Everyone Of Your Donors Will Die – And That’s The Good News!

And if you want the bad news look no further: 93% of people don’t leave a legacy to charity. Those that do manage to leave over £2.24 billion, so just imagine the amount if even 10% did this, say, 120 new Children in Needs!

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to change those statistics and why wouldn’t you want to massively increase your organisation’s income. Could it be that we suspect that we will only be befitting the next fundraiser’s income or the one after that?

Some of us do a little – reminding people gently, sending out a will-making guide and praying – and some do a lot like this excellent legacy ad from RNLI: Your Legacy Could Be A Lifesaver:


Or Greenpeace’s legendary beer mat campaign:


Legacy campaigns I have been involved with tend to favour free will-making weeks or, like RNLI, months; but is the fact it costs money to have a solicitor make out your will really what puts people off? And is that the best angle to run a campaign? Perhaps it would be more effective to run ‘make out your will’ days with a solicitor on hand to give advice and help out. One thing you can be sure of is that it is far more effective to be left a percentage of the residue of a will, when loved ones have been taken care of, than it is to receive a lump sum which can be paltry by comparison.

Maybe it is merely facing up to our own mortality that puts us off; but if that is really so perhaps we should campaign for the making of a will to be compulsory or any money left goes to the Big Lottery. Well, say 10% at least, and may I suggest that we also start a campaign for anyone leaving over £1m in their will to have 5% automatically go to charity. Either a charity they specify or into a fund. Indeed, the Big Lottery Fund could supervise that money too.

Surprisingly, 35% say that they would leave a charitable gift in their will, after taking care of family etc. but only 7% do that. So, maybe the opposition would not be too great.

Yes, I have made out my will and no, I’m not going to tell you to whom I have my money.

All statistics in this blog are from nfpSynergy, the excellent research consultancy for non-profits.

John Baguley, Chair Group IFC