in a will. The good news is that research for TNS Social in 2008 revealed that 35% of people would consider including a gift to charity, after providing for their family and friends, in their will.
As a professional adviser, you have an opportunity to play a key role in increasing the number of charitable wills. Research has also shown that those advisers who always make sure that their clients are aware that they can leave a gift to charity in their will, will write significantly more wills that contain a charitable bequest.
That’s why Remember A Charity has launched a Campaign Supporter scheme. It’s aimed at solicitors and professional will writers and is free to join. By signing up, firms will be endorsing the aims of Remember A Charity, and importantly, agree to ensure that their clients are aware of all their options for distributing their estate, including leaving a charitable legacy. In return, details of the adviser’s firm are listed on www.rememberacharity.org.uk
It is only by working together that we will be able to raise the profile of charitable legacies and ultimately increase the number of charitable wills.
You can find out more about the scheme at www.rememberacharity.org.uk/join