Welsh Charities Increasingly Reliant On Legacy Gifts In Wills

Top Welsh charities are becoming more and more reliant on income from charitable legacies, according to Remember A Charity’s new report ‘Welsh Legacy Fundraising Market 2019’ released this month.

The legacy market is growing fast in Wales with smaller charities having a bigger share of the legacy market but large and health-related charities still dominate the landscape in this area.

Charities in Wales are receiving almost £20 million annually from gifts left in Wills, with the 70 welsh charities yielding 25% of their total voluntary income through legacies.

The report confirms that large charities earn most of the legacy income, while smaller charities (with an annual income below £1 million) play a key role in Wales as they are successfully raising more money through legacies (£130,000 per annum) than other charities in the UK of similar size.

Even though charities in Wales produce only a small proportion of the total UK legacy income, the research has revealed that Wales is fairing much better at generating income from legacies than other UK nations. As a comparison, Welsh Charities have had a legacy income rise of 35% from 2007-2017, while Scotland has risen by 23%, UK-wide charities have increased by 13% and 4% in England.

Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity says:

“What strikes me from this report and our interviews with fundraisers in Wales is how vibrant the Welsh market really is. It’s fantastic to see how fast the market is growing and strong performance among smaller charities, particularly when the nation that has such a large proportion of community-based organisations. With more charities coming to the table and fundraising for legacies, there is huge potential for further growth.

“We hope that this research will provide the Welsh fundraising community with greater insight and inspire a real sense of confidence among those seeking legacy income.”

The research was conducted by Dr Catherine Walker, director of The Researchery, and Cathy Pharoah, visiting professor of Charity Funding, Cass Business School.

Dr Walker says:

“This research demonstrates the importance and resilience of this form of planned giving to good causes across Wales. There’s been very little data on the Welsh legacy market before now and this should help fundraisers not only understand the market a little better but help communicate the potential for legacies to their managers and boards.”

In the past year, legacy gifts have exceeded £3 billion, with the UK public becoming more varied with their choice of charity when leaving a legacy gift – with the rise of charities benefiting from legacy income in 2018. Nearly 30,000 charities were named in UK Wills last year, while nearly 3,000 charities were being named for the first time.

However, when the proposed Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order was introduced in November 2018, charity bodies have been campaigning against the proposal as the planned fees will have a damaging effect on the charitable sector.

UK’s largest charities have claimed that the changes to probate fees will collectively cause an annual loss of £1.5 million in charitable donations.

But the Ministry of Justice insisted the changes will not affect fixed-sum charitable donations and believe an extra 25,000 families will not pay any probate fees at all, meaning they could donate more if they wish.

As it stands, the Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order has now been shelved for the summer recess after governmental business was concluded in the House of Commons last month – which means it will not appear again until at least Autumn.

Nevertheless, the long-drawn out uncertainty of when the Probate Fee Order is going to launch along with a question mark over Brexit, as we continue to wait for a definitive outcome, means charity bodies will continue to feel threatened and worried over the potential loss of legacy gifts.

Read more on the Welsh Legacy Fundraising Market 2019 here.


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