A new report says organisations have a limited amount of time to access increased funds
This is according to a new joint report released this week by Remember A Charity, Legacy Foresight, the Institute of Legacy Management and Smee & Ford.
Expectations are that the substantial uplift in demand for will-writing coupled with the scale of inheritance anticipated from the baby boomer generation has created an exceptional opportunity for longer-term legacy growth. But the report also conveys a sense of urgency; a limited timeframe in which charities can act to benefit from this growth, emphasising the need for charities to continue to communicate the importance of legacies both within and beyond their supporter base.
With over 10,000 charities named in wills each year, the legacy market is an increasingly competitive space, making it all the more important for fundraisers to focus not only on market share, but on working together to grow the market and inspire future generations to leave a gift in their Will.
While legacy income is expected to double in real terms over the next 30 years, the report highlights that it is the prevalence of legacy giving – the volume of donations – that will be critical in driving future market growth.
Allan Freeman, chair of Remember A Charity, said: “The pandemic has had a devastating impact on charitable income, lives and livelihoods, making gifts in wills all the more important for the sector’s recovery. But it’s also brought us to a pivotal moment when it comes to growing legacy giving.
“At the cusp of the biggest intergenerational wealth transfer of all time, we’re seeing a marked increase in the public’s appetite for will-writing. This is a unique opportunity not only to normalise legacy giving, but to develop a more resilient financial core.”
The report, Strengthening Charities’ Resilience with Legacies, explores how gifts in wills – raising an estimated £3.1 billion this year – have given charities greater resilience and stability during the pandemic.
Featuring in-depth insights from 12 legacy experts and findings from a survey of over 120 charity sector representatives, the report looks at the impact of the pandemic, with recommendations for the ways in which charities can strengthen their legacy fundraising programmes during times of uncertainty.
Legacy fundraisers highlight the importance of being agile, adapting their legacy fundraising activities and messaging in line with the wider environment. They emphasise the need to demonstrate particular sensitivity and care for supporters, making greater use of digital channels, offering support for Will-writing, and having the whole organisation, particularly trustees and senior management, supporting the drive for legacies.
Meg Abdy, development director, Legacy Foresight, said: “Legacy incomes will continue to hold up during the current crisis while many other income streams are plummeting. That resilience makes legacy income fundamental to charities’ sustainability during the pandemic, and through the tough years that lie ahead.
“For many donors, leaving a gift in their will is the ultimate expression of a lifetime of support. To demonstrate that you need – and indeed deserve – that gift, your charity must continue to prove your relevance, show your appreciation and build personal connections.”
Matthew Lagden, CEO, Institute of Legacy Management, said: “This report highlights two things that ILM believes passionately. Legacies are, and will continue to be, a vitally important income stream, and that the skills, commitment and passion of legacy professionals from all backgrounds is essential in sustaining this income. We hope that it will further our shared goal of increasing legacy income across the sector, and that it will promote a greater appreciation of the hard work of legacy teams across the sector.”
Polly Avgherinos, managing director, Smee & Ford, said: “Over the past 20 years, we have witnessed a positive change in legacy giving, with the number of people leaving a gift to charity, the value of charitable estates and the resulting value of charitable gifts in wills all growing strongly. Despite the challenges of this year, the combined data and insight in this report clearly demonstrate that legacies will remain a significant and growing source of income for the future.”