Legacy income accounted for 11% of voluntary income in Ireland between 2012-2014, according to figures from Persuasion Republic, but saw an annual decline.


A year-on-year comparison indicates that total legacy income fell over the three years from €19.6m (2012) to €15m (2013) to €10.3m (2014), although some charities received a far greater proportion of their income from legacies than others.


Persuasion Republic surveyed 27 well-known Irish charities, with 22 of those providing data on legacy income. For one charity surveyed on income, legacy giving accounted for up to 39% of its voluntary income. The top three causes for legacy income over the three-year period were overseas aid, which received €20.8m in total, health, hospices and hospitals (€10.2m), and children’s charities (€7.6m).


The charities surveyed received a total of 1,612 bequests between 2012-2014, with an overall value of €44,952,559. Individual bequests ranged from €20 to €7m, and property was the main form of non-monetary bequest received.


Less than half of the charities surveyed (44%) had a legacy pledge programme however, while 26% had an In Memoriam programme, and 19% had both in place. Just under a third of respondents had a partnership with legacy advisors, such as solicitors, accountants, and financial/wealth advisers, while 26% employed either a full-time or part-time legacy manager.


Despite this, the research shows confidence among fundraisers in Ireland in relation to legacy fundraising, with nearly two-thirds stating that they were either ‘fairly experienced’ or ‘experienced’ in legacy fundraising. Of the three charities with the highest cumulative legacy income between 2012-2014, two employed a full-time legacy fundraiser and one employed a part-time legacy fundraiser.


John Sutton, Agency Director at Persuasion Republic said:

“Our research highlights the diverse nature of legacy giving in Ireland. With legacy fundraising accounting for over 30% of total voluntary income for some Irish charities, the importance of legacy fundraising should not be underestimated. By developing their legacy fundraising now, charities are investing in their future financial sustainability.”