Voluntary Sector: Charities urged to act on wills

Research shows that just 20 per cent of the public plans to leave money to charities.

Charities have been urged to do more to promote 'legacy giving' as research reveals that nearly three in four people do not intend to leave money to charity in their wills.

The survey of more than 1,000 adults, commissioned by finance company Standard Life and carried out by ICM Research, showed that 71 per cent of respondents did not plan to include charities in their wills - up one per cent from two years ago. Conversely, just 20 per cent said they had plans to donate to charity via their will, dropping from 22 per cent two years ago.

The news comes as Remember a Charity prepares for another Remember a Charity Week, which will take place from 12 to 18 September, aimed at convincing people to leave cash to good causes in their wills. A total of 140 charities signed up to take part in the first organised week last year.

Remember a Charity director Rob Cope responded to the new findings by admitting that not enough was being done by the charity profession.

'These findings show why we all need to be noisier about legacies,' said Cope. 'Voluntary sector PR professionals need to do more to promote gifts in wills to supporters. Ambassadors and spokespeople should also be encouraged to drip-feed the legacy message as part of the regular ask.'

Cope welcomed the Chancellor's move to provide a ten per cent inheritance tax break for people who leave ten per cent or more of their estates to charity.

Action for Children head of legacies and supporter insight Patrick Johnson advised charities to take an 'extremely personal, sensitive, and targeted approach'. He said: 'We focus on targeting our closest donors, making every effort to ensure they feel valued and, when the time is right, speaking to them about the option of leaving a legacy.'

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