Research reveals changing attitude to legacy giving


New research from Remember A Charity reveals changing attitudes to legacy giving.

Eight nine per cent of survey respondents said that they would be proud and pleased to see their parents leave a gift to charity in their will, after they have looked after their family and friends. Just 7% outlined that they would see such a decision as ‘eccentric’.

The research was carried out to support Remember A Charity’s current awareness campaign into charitable legacies, which aims to normalise leaving gifts in wills and create talkability.

The research asked over 1000 people across the UK questions relating to their parents’ will, their attitudes to their inheritance and legacy giving and the types of charities they would be proud for their parents to support with a legacy.

According to the research, the cause areas which people would be most proud for their parents to consider are cancer and child welfare charities (63%).

The research suggests that growing levels of social awareness and charity mindedness are behind the trend. 80% of survey respondents considered themselves charitably minded while 72% have become more interested in social issues like international aid and the environment over the last five years.

Professor Cathy Pharoah, Co-Director of the ESRC Research Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School, said: “Families are an important place for passing on the values of giving, and this research shows that children can feel very proud of their parents' desire to support the causes they care about through legacies.

“Charitable legacies have the power to help shape the world for future generations. More people are making bequests to charities tackling the global challenges of the future, such as environmental causes, international development and cancer. Whether your legacy is small or large, it can protect the future of the local or global charitable work you most value.”

But while a new generation is happy to see their parents give money to charity in their will, the parents themselves are still playing catch-up.

Previous studies have found that for many having a family and wanting them to come first often means a charity is never considered – possibly because people incorrectly assume it’s an ‘all or nothing’ situation.

Stephen George, chair of Remember A Charity and head of legacies for the NSPCC commented: “This research flips the issue of charity-giving in wills on its head. Despite what many parents may think, it seems many of us are very happy to see a proportion of our parent’s estate go to charity.

"This perception gap may be why only 7% of the UK population have included a charitable gift in a will. If we could increase this to 11% - we could raise an extra £1 billion for UK charities and the vital work they do.”

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