The annual income from charitable legacies has risen by 8% during 2014, according to new legacy giving data from Smee & Ford, released during Remember A Charity in your Will Week (7th-13th September 2015).
The latest figures show that legacy giving across England and Wales rose from £2.044 billion in 2013 to £2.208 billion in 2014, despite a 1% decrease in the number of people that died in the same period. The number of charities benefiting from donations is also increasing with 2,257 charities receiving legacy donations in 2014, an increase of 5% from 2013 and 29% since 2007.
Annual legacy giving figures across England, Scotland and Wales reveal that almost 35,000 people left 112,937 gifts to charity in their Wills in 2014, with supporters typically choosing to benefit three charities.
Legacy income has grown with donors giving a higher proportion (16.65%) of their estates to their chosen charities (up from 15.8% in 2013) and the total value of those estates rising from £12.7 billion to £13.3 billion, an increase of 4.7% from 2013 to 2014.
Over the long term, the number of charitable estates is on the rise, growing from 25,523 in 2007 to 34,967 in 2014, against the backdrop of a falling death rate, declining from 560,038 to 555,478 within the same timeframe.
One in six people (15.6%) whose Wills go to probate include a charity. People in England are most likely to include a charitable gift (particularly the South East), but the figures range from 16.2% of Wills probated in England to 14.2% in Wales and 11.15% in Scotland.
Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said: "Legacy income continues to flourish, with donors leaving a larger proportion of their estates to good causes and more charities benefiting than ever before.
“As the largest single source of voluntary income, the impact and importance of legacy giving cannot be underestimated. During Remember A Charity Week we have been working with Government, business and charities to support the sector to become loud about legacies.”
Sarah Stickland, Manager, at Smee & Ford added: “The latest figures from Smee & Ford demonstrate what a vital source of income legacies are. Not only has legacy income surpassed £2.2 billion for the first time ever, but more and more charities are receiving legacies.
“Analysing the Smee & Ford data also shows what the potential could be for legacies. By converting just 1% of non-charitable Wills to charitable, we could generate an additional £70 million in legacies each year. Increase that to 5% and we would see another £350 million. It’s an exciting thought, and this is why initiatives like Remember a Charity Week are so important. The sector needs to work together to demonstrate how important these gifts are, and how easy it is to remember a charity in your Will.”
Remember A Charity is one of the largest collaborative charity campaigns, involving more than 150 charities and almost 1,000 solicitors and Will-writing firms. It is backed by Government and the legal profession, with the support of the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, Scottish Government, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), The Law Society and the Law Society of Scotland. The campaign aims to make legacy giving a social norm.
Next steps to improve your charity’s legacy campaigns
Charity Choice is part of a charity information hub at Wilmington PLC which also includes Smee & Ford and Charity Financials. Charity Choice has been promoting legacy giving since 1988 and all of the current publications, which are Charity Choice UK, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, have all been specifically designed to enhance charities’ exposure to potential donors.
Charity Choice publications are widely recognised by probate solicitors as the leading charity reference books and are a unique resource specifically designed to maximise your charity’s legacy and donation income. As we work closely with Smee & Ford we can now even help charities track the return from their listings. If you would like more information on how we could help you increase your legacy income please call Steph Scanlon, on 0207 324 2372.