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Legacies provide a quarter of all fundraised income for top charities

The latest Charity Financials Top 100 Fundraisers Spotlight report, sponsored by M&G Investments, reveals that legacy income makes up a quarter of all fundraised income for the largest fundraising charities in the UK.

The report, written by Cathy Pharoah at the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, finds that the top 100 fundraised a total of £5.6 billion in 2016/17; voluntary donations represent 52% of this figure, followed by a quarter from legacies. Other activities, such as fundraising events, donated goods and gifts in kind make up the rest.

Second most valuable income stream

In 2016/17, legacy income totalled £1.43 billion for the top 100 fundraisers, which was the second largest income stream overall, even outperforming statutory income at £1.08 billion and charitable activity at £1.04 billion. Voluntary donations, however, were the top earner for these organisations, which collectively generated £2.92 billion.

The charity with the biggest income from legacies was Cancer Research UK, which earned £187 million in 2016/17, followed by the RNLI, which generated £131 million.

Legacy impact on growing charities

The report also looks at the fastest-growing fundraising charities, which represent a mix of causes and strongly reflect issues of high profile public concern and media attention.

The Woodland Trust came in at number 46 on top 100 table, following a major legacy in 2015/16 of £9 million, a donation which suggests that environment causes may have an increasing place on the legacy map. It also won a Lottery grant of £2.3 million.

Crisis, number 66 in the top 100, reported its worries about a forthcoming deficit as demand for its services in the current housing shortage potentially outstripped its ability to supply services proved unfounded. This is probably due partly to the increased publicity we have seen around the UKs housing problems. Individual donations to Crisis reached 4.6 million, a legacy of £1.3 million was received, and its Christmas campaign brought in £1.3 million.

Relationships with the public

These results reinforce just how important it is for the major charities to maintain a relationship of trust, goodwill and respect with the public. Unfortunately, it is precisely because of the high element of trust in charity brands that any problems in one fundraising charity has such a widespread and damaging effect on the sector as a whole.

This means that individual charities will have to counter any negative perceptions in their supporters through strong reinforcement of the needs it meets, emphasising the value of its services to beneficiaries.

To download the full Charity Financials Top 100 Fundraisers report, click here.

To find out how your organisation can get ahead of the curve in legacy fundraising, book your place at the UKs only strategy-focused legacy conference, held on 14 June in London.

Legacy Strategy Summit - 14 June 2018

Legacy Strategy Summit

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