New people still to write wills afford charities the largest legacy potential

New people still to write wills afford charities the largest legacy potential

14 Jul 2010
  • Young, single and childless who have still to write wills are amongst those most amenable to charity legacy-giving
  •  Those most amenable to legacy-giving are also most open to letting a charity draft their will for free (no obligation to give)
  • “Charities should especially target younger legacy-givers to help create a culture of legacy-giving,” vies nfpSynergy

People yet to write a will comprise a larger potential new legacy market for charities than those who have already written one currently without a bequest, according to new data out today - with the young, single and those without children seemingly potentially amongst those most amenable to this relatively untapped form of posthumous giving.

Leading not-for-profit sector research consultancy nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor regularly surveys a representative sample of 1000 16+ year olds throughout mainland Britain every year, asking them a range of charity-related questions - including gauging the current and indeed potential size, and socio-demographics, of the market for charitable legacy-giving.

Less than 1 in 5 (18%) of those who have already made a will have left a legacy to charity – with women; regular worshippers; those from higher social grades; those who are single; and those who have no children seemingly most likely to have already bequeathed something.

However - in terms of new fundraising markets - those yet to write a will but who might consider leaving a charity a legacy are three times more numerous (20% vs. 7% of general population) than those with a will already who have not yet bequeathed anything but might consider so doing.

Moreover, amongst those who have yet to write a will, 16-24 year olds, single people and those without children are amongst those especially amenable to charitable legacy-giving.

Interestingly, the likelihood of having made a will rises sharply from the mid-30s age group upwards - almost tripling (from 10% to 27%) between the age segments of 25-34 and 35-44 - so it seems especially fruitful for fundraisers to start targeting potential legacy-givers well before this age.

Significantly – not least in the light of NSPCC’s recent foray into this area – although overall only 1 in 5 (20%) of the general public appear likely to accept a charity’s direct offer of drafting their will for free (with no obligation to bequest a legacy), those most amenable to legacy-giving but who have not yet so bequeathed appear four times more likely (42% vs. 10%) to be likely to accept such an offer than those who are not amenable to legacy giving.

nfpSynergy researcher, Jonathan Baker, said:

“These findings shows that charities seeking new legacies must strike a balance between targeting older generations, who are naturally more likely to already have a will, and nurturing relationships with younger generations, especially, who - although far less likely to have already made a will - are amongst those with highest consideration rates for giving legacies. Fundraisers might even do well to directly target these younger people - along with other more amenable potential legacy-givers, like singles and those without children - with the offer of a free no-obligation will-writing service, since the data also shows such legacy-considering groups are also significantly more likely to say they would accept such an offer.

“Legacy-giving needs to become the norm and - perhaps more visible and vocal than older generations - younger people tend to be stronger trend setters. Younger generations with legacies in their wills could help create a culture of legacy-giving, encouraging their peers, even parents - through word-of-mouth and other social influence - to consider doing the same.”



MEDIA COMMENT: To interview nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton about these findings, please contact him direct on 07976 329 212 or; or, alternatively, contact Adrian Gillan (0774 086 7215; E: for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy ( is the UK’s only research consultancy dedicated to the charity sector and not-for-profit issues. It provides ideas, insights and information to help voluntary and community organisations thrive in an ever-changing world. Regularly harvesting the social and charity-related views of public and parliament, media and business - not to mention not for profit organisations themselves - nfpSynergy has a vast and ever-growing knowledge pool from which to extract and deliver insights.