Fears of being 'bombarded' deter almost two-thirds of people from telling charities about legacy gifts

A survey by the marketing data company fastmap was presented at the Institute of Fundraising's legacy conference

Almost two-thirds of people would be putting off from telling a charity of plans to leave it a legacy gift by fears of being "bombarded" with communications, a survey has found.

The survey, which was carried out by the marketing data company fastmap and presented at the Institute of Fundraising's legacy fundraising conference in London yesterday, found that 62 per cent of people said the worry of being inundated with charity communications might deter them from letting a charity know that they had included it in a will.

The online survey of 1,000 people over the age of 50 found that 81 per cent of respondents would not tell the charity because they considered it to be a private matter, and 61 per cent said the possibility that they might change their mind would stop them notifying the charity.

Survey participants were shown a list of reasons that might put them off from notifying a charity about their intention to leave a legacy and asked to indicate any or all that applied.

The survey also found that 41 per cent of people said they would tell a charity if they decided to leave a legacy – but only 27 per cent of those who had actually pledged to leave a gift had already let the charity know.

Women were more concerned about receiving excessive communications than men, the survey found, with 68 per cent of female respondents saying it might put them off telling a charity, compared with 58 per cent of men.

But charities could tackle the problem of people being unwilling to tell them about pledged gifts, the survey results suggested.

Almost half (45 per cent) of people said they would be more likely to tell the charity if they thought it would help the charity to make the best use of the money, the survey found, and 35 per cent said they would be more likely to reveal the gift if they understood how their money would make a difference.

David Cole, managing director of fastmap, said: "This does get over the fact that legacy is a two-way thing.

"Think about information you can provide that would reassure and motivate them to link something perhaps emotionally back to the individual that could encourage them to make that commitment of at least telling you that they plan to give a gift."

He said fundraisers might need to consider being more cautious about how they communicated with people who had pledged to leave legacy gifts as a result of the survey.

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