legacy donations to charities - concept

Pledged legacy donations soar despite cost of living crisis

Pledged charitable bequests soared during 2022 in spite of the cost of living crisis, according to new research.

Specifically, figures from Farewill suggest legacy giving pledges included in wills increased by 8.7% year-on-year in 2022.

The will writing firm said the average sum of primary gifts increased in every age bracket from 41 to 80 year-olds. The biggest increase in legacy pledges came in the 61 – 70 age group, with the percentage of customers including a gift growing by 33% year on year.

Cancer, animal welfare and military charities have ranked most highly for the largest number of gifts received per cause for the last three consecutive years, with the most legacy gifts from every age group consistently pledged to cancer charities.

Yet, as the cost of living crisis tightened its grip on families across the UK, there was a 75% increase since 2021 in legacy gifts pledged to homelessness and housing charities. In the 18-30 age group, gifts pledged to those charities increased by 156%.

Mental health charities have seen a 127% rise in legacy pledges since 2020, with Farewill suggesting the psychosocial effect of covid and economic uncertainty may have impacted where the UK chose to leave a legacy gift. The number of gifts pledged to mental health charities by 51-60 year-olds was more than double any other age bracket.

This all comes despite research from the Charities Aid foundation in 2022 finding that 12% of people planned to cut back on charity donations amidst the cost of living crisis.

Legacy donations appear to have bucked this trend, allowing people to support a cause they care about without donating at a time when households are trying to cut back on discretionary spending.

George Shelley, Legacy Manager at homelessness charity Crisis, said:

“As the rising cost of living puts more households under pressure, we’ve seen higher demand for our services as people are pushed to the brink of homelessness. Crisis is fortunate to have such generous supporters. Over the last year, we’ve seen an increase in the number of people pledging gifts in their will to make a difference to our mission to end homelessness that costs them nothing now.”

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