Free will services are doomed, conference hears

Schemes that draw up wills for free will die out, to be replaced by more sustainable versions within five years, the head of legacy promotion coalition Remember a Charity said at the Institute of Fundraising Scotland conference yesterday.

“I predict that there will be no such thing in future,” Jonathan Parris told delegates at the conference, held in Glasgow. “It will be binned by charities. It doesn’t appeal to the altruistic motivations of donors – it appeals to the basic motivation of having a free service. The majority of free wills involve no gift or only a token gift. There will be a flourish next year when a new scheme launches, then it will die out.”

He predicted that more consortia would be pursuing legacies within five years. Scottish charities could set up their own consortium to promote legacy giving to charities north of the border, and it could be similar to Remember a Charity, he said.

Parris also predicted that a change in Chancellor Alistair Darling’s Budget would bring more specialist will writers into the will-writing market, meaning that fewer wills would be written by solicitors.

Legacy fundraisers would soon form part of the core fundraising team at many charities, rather than being part of a separate department, he added. “The silos will be demolished; they are counter-productive,” he said. “One day a charity will do a legacy-only appeal.”

Parris also said that legacies would become a more important source of cost-effective giving, that volunteers would be used to ask for legacies and that the small charity sector would increase its legacy income faster than large charities.

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