In-memory donors three times more likely to leave a legacy, research finds

22 Jan 2020 News

There is a strong connection between in-memory donations and legacy giving, a report from legacy consortium Legacy Foresight has found.

Legacy Foresight put together data from 22 charities which take part in its In Memory Insight research initiative. In-memory giving is where people donate to a charity in the name of someone who has died, whereas legacy giving is when people leave an amount to charity in their wills.  

The consortium found that people who have previously given in-memory are three times more likely to include the same charity in their wills, compared to regular donors who give via direct debit or standing order.

In-memory donors also tend to pledge higher amounts – on average, their residual legacy donations are two-third higher than those left by other donors.

Legacy Insight surveyed 4,000 adults on in-memory and legacy giving. Three in five respondents who have included an in-memory donation in their will had previously given in-memory to the same charity, usually at or after a funeral.

The survey also looked at the role that in-memory legacies play in the overall landscape of legacy giving. It found that two in five legacy donors had at least one in-memory gift in their will.

Health charities most popular

The research found that health charities attract the majority (three-quarters) of in-memory legacy donations. In-memory legacy donors are twice as likely to give to health charities compared to all legacy donors.

Sue Pedley, head of donor research at Legacy Foresight, said: “We know that an in-memory motivated gift can bring significant benefits, both to a donor and the charity, including focus and a therapeutic outlet for grief; a new reason to get in touch and the inspiration for continued engagement.

“But there is now hard evidence to show that an in-memory relationship with a charity may also lay the foundation for a legacy gift. 

“This research proves how important remembrance is as a motivation for legacy giving. We hope that this evidence will help make the case for greater, more thoughtful investment in in-memory fundraising throughout the sector.”

Civil Society Media’s Fundraising Live conference takes place on 6 February 2020, providing an excellent platform for the fundraising community to come together, share ideas and experiences, and learn from the successes and failures of fellow professionals. View the programme and book online here.


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