National charities should determine where their most generous legacy givers are based in order to identify areas into which they might be able to expand, according to a new report by the legacy agency Smee & Ford.
Legacy Trends: Discovering Potential Through Data says that the most generous UK region for charitable legacies is south-east England and the least generous is west Scotland.
It says that when Independent Age, the charity that supports older people who are in poverty, benchmarked its legators geographically against those for the sector in general, it identified a number of differences in the areas of support.
"The trends can be used to verify areas where your charity is performing well or identify areas where there are high levels of charitable giving into which your charity can expand," it says.
It says that cancer research was the most popular cause for donations among people aged under 30, which means that charities with primarily younger supporters should focus on the research aspects of their work in their legacy marketing.
According to the paper, animal charities are the most popular cause for people aged between 41 and 90, hospices or hospitals are the favourite cause area for 31 to 40-year-olds, and places of worship are the domain of the over-90s. It says charities that appeal to these age ranges should tweak their legacy messaging accordingly.
The report says there is an average of 6.7 years between when someone produces their last will and when they die, but the most common time for people to write a charitable will is just one month before they die.
Charities should find out their own average "lapse time" using their organisation’s data, says the paper, because this can help them to identify when future legacy income might come in. Those that have not had many legacies in the past can look at charities with similar objects to them, or at those in similar cause areas, it says.