Legacy Voice publish first comprehensive literature review into legacy giving

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Legacy Voice have published a comprehensive literature review into legacy giving which it says will help charities and fundraisers wanting to make the most of this growing source of voluntary income.

The review, which encompasses fields as diverse as fundraising, psychology, psychiatry and behavioural economics, pulls together over 160 previously published research papers into one review of why and how donors leave gifts to charity in their wills.

 The authors of the review are Professor Adrian Sargeant, one of the world’s leading authorities on fundraising, and Dr Claire Routley, winner of Emerging Scholar of the Year in 2017 and published researcher in the field of legacy giving.

 “Over the last decade, our knowledge about who gives gifts in wills and why has increased dramatically – and bringing this disparate information into a single, accessible resource will be extremely helpful for legacy fundraisers” Professor Adrian Sargeant said.

“We’d encourage anyone with an interest in legacy fundraising to draw on this review. The more we can build our legacy fundraising around what we know about our supporters, the better we can meet their needs and aspirations, whilst, ultimately, raising more to help our beneficiaries”, Dr Claire Routley added.

The report examines the area of will making, the major motivations to leave a gift to charity in a Will, the influence of charity communications and the importance of ongoing stewardship. It culminates in a legacy model, which seeks to summarise the decision making process that a donor goes through when deciding what and who to benefit in their will.

“What we find is that legacy giving has little if nothing to do with our own organisations, but instead is a reflection on the lives of our donors”, says Ashley Rowthorn, Director of Legacy Voice. “And the more we understand what drives legacy giving, the more we see that it is completely different to lifetime giving. Which makes sense of the fact that the majority of legacy donors do not support or donate to those charities in their lifetime.”

 “If we are to realise the potential of this form of fundraising, we must understand it, and our donors better and apply that learning to our fundraising practices. All too often we see charities applying lifetime giving practices and expecting it to work in a legacy context. It just won’t”.

“What this research shows us is that legacy giving is driven primarily by a donor’s personal experience and values, and that leaving a gift in a will helps us find meaning in life, and a means to live on after our death. We see that legacy giving meets a real need for people, to find new meaning and purpose in later life. Legacy giving makes people happy”.

 With legacy giving income up 5.1% in 2017 and expected to reach £3.26bn a year by 2021 according to analysts Legacy Foresight, this review is timely for any organisation seeking to raise more money through legacy giving.

The literature review is available through the Legacy Voice website at ww.legacyvoice.co.uk/legacy-giving-research

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