The Rise in Bequeathing Charities in the UK

By September 13, 2018Grant management
Brits have left £2.85 billion to charity in their wills

Leaving money in your will seems like something only the rich and famous does and talking about your will with your friends and family is seen as a taboo issue. That being said, it seems things are changing as the results of a new study have been released in the UK.

This week (10-16 September) is ‘Remember a Charity in Your Will Week’, which is an annual awareness week in the UK. It tries to bring awareness to the benefits there can be if more people were to bequeath a charity in their wills. It says on their webpage;

Three-quarters of Britons regularly give to charity in their lifetimes, yet only 6% currently include a charity when writing a Will. Nevertheless, gifts in Wills are still the foundation of many of Britain’s charities, creating almost £2 billion each year, the equivalent of 19 Comic Reliefs. Without this income, many charities would simply not exist and others would have to cut crucial services.

As this week commence, new figures were released on the UK giving trends and a whopping £2.85 billion was left to charity last year. This has risen 40% in the last 5 years from £2 billion – that’s the equivalent of 39 Red Nose Days!

The average amount donated in each will is £3,300 (€3,696) to an average of 3 different charities. With the most popular charities being Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, and the British Heart Foundation. Despite these charities being the most popular nationwide, different places in the UK have different interests at heart. Protecting endangered animals was a priority in Glasgow and Brighton, whilst in Leeds, 40% of people supported cat charities.

Remember A Charity is a collaboration of 200 UK charities, who together encourage people to donate to a charity in their wills, “once they’ve looked after family and friends”. They teach people of the benefits, not only for the charities but for themselves (for example, less heritage tax for their loved ones) and help them choose the right charity for their donations.

The Director of Remember A Charity, Rob Cope, says;

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see the collective amount gifted to charities in Wills rise, as it genuinely has a huge impact – for example, legacies fund six in 10 lifeboat launches and two in three guide dogs.

“However, there’s still a job to be done before gifting in Wills becomes the norm. At Remember A Charity, we work with over 200 charities – both big and small – to encourage those writing a Will not only to consider leaving a gift to charity in their Will after they’ve taken care of friends and family but also to have that conversation openly with loved ones.

“It doesn’t matter how much you leave, even a small amount can make such a big difference – whether it’s helping with research into curing life-threatening diseases or taking care of endangered species.”

This rise in giving is a huge step in the right direction but so much more could be done. The figures show that if just 1% of non-charitable estates bequeathed a charity in their will, an additional £97 million could be raised each year. But for now, 1 in 5 charities receive income from peoples wills of over £500,000. This has already risen from 1,679 organisations in 2007/08 to 2,599 today. The UK is moving in the right direction, we just hope that it stays on this course.

Read more here.

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