In-memory donors three times more likely to leave legacies to the same charity

A Legacy Foresight study says donations given in memory of loved ones are a good indicator that someone will leave a legacy gift

People who have previously given donations in memory of loved ones are three times more likely than regular donors to leave legacies to the same charities in their own wills, new research shows.

The legacy consortium Legacy Foresight studied benchmarking data from 22 of its member charities and found that in-memory gifts were a good predictor of whether someone would leave a legacy gift.

A supporter with known in-memory connections was found to be three times more likely to pledge a legacy to the charity than a standard regular donor giving via direct debit.

The research found that the average value of a residual legacy for a known in-memory supporter was two-thirds higher than for a supporter with no known in-memory connection, and pecuniary legacies were twice the average left by those who had no in-memory connection.

A survey of 4,000 adults that was also carried out as part of the research found that two out of five legacy donors had included at least one gift in their own wills in memory of someone else and, of those who did, three out of five had previously given in-memory gifts to charities.

For the survey, in-memory gifts in wills were counted as those left in memory of partners, parents and in-laws, although friends can also been remembered, and three-quarters were for health charities.

Sue Pedley, head of donor research at Legacy Foresight, said: “We know that an in-memory motivated gift can bring significant benefits, both to a donor and the charity, including focus and a therapeutic outlet for grief, a new reason to get in touch and the inspiration for continued engagement.

“But there is now hard evidence to show that an in-memory relationship with a charity can also lay the foundation for a legacy gift.”

She said the research proved how important remembrance was as a motivation for legacy giving.

“We hope that this evidence will help make the case for greater, more thoughtful investment in in-memory fundraising throughout the sector,” she said.

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