Charities may no longer be able to rely on older generations to leave legacies. But our research shows that younger people may step up and fill the gap…
Pre-pandemic, 6% of people in the UK left a charitable gift in their will, according to Remember a Charity. This equates to roughly £3billion a year. And a further 32% said they would like to leave something to charity in their will.
Baby Boomer generation were the most generous when it came to charity giving, but even before the pandemic many were feeling squeezed.
But will the uncertainty around Covid-19 and the job market mean fewer people considering charities in their will? Certainly charities are already feeling worried about their incomes generally – a third of which comes from legacies – and in June 2020, 9 in 10 said they anticipated Covid-19 would reduce their income.
So where will the money come from now? Previously the so-called Baby Boomer generation were the most generous when it came to charity giving, but even before the pandemic many were feeling squeezed. With this in mind, our research found that fewer people aged 45+ (Gen X) are considering leaving money to charity in their wills. And the 55-64 age range (early Boomers) is the least likely to consider it. This may be partly due to the competing priorities of this generation, who – despite a lot of advantages with property buying and pension planning – have children and grandchildren who are not faring so well. With many Millennials struggling to afford property and Gen Zers facing the prospect of astronomical university fees, the older generations are feeling the pressure to help their children and grandchildren out financially while they are still alive and while it can be of most benefit.
Younger people are now more likely than ever to choose to include a charity in their will.
A glimmer of hope for charities relying on legacy donations is that younger people are now more likely than ever to choose to include a charity in their will. Our TGI data survey of 15,885 people showed that both men and women under 30 say they would consider it, with those in their early 20s most likely. Interestingly, men in both age groups were slightly more likely than women to consider leaving a charity legacy. This is good news for charities who rely on legacies for much-needed funding, although with people living longer than ever before, they’ll need to wait for the money – and many charities may not have time to wait.
(Tabel conveys: Who would consider donating to charity, according to age and gender)
For charities playing the long game and looking to target younger people to leave a donation in their will, our research shows it may be a good idea to focus on:
- people living in London (Londoners give it above average consideration)
- those with a degree or higher; those with PhDs are 50% more likely
- people who have previously donated to charity (women 26% more likely; men only 7% more)
And how to reach these people? Although two-thirds of both men and women are influenced by news and current affairs, when it comes to considering a charity legacy, our research found that women tend to be influenced by social networks (92%) and men by radio appeals (117%).
So our advice to charities right now is to focus on short-term revenue streams, but also commit to a longer-term strategy of promoting legacy giving to people in their 20s and 30s.