Legacy income for local charities has grown at more than double the rate of national charities over the past five years, according to a report published today by Legacy Foresight.
The 2011 Legacy Market Snapshot analysed the growth of legacy income of the 879 largest legacy charities drawn from the CaritasData database between 2005/06 and 2009/10. Over the period, legacy income for local charities such as wildlife trusts and hospices grew at an average of 5.4 per cent a year compared with 2.5 per cent a year for national organisations.
The report says that "contemporary" causes such as international development and conservation had enjoyed good legacy growth, while more traditional causes such as disability and religion had seen their incomes stagnate or decline.
Meg Abdy, director of Legacy Foresight, said that part of the reason for the growth of legacy income for local charities might be that they were doing more marketing. She added: "There is also a generation coming through who have the confidence to go for things that matter to them on a personal level. There’s a tangibility and relevance to those charities as often people have had direct experience of them."
Legacy Foresight predicts that in the coming years the arts and education sectors will grow strongly. "If they can get their legacy messages and strategies right, they may represent a serious threat to charity legacy fundraisers," the report says.
The report warns that the outlook for the legacy market remained "subdued and precarious" over the next few years. "According to our central forecasts, real legacy incomes will grow by less than 1 per cent a year over the next four years," it says.
But the longer-term outlook is stronger because the number of people dying and leaving legacies is expected to grow. By 2030, there will be 615,000 deaths in the UK compared with 560,000 this year, the report says.