Of 2,000 people completing will planning, half weren’t asked about charity: 4.9% made a gift; half were asked “Would you like to leave any money to charity in your will?”: 10.8% made a gift

Applying Behavioral Insights to Charitable Giving. London: Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team

According to the Charities Aid Foundation, 1 in 20 people (5%) say that they have included a charity in their will.

Leaving a gift in a will is often a very personal choice to support a cause that has meant a great deal to an individual in their lifetime. Leaving a donation is a way that an individual can help to ensure that the work of this charity continues into the future and that their gift will make a difference to the cause and be a marker of their values, achievements, community or passion.

It is helpful to define a process, and ideally a lead contact, within your organisation who can liaise with potential donors looking to make a gift in their will and to draw up specific information, such as a leaflet, brochure, information pack or webpage

Some of the principles for securing major donors also apply to securing gifts in wills, so please also refer to that section. For charitable organisations looking to encourage gifts in wills, research indicates that:

  • Often a major donor will be someone who has been a supporter or given to the organisation before, but usually a smaller amount
  • Language and approach matter when people are considering leaving donations as part of their last will and testament; for instance people are more likely to consider ‘leaving a gift in a will’ than ‘leaving a legacy’.
  • Research has also shown that individuals are more likely to engage with charities where the information speaks about life planning, rather than death and where the language is more familiar and friendly, than formal or legal.
  • Studies show that donors connect more effectively with stories, whether of the work of the organisation, beneficiaries or the experience of other will donors.
  • Donors are more likely to support an organisation which demonstrates that share their values and beliefs.
  • Communicate the impact of the work of your organisation and what your vision is for the future, to convey the message that a gift will make a difference well into the future

Helpful links

Fundraising Regulator - Legacy Fundraising

Chartered Institute of Fundraising - Legacies

Successful Legacy Fundraising | 12 In-depth Insights and Tips