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Legacy donations deliver £90m annual boost for Scottish sector, report reveals

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Each week, 47 people in Scotland leave a gift to charity in their will

Charities in Scotland are raising more than £90 million a year from gifts in wills, a new report has revealed.

Remember A Charity, Legacy Foresight, the Institute of Legacy Management and Smee & Ford have partnered to publish a study on legacy giving in Scotland.

The new report, Building back stronger with charitable legacies, explores the role of legacies for Scottish charities in the current environment, featuring new market data and commentary from experts in the field.

It reveals that legacy income to Scottish charities has been growing at an average of 7% per year, exceeding the 4.6% average growth rate for charities in England and Wales. A vibrant legacy market, around 500 Scottish charities benefit from gifts in wills each year and almost two thirds of those are smaller charities and community-based organisations (64%).

Although it is estimated that just 50 registered Scottish charities generate the lion’s share (70%) of legacy income, the market is broadening. From 2013 to 2018, there was an 18% increase in the number of Scottish charities named in wills.

Each week, 47 people in Scotland leave a gift to charity in their will. However, consumer polling indicates that there is far greater growth potential, with 42% of people in Scotland aged 40+ saying they would be happy to give in this way.

Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity – a consortium of 200 charities, said: “The Scottish legacy market is at a tipping point. On the verge of the biggest international wealth transfer in history, Scottish supporters seem to be feeling even more closely connected to the good causes they care about, with more and more people choosing to leave a gift in their will.

“Legacy giving may be less prevalent currently in Scotland, but consumer studies show that Scottish people are even more willing to consider leaving a gift than those south of the border. So, there’s an even greater opportunity for growth and for the sector to work together to normalise gifts in wills. And, as the sector builds back from the pandemic stronger and more resilient, that income will be all the more vital.”

Meg Abdy, development director at Legacy Foresight, added: “Over the past two decades the number of Scottish charitable estates has grown by over a quarter, while the value of those estates has trebled.

“This means a lot more money for the causes Scottish people care about, whether that’s at a local level or to help those in need on the other side of the world. Looking ahead, these trends are set to continue; creating huge opportunities for those charities with the ambition to convey their legacy vision to a new generation of legacy donors.”

This is the first collaborative report on the Scottish legacy market from the four legacy bodies. Featuring insight from Scottish legacy experts, the report includes recommendations for the ways in which charities can strengthen their legacy fundraising programmes during times of uncertainty.

You can access the full report online.



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