Charities’ legacy income in the UK is expected to hold up well in comparison to other income streams as the current COVID-fuelled crisis continues, analysis by Legacy Foresight suggests.
In its Legacy Market Briefing 2020 report, Legacy Foresight shares insights about the current shape of the UK sector as well as some key long-term trends, based on analysis from its Legacy Monitor benchmarking programme and its consortium of over 80 not-for-profit organisations.
It predicts that over the next ten years, legacy income will grow by 37% in current prices, to reach £4.7billion in 2029. This is lower than the 59% growth seen between 2009 and 2019 following the last global financial crisis, but still represents real terms growth of 16%.
Legacy Foresight’s report also highlights a change in terms of where the growth will come from. Whereas in the past 30 years much growth has been due to a buoyant economy, now, in an era of heightened economic and social uncertainty, it expects growth over the next decade to be primarily driven by the numbers of gifts received.
In fact, the number of charitable bequests across the UK is predicted to rise by 23%, from 118,000 to 145,000, fuelled by a rapidly rising death rate and growing interest in leaving a gift in a Will.
Meg Abdy, development director at Legacy Foresight, said:
“Over the past three decades legacy incomes have grown six-fold; and after taking inflation into account, incomes have trebled in real terms. That growth trajectory is likely to continue; we expect legacy incomes to double in real terms over the next thirty years.”
“Perhaps most importantly, legacy incomes will continue to hold up during the current crisis while many other income streams are plummeting. The number of gifts you receive, and in many cases their value, is not a reflection of donors’ current desire or capacity to give but is determined by supporter relationships forged over many years. That resilience makes legacy income fundamental to your charity’s sustainability during the pandemic, and through the tough years that lie ahead.”
Some charities are seeing faster legacy income growth than others, specifically those founded after 1970. Out of the top 1,000 charities for legacy income, the average charity in this bracket receives just £1.2m p.a. in legacy income. However, that income has grown by 7.8% per annum over the past five years. Medium (charities receiving £1-8m in legacy income a year) and large (£8-20m a year) legacy charities are reporting the fastest five-year growth rates, of 7.9% and 6.9% per annum respectively.
Health is the largest legacy sector, receiving 38% of the total income per year. Other important sectors are animal charities (15%), international development (9%), conservation (7%), and disability (7%). Meanwhile, on its own the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) accounts for a further 5%.
The fastest growing sectors are international development, with a 9.4% per annum growth rate, armed forces, animal and health charities.