Almost 50% of millennials and gen X plan to leave a legacy in their will, survey finds

13 May 2022 News

Some 44% of people born between 1967 and 1996 are planning to leave a gift to charity in their will, according to a new survey.

The marketing agency WPNC worked with YouGov on a survey entitled Lifelong Legacy: The Value of Will Donations from Millennials and Gen X. 

YouGov surveyed 250 millennials (people aged 26 to 40) and 250 gen X (people aged 41 to 55) to gather the findings. 

Only 9% of gen X and 3% of millennials have already decided which charities they will leave a legacy gift to.

Huge opportunity for charities 

Most of the people surveyed have not yet made a choice, as 87% of millennials and 70% of gen X have not yet written their will. 

The WPNC has said this represents a “huge opportunity for charities to build relationships with young potential donors in order to secure their support.”

Only 1% of the sample said they had no intention of leaving a will. 

Gail Cookson, legacy and international marketing director at WPNC, said: “Traditionally, legacy marketing at many charities has focused on older donors. They are more likely to have written a will and to be closely considering what will happen to their assets when they die.

“Since the pandemic, however, there has been a sharp rise in awareness among younger audiences about planning for the future, and will-writing in particular.

“We see this as a major opportunity for charities to showcase their cause and build relationships with millennials and gen X. Not only is this likely to increase the chance of a legacy donation, it could also boost donor value across their lifetime.”

Desire for free will-writing services

When asked, 37% of millennials and 24% of gen X said they would be keen to use a free will-writing service. 

More than a third of respondents overall (36%) said they would have used one if they had known it existed at the time. 

WPNC has said this represents an opportunity for a value exchange, especially as one respondent said: “I’d rather donate to a charity than pay a solicitor.”

‘Enthusiasm around younger donors’

Cookson continued: “The survey uncovered enthusiasm among younger donors to receive information about both legacy giving and will-writing services through a range of marketing channels.

“But while legacies appear to be buoyant, around 30% of respondents told us they’ve never seen a legacy ad. The most likely reason, particularly among millennials, is that they are not currently targeted by legacy marketing. Charities must therefore consider different ways to target this audience.”

WaterAid released its first legacy advert on national television this year as its legacies are becoming a large part of its income. In 2012, its legacy income was around £2.2m, but it is expecting to receive around £10.6m this year alone. 

Dominique Abranson, it's legacy and in-memory lead, told Fundraising Magazine that legacies are one of the charity’s “fastest-growing income areas”. 

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