Campaign Chair calls on political party leaders to support legacy giving

5 June 2017

Alex McDowell, Chair of Remember A Charity, writes to the leaders of the UK’s main political parties ahead of the 2017 General Election, calling on them to support legacy giving. 


Dear Political Party Leaders,

Helping the British public support our communities in the next Parliament

I am writing to you ahead of the General Election to ask you to do even more to help the British public support the communities, causes and charities they passionately care about.

We are a charitable nation, with more than three-quarters of us choosing to support good causes in our lifetime.  What’s more, Remember A Charity research[1] shows that 35% of the UK are also ‘happy to give a small amount to charity in their Will’ once they’d taken care of family and friends.

The problem is that only 6.3% of the public turn this positive intention to give through their Will[2].

Why is this important?

Despite the relatively low level of legacy giving, legacy income is currently worth more than £2.5 billion a year to good causes, representing 12% of all voluntary income[3]

In other words, many of the UK’s best loved charities would not be able to improve lives and communities without gifts in Wills.

For example, legacies fund a third of all Cancer Research’s UK life-saving work; launch six in ten lifeboats; and fund two in three guide dogs. What’s more, a growing number of smaller, local charities are also able to make an even bigger difference by the kindness of individuals who chose to support their favourite causes through their Wills.

Remember A Charity represents almost 200 UK charities and more than 1,000 legal firms who work together to help increase legacy giving levels.

We are confident that there are three actions that will help more people to be able to give through their Will:

  1. Development of a fiscal incentive (to leave a charitable gift) for individuals whose estates do not attract IHT
  1. Encouraging all solicitors to provide charitable options during the Will-writing process
  1. Designing employer incentives to promote charitable Will-writing to staff and customers

Further details about each of these recommendations can be found in the enclosed briefing paper. Please don’t hesitate to contact Remember A Charity for additional information.

Thank you for taking the time to consider the points outlined in this letter, and for your support for the work of Britain’s charities.

I hope that you agree with us about the important role philanthropy and in particular, gifts in wills can play in building a stronger, more resilient charitable sector and will work with Remember A Charity and our members to help achieve this goal.
Yours sincerely,

Alex McDowell

Chair, Remember A Charity


[1] TNS, 2008

[2] Smee & Ford, 2016

[3] NCVO Almanac, 2017