With legacies amounting to nearly €1billion a year for charities in France, a France générosités study has shown that 78% of the over 50s have considered how they might divide their estate, with 9% of this age group planning to pass at least part of it to an association or foundation.
The study, conducted by L’ObSoCo and presented at France générosités’s conference on 5 November, questioned 6,000 people aged 50 and above with the objective of finding out more about how this age group intend to leave their estate.
It found that 64% had already decided on their course of action. However, only 15% had made a Will, with 34% saying they would do so in the future.
Of the 9% who plan to pass part of their estate to an association or a foundation, 31% plan to do so by bequest, 17% through their life insurance, and 13% through both. 38% remain undecided.
The study found that although money can be left to a not-for-profit organisation in both these ways in France, 16% of respondents were unaware that they could do so through a bequest and 19% through life insurance. And, while more than 1 in 2 seniors have at least one life insurance contract, only 1% have taken one out with the aim of giving to an association or a foundation.
The study also investigated barriers to donating and found they included lack of trust in organisations – a stumbling block for 59% of respondents who either plan to give or are as yet undecided, along with fear of the potential costs, which is a barrier for 43%, and not knowing who to give to (42%).
Top causes are the protection of animals (37% of respondents, including 19% who position it as their first choice), medical research (also 37%), and child protection (29%).
Motivations for giving include preferring assets go to an association or a foundation rather than to the State (91% of people who wish to pass on to a nonprofit organisation), and already being in contact with these organisations through donating, volunteering, or because they were among their beneficiaries.
On average, the study found, those who had already decided to leave all or part of their estate to an association or foundation took the decision at the average age of 54.
However, 20% of French people who want to pass on all or part of their heritage to a charitable cause do not yet know which association or foundation to give to. In answer to this, France générosités has created the Infodon.fr site, which is designed to answers common questions about giving, and to connect people with relevant associations and foundations that they might wish to give to.
Nolwenn Poupon, head of studies commented:
“Legacies are a strategic resource for French NGOs so it was obvious for France générosités to lead a study into the over-50s and their plans to benefit an association or foundation in their Will. The findings have highlighted two clear priorities: the need to better communicate the capacity of charities to benefit from Wills, and secondly to reinforce trust in charities amongst the French.”