What you need to know about remembering a charity in your Will
Leaving a legacy If you want to leave a gift to a charity in your Will, don't be afraid to contact them directly to find out more about their aims, and how your donation might help them.
Does everyone give to a charity in their Will?
While more and more people are choosing to leave a gift to a charity in their Will, most people still don’t consider supporting their favorite causes in this way. According to figures from charity coalition, Remember A Charity, 35 per cent of us say that we'd like to include a donation to a good cause after our death. But statistics from Smee and Ford, UK provider of legacy information, show that only six per cent of us actually do.
"35% of people say they'd donate to a good cause, but only 6% actually do!"
It shouldn't be this way, says Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity. He believes that this type of giving should become 'the new normal' because many charitable organisations rely so completely on gifts left in Wills.
It's also a good way to show our gratitude for their good work, from which we may have personally benefitted over the years.
“We're lucky to have experienced a golden age during which we've been able to access some fantastic services that have made a big difference to society,” says Cope. “I think many of us take them for granted. But we would be far more charitably-minded if we really understood that those services might not exist if it wasn't for the generosity of others.”
How do I choose which charity to give to?
Perhaps part of the problem is that the charity sector is such a crowded field, so choosing who to leave a gift to can be confusing. Cope's advice is to think of an organisation that has helped you or your family in some way. But do your homework, too. Research the charity — or charities — you are considering supporting to find out more about their aims, their achievements and how they operate. You can also contact them to explain that you are thinking about leaving a donation in your Will, and are seeking information about the difference your gift could make to them.
For your own peace of mind, you should also ask the charity how they spend their money and what your donation might be used to fund. “Charities are more transparent these days,” says Cope. “The Charity Commission lists information in its annual report; and you should be able to find financial reports on the charity's own website. The overwhelming majority of charities do an incredible job and are constantly under pressure from their trustees to make sure that every penny counts.”
How much should I leave to a charity?
You also need to work out how much of a donation to leave in your Will. “Make sure you take a big slice for your loved ones, friends and those people who have been important to you in your life,” says Cope. “You can then donate that last slice of cake — whatever size it is — to your favourite charities, knowing that your gift can help make a real difference to people's lives.”
Whatever the size of gift you leave, be assured that your donation can make a valuable contribution to an organisation's future.
Ultimately, however, this isn't really about supporting the charities themselves. It's about supporting their beneficiaries. “Unless we want the work of charities to stop — for example, the lifeboat services, cancer research and animal welfare charities — we need to find ways to get the message across to the public that such donations are crucial to individuals who rely on them,” says Cope.