Legacy giving up 43% in the past decade

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Our latest consumer benchmarking study, carried out by independent research firm OKO, shows that legacy giving has risen by 43% over the past decade, with 20% of UK charity supporters aged 40+ now saying they have left a charitable gift in their Will, compared with 14% in 2013.

The study* surveys more than 2,000 charity donors aged 40+ to track legacy giving attitudes and behaviour year-on-year, and found that one in five supporters said they had already included a charity in their Will (20%), with just over one in 10 saying they are preparing to do so (11%).

Alongside the steady rise in the proportion of people choosing to give from their Will over time, fewer than one in 10 were shown to reject the concept of legacy giving altogether (9%).

The tracking study, which follows Prochaska’s Stages of Change model, shows forward movement over the years from donors’ rejection and lack of awareness through to awareness, contemplation, preparation and action (leaving a gift).**

Lucinda Frostick, Director of Remember A Charity, said: “This continued growth in appetite for legacy giving is hugely encouraging and reflects the sector’s increased focus on fundraising for gifts in Wills over the past 10 years and more. It may take years – in some cases decades – for donations to filter through, but that income will be crucial in funding charitable services for generations to come.”

Other highlights from the research include:

  • Despite the economic climate, the large majority of all respondents (80%) said they were just as likely to leave a legacy as 12 months earlier, with twice as many people (14%) saying they were more likely to give than those saying they were less likely (6%).
  • Just under two thirds of people surveyed (63%) had already written a Will, with three in 10 of those having included a charitable donation (29%).
  • Those who are familiar with Remember A Charity are almost twice as likely to have left a gift in their Will as those who aren’t familiar – 32% compared to 17%.

Of all those who have pledged a gift in their Will, more than six in 10 (62%) haven’t let the charities know about their gift. Asked why that is, the most common reasons respondents gave were that it hadn’t occurred to them to tell the charity (46%) and that they couldn’t see how it would help the charity to know (30%).

Lucinda adds: “Knowing who has pledged a gift enables charities not only to budget for the future, but to thank supporters, understand more about their legacy motivations and tailor their communications to enhance the donor experience. This may well include avoiding making repeat legacy gift asks. Our research suggests that there’s a need for charities to articulate this message to supporters more clearly, encouraging those who have left a gift to let them know and making it easy to do so.”

Remember A Charity members can read the report in full here.

*OKO, Legacy Giving Consumer Benchmark Study

Commissioned by Remember A Charity, the consumer benchmark study explores the public’s attitudes to legacy giving, with regular surveys carried out since 2009. The latest survey was carried out by OKO in December 2022; an online survey of 2,003 charity supporters across the UK, aged 40+. The research has been carried out by OKO since 2021, and nfpSynergy before that.


**Stages of Change

The Stages of Change model features six levels: rejection of leaving a gift in their Will; pre-contemplation unaware – those who have never thought about it and are not sure if they would consider it, pre-contemplation aware – those who have thought about it and given it low consideration; contemplation - those who know about it and would consider leaving a gift; preparation – those who intend to give; and action - those who have already left a gift in their Will.