Skip to main content

Legacy Fundraising

Legacy fundraising is the practice of asking individuals to leave a gift to a charity in their Will. Legacies can be a sensitive issue for individuals and their families. So fundraisers need to ensure that they have acted appropriately and respectfully when seeking such donations and in following up on the donor’s wishes.
Scribe

I want to go straight to the code and read what it says about legacy fundraising issue

Read the code

I want to go straight to the code and read what it says about legacy fundraising issue

I have a concern about a particular legacy fundraising issue

Make a complaint

I have a concern about a particular legacy fundraising issue

For fundraisers

15% of all voluntary income received by British charities comes from legacies. Legacy fundraising is a very cost effective way for charities to raise funds.

However, legacies can be a sensitive issue for individuals and their families both at the point the gift is made and in acting on the individual’s wishes after they have died.

Fundraisers need to ensure that they have acted appropriately and not exerted any undue pressure on potential donors.

A fundraiser should not give legal advice. If asked, they should recommend that a potential donor seeks independent advice.

The Institute of Legacy Management has Good Practice Guidance for legacy fundraisers.

The IoF has Guidance for Charities on legacies.

For the public

Charitable legacies can be left through a will or

by a declaration to the executors of the will with instructions as to how and to which charity the bequest is to be distributed.

It is not enough for donors to just inform family or friends that they would like to leave a gift to a charity after their death. They will need to make a will if they do not have one, or add a codicil (a short amendment) to their existing will that mentions the type of gift and the name of the charities that they would like to benefit from it.

It is sensible to seek independent legal advice if you are thinking of leaving a charitable gift in your will to ensure you have fulfilled the necessary legal requirements. Further information on accessing legal advice can be found on the Citizens advice website.

As with other forms of fundraising, you should never be made to feel under pressure into making a donation immediately. Responsible fundraisers understand that it can be a big decision and will give you time and space to consider their request if you ask for it.

There are tax benefits to leaving charitable gifts in your will. The Gov.uk website has further information on tax relief when you donate to a charity.

Legacy resources

Guidance

Safer giving advice

Advice for the public on safer giving and what to look out for.
Read more