Legacy income: is it worth pursuing?
Leaving a gift in your will is essentially the last and perhaps most meaningful donation you will give to charity in your lifetime. When fundraisers talk about the donor journey, leaving a legacy is at the top of the pyramid and one that we aspire to.
But in reality how valuable is legacy income and can it grow in Northern Ireland?
The findings of NICVA’s latest Individual Research report shows that only 2% of individuals have made a legacy pledge, 3% would consider leaving a legacy, whilst the remainder have no plans and what’s more, 66% said that nothing would encourage them to make a legacy pledge.
So why the big fuss over legacy fundraising?
The fact is every year in the UK £2 billion is raised through legacies, to put that in context, that is almost six Children In Need campaigns!
Local health charities report up to 50% of their voluntary income coming from legacy giving. The average pecuniary legacy gift is £3,000 and £30,000 for residuary gifts. There is an opportunity to increase a charity’s income significantly by only a small percent rise of people giving this way.
So what can we do to capitalise on this opportunity?
In NICVA’s survey respondents were asked ‘What would encourage them to leave a legacy?’
The top two answers at 9% each were:
‘Outline how your legacy will be spent’
‘Have better communication on legacy giving’
In my opinion it is up to each and every charity to highlight how funds can leave a lasting gift, in a very personal way. And charities can come together to encourage legacy giving.
This is where Will to Give can help.
Will to Give is a group of charities in Northern Ireland working together to encourage people to write their Will and to promote gifts in wills to their favourite charity or charities. Will to Give also encourage solicitors to ask their clients if they would consider leaving a charitable gift in their will when they are preparing it.
A recent report from Remember a Charity showed that when solicitors told clients that leaving a gift to charity was an option, the percentage who did so increased from 5 to 10%. When clients were asked if there were any charities they were passionate about, gifts rose again to 15%. So, in real terms, does this mean that a ‘nudge’ from solicitors could mean an extra £4 billion a year for charities?
There are challenges to promoting legacy giving but with every challenge comes an opportunity.