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Legacy income contributed a record total of £3.85bn to UK charities in 2022, and is likely to remain stable over the coming years, according to a new report by Legacy Foresight.
The consultancy’s Legacy Market Outlook 2023-2027 says that there were 131,000 bequests per year between 2018 and 2022. It predicts that this could rise to around 145,000 by 2027, due to a forecasted increase in the death rate.
However, current economic conditions including lower house prices will mean that the average value of individual gifts is likely to drop by around 3% between 2022 and 2024. This would mean that the total value of legacies would remain stable although Legacy Foresight says that in its most pessimistic scenario, total income might fall by 5% in this time.
The report also notes that the legacy market has grown by an average of roughly 2.8% each year over the last decade, but this is primarily due to the size of gifts increasing, rather than the total number of bequests.
Ashley Rowthorn, Group CEO at Legacy Futures, says:
“While the forecast remains promising, this is not a time for complacency. The charity legacy market is becoming increasingly competitive with more organisations entering this space and, despite the volume of legacies increasing, the average gift value is likely to decrease, at least in the short term. Charities will need to understand market conditions, how these are affecting their supporters and be relevant in their fundraising to secure legacy income for the future.”
More legacy interest
Separately, a report from Remember A Charity finds 20% of charity supporters aged 40+ saying they have now included a charity in their will, compared with 14% in 2013.
Of those who have pledged a gift in their will, 62% say they had not let the charity know about the gift. The most common reason for this were that it had not occurred to them to tell the charity (46%), and that they could not see how this information would help the charity (30%).
Lucinda Frostick, Director of Remember A Charity, comments:
“This continued growth in appetite for legacy giving is hugely encouraging and reflects the sector’s increased focus on fundraising for gifts in wills over the past 10 years and more. It may take years – in some cases decades – for donations to filter through, but that income will be crucial in funding charitable services for generations to come.”
Elsewhere in Europe, a recent report by Austria’s Fundraising Verband Europe found that legacy income had increased by 140% in the past ten years, reaching a total value of €120m. It also showed that there is increasing awareness and interest in this form of giving in the country.
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