Fundraising: Two in three people want to leave charity legacies

The Remember a Charity consortium has published research suggesting that 68 per cent of UK adults want to leave their mark on the world by including a donation to charity in their wills.

The consortium, which includes more than 140 charities, commissioned its study through the market research agency GfK NOP to find out if people could be motivated to leave donations by the concept of 'leaving their mark'.

"The results are hugely encouraging," said Jonathan Parris, director of Remember a Charity. "Charitable legacies are the largest single source of voluntary income for UK charities, raising more than £1.3bn each year."

Currently, one in seven wills that have gone to probate include a charitable donation. The consortium hopes its current I Will, Will You? interactive TV and press advertising campaign will increase this figure.

Because donations to charity fall outside the donor's estate for inheritance tax purposes, such donations can reduce inheritance tax and make more money available for other beneficiaries.

Remember a Charity's findings come as the Halifax, the UK's biggest mortgage lender, announced that the number of people subject to inheritance tax is set to triple by 2020. The bank predicts that 3.1 million more homeowners will be liable to legacy penalties within the next 15 years.

Respondents to the survey included younger adults who are unlikely to have considered making wills. The Institute of Fundraising will use the findings to inform future marketing activity and help identify potential donors.

"There is a far greater propensity to give among future and potential legacy donors," said Parris. "By working together as a group, Remember a Charity can reach audiences that are beyond the reach of lone charities, such as solicitors and other intermediaries who have a role to play in promoting charitable legacies."

Solicitors are encouraged to make potential donors aware of the tax benefits of a donation to charity when making a will.

Will-planning forms already include a prompt to remind solicitors and legators of such benefits.

- Legacies to the Methodist Fund for World Mission reached £779,000 in the year to 31 August 2005, doubling the sum from the year before and taking total giving to its highest level for three years.

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