Thursday, 13 June 2024
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Thursday, 13 June 2024

One in four people are pledging money to charity in their wills

CHARITABLE will writers have donated over £500m since 2015 via online will writer Farewill.

The landmark has been reached as 25% of people have or plan to leave legacy gifts to charities in their will, with Brighton and Hove (37%), Wrexham (35%) and Southampton (29%) coming top at the UK’s most generous cities.

More than one in ten (11%) say that the pandemic has made them more likely to donate to a health charity or NHS trust, with over half feeling motivated by witnessing the extra hard work organisations do in times of need (56%) and to help cancer treatment delays (54%).

This follows consumer data from Farewill that shows legacy pledges to cancer charities made via the will writer* have increased by 45% since 2019 amid the backlog in treatment. In fact,  legacy gifts to cancer charities now account for 41% of all charitable gifts written in wills, compared to 28% in 2019.

Other health charities have seen a 96% rise in legacy gifting across the last three years, showing further signs that the pandemic has impacted where Brits choose to donate in death. June 20 – the day after ‘Freedom Day’ – saw the highest spike in charity gifting in wills (46.2%), showing that kindness remained a top priority as the country opened up.

Whilst the trend for naming cancer charities in wills spans all age groups, elsewhere distinct generational differences exist in cause-led legacy gifting – with Gen Z six times more likely to pledge gifts to environmental charities than those from the post-war generation, likely inspired by the increase in environmental activism and COP26.

Older generations are twice as likely to pledge to military causes compared to millennials and Gen-Z, while millennials are the age group most likely to name homelessness and housing charities in their wills.

Altruism across all ages has increased in the past three years, with those aged 51-60 seeing the largest increase – 70% – in charitable pledges since 2019. Those aged 91 and over are the only group not to have observed an increase.

Location also influences where our hearts lie when it comes to charitable will giving. A quarter (25%) of pledges to hospice causes come from the Southeast, as do 36% of sports and recreation donations. Yorkshire, the Humber, and the Northwest give the highest proportion of their pledges to Cancer charities (63%) followed by the Northeast and Wales (59%). Those living in urban areas such as London are more likely to pledge gifts to homelessness and housing charities (38%), human rights causes (36%) and hospitals (44%).

Farewill CEO and co-founder, Dan Garrett, said:

“One of the greatest privileges of being a wills provider is being able to witness people’s kindness and generosity. It’s fascinating to track the causes close to peoples’ hearts when faced with their own mortality, and how legacy giving points to wider social trends and the impact of the pandemic. It highlights why it’s important to have a will in order to express your wishes, protect your loved ones and celebrate your legacy.”

Most popular causes in legacy giving: 2019 vs 2021
  1. Cancer (28%)
  2. Animal welfare (9%)
  3. Homeless and housing (5%)
  4. Children and young people (5%)
  5. Disabled people and access (4%)
  6. Military (4%)
  7. Environment & sustainability (4%)
  8. Humanitarian aid (3%)
  9. Health (3%)
  10. Campaigning (2%)
  1. Cancer (41%)
  2. Animal welfare (6%)
  3. Health (6%)
  4. Military (6%)
  5. Disabled people and access (4%)
  6. Mental health (4%)
  7. Homeless and housing (3%)
  8. Environment & sustainability (3%)
  9. Children and young people (2%)
  10. Humanitarian aid (2%)


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