Sunday, 21 April 2024
Sunday, 21 April 2024

5 reasons to support community causes in Free Wills Month

By Rosemary Macdonald, CEO at UK Community Foundations

FREE Wills Month occurs every March, where participating financial practices and national charities provide members of the public with the opportunity to complete a simple Will, free of charge.

According to Remember A Charity, 54% of adults in the UK have not yet written their Will. This can potentially leave complicated outcomes for loved ones and missed chances to leave a legacy of support for causes close to the heart.

Writing a Will can feel daunting, so Free Wills Month is a perfect time to learn more about legacy giving while being under no obligation to donate to the charity or business offering the free service. It allows individuals the space and autonomy to think about their legacy and what they want to be remembered for.

One option is to donate towards a cause or place, rather than a single well-known charity or trust. Grassroots community organisations are often led and run by volunteers or a handful of employees. Unlike larger institutions bound by bureaucracy and administrative overheads, grassroots organisations can quickly pivot their programmes and services to address emerging needs. Yet, they’re often overlooked when it comes to creating a Will.

Here are five reasons why individuals might choose to leave a legacy to community causes:

1. To create a personal connection that lives on

Creating a legacy donation to local causes allows us to have a tangible and personal impact on our community. So, whether you have connections to specific organisations that have supported family or friends, or a cause that is close to your heart, leaving a legacy is a great idea and one you will be remembered for. Setting up a legacy fund in your Will, managed by your local community foundation, enables family and friends to connect around these important causes. To preserve local identity and cultural heritage

2. To preserve local identity and cultural heritage

The UK boasts a rich tapestry of cultural heritage, varying from town to town, coast to coast. Wherever we feel a connection towards, creative groups and clubs celebrate local identity and contribute to the places we all call home. These groups bring people of all ages and backgrounds together to be a part of something bigger, so leaving a legacy to these activities helps to secure cultural heritage in the future.

3. To strengthen the social fabric of a community

Giving to an area we feel a connection to often brings with it a sense of belonging, solidarity and civic pride. By investing in local projects such as community gardens, sports clubs or community centres, you can support local people to actively participate in shaping the future of their communities. Collective responsibility, with the right support, leads to community cohesion and resilience, especially in the face of economic challenges or social disruptions.

4. To drive sustainable development and social responsibility

Local community organisations often spearhead initiatives that focus on developing communities, addressing critical issues like environmental conservation, sustainable development and social justice. Working at the grass roots of communities, they contribute to the UK’s wider efforts to reduce inequality, combat climate change, tackle food insecurity and promote social inclusion. Leaving a legacy in your Will could be as simple as directing your local community foundation to fund environmental groups that safeguard green spaces, or small charities that support underrepresented communities, in your area.

5. To nurture local wellbeing

Giving to local causes can feel very personal when we have benefited from, or missed out on, a type of nurturing. In an era of austerity measures and budget restraints, small and nimble community organisations can meet the holistic needs in areas often overlooked by centralised funding. Charitable bequests can help to bridge these gaps, ensuring that essential services such as mental health groups and social prescribing projects remain in place for the long term. Community foundations work with many individuals who feel passionate about giving back to organisations that have helped them through life. Leaving a legacy to provide future support is a great way of saying ‘thank you’.

Receiving legacy donations – either directly or via a community foundation – enables these smaller, more agile organisations to innovate, experiment and tailor their initiatives to meet the evolving needs of local communities. This flexibility empowers them to make a meaningful difference, not just today, but for generations to come.

So, make the most of Free Wills Month and think about the community work that you would like to live on.

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