Institute of Training: Legacy giving could soon be the opportunity of a lifetime

The Legacy Promotion Campaign is a key part of the Institute. We share offices and ideas, and we work closely together to support fundraisers and encourage charitable giving across the UK. Legacies form the basis of numerous charities' core fundraising income, and our latest research project suggests there is real market potential for a new form of donation that could generate equally substantial donations - Lifetime Legacies.

Since their introduction in the United States more than 35 years ago, around $100bn has been donated to charity through lifetime legacies (known in the US as charitable remainder trusts). A donor invests capital for a fixed period, during which time the gift acquires interest, the donor receives an income and the remainder passes to the chosen charity at the end of the life of the trust.

The Lifetime Legacies Coalition, of which the Institute is an active member, is campaigning for tax changes so that lifetime legacies can be introduced to the UK. Our recent research project, run in partnership with the Institute for Philanthropy, sought to establish the views of fundraising organisations on this potential introduction.

The survey illustrates charities' overwhelming support for lifetime legacies and the work of the coalition. Out of 103 respondents, 100 identified potential benefits from the introduction of lifetime legacies in the UK, and 76 per cent believed that their organisation could benefit from this new form of giving.

Respondents identified a broad range of benefits, including the opportunities to establish long-term relationships with donors and increase donation levels. They would also profit from attracting new and often wealthier donors, and providing donors with a sophisticated, tax-effective way of giving.

The introduction of lifetime legacies in the UK is wholly reliant upon the introduction of tax breaks around these products, so the coalition's progress is absolutely vital. Eighty-two per cent of respondents voiced their support for the work of the Lifetime Legacies Coalition in lobbying for the introduction of these tax breaks.

The Institute is set to implement a lifetime legacy research project to study the use of lifetime legacies in the US. This will look at how donors and charities currently use this donation method.

The project will also consider the implications of lifetime legacies on the financial services and advisory profession in the UK, exploring the mechanics of implementing these tax-effective donation vehicles.

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