Barnardo's and Mencap change legacy fundraising policies after 'begging letters' complaint

Charity worker said 58 charities had asked for donations from his mother-in-law's estate even though she had left a list of named beneficiaries

Legacy fundraising has been criticised
Legacy fundraising has been criticised

Barnardo’s and Mencap have changed their policies on legacy fundraising after discovering they were among 58 different charities that contacted the same family to ask for donations from a legacy.

The charities PDSA and Mind have also confirmed that they are reviewing their approach to legacy fundraising.

Third Sector reported last week that Marcus Watkins, head of finance and administration at Christian Medical Fellowship, received letters from 58 charities asking for donations when he was appointed as an executor of his mother-in-law’s will.  

He said this caused him distress because his mother-in-law had left a list of named charities that she wanted to leave money to, but he felt he was being asked to override her wishes.

Barnardo’s, Mencap, PDSA and Mind all received Watkins’ contact details from a service provided by Smee and Ford, which notifies charities when a will refers to charitable donations.

A spokeswoman for Smee and Ford said she was unable to comment on whether the organisation might consider informing charities of the number of other charities it has passed the contact details of will executors to.

Third Sector approached these four charities because they were among the largest of the 58 charities.

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