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In-memory givers prove three times more likely to pledge a legacy

With legacy giving such a vital income source for so many charities, it was interesting to read of the link between giving in memory, and legacy pledges late last month.

Research carried out by Legacy Foresight, analysts of the legacy and in-memoriam sectors, revealed that remembrance is an important motivation for leaving a legacy, with supporters who had a known in-memory connection to a charity three times more likely to pledge a legacy to it. They were also twice as likely to be legacy prospects than standard regular donors giving via direct debit or standing order.

Remembrance also had an impact on how much people bequeathed. Residuary legacies (a gift given out of an estate once all debts, taxes and specific legacies have been paid) from those with a known in-memory connection were two-thirds greater in value, when compared with those left by supporters with no known in-memory connection, while pecuniary legacies (the gift of a specified amount) were double the size.

Legacy Foresight’s research showed that many people are leaving in-memory gifts in their wills too, with two in five legacy donors including at least one. Three out of five of these in-memory legacies had been preceded by a previous in-memory gift, with donations often made at or after a funeral.

Most were left in remembrance of parents, partners and in-laws, as well as friends, with three-quarters of in-memory legacies going to health-related charities.

The figures emphasise the importance of good donor stewardship during that long journey from giving in-memory or making a legacy pledge. And in fact, an earlier March 2019 survey by Legacy Foresight among its charity consortium members showed that 84% expected to be investing more in legacy stewardship over the next five years with 46% feeling it hadn’t yet become a big enough priority in their organisation.

The findings also included some tips on legacy stewardship, finding the best activities to be those that show the impact of their gift, while conveying magic, and surprising and delighting supporters. Many of the charities it questioned said they offered legacy supporters special ‘behind the scenes’ access with everything from invites to new ward openings at Great Ormond Street Hospital, to walks with a Guide Dog puppy.

It’s certainly food for thought, and for further reading, Legacy Foresight’s reports can be downloaded from its site.

Julie PentecostIn-memory givers prove three times more likely to pledge a legacy
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