One million legacies left by kind-hearted Brits with a 30% rise in gifts in Wills

One million legacies left by kind-hearted Brits with a 30% rise in gifts in Wills

We're supporting Remember A Charity in Your Will Week (6 – 12 September) – an annual awareness week which aims to encourage people to leave a gift to charity.

More kind-hearted Brits are leaving gifts to charities in their Wills than ever before, with a million legacies left in the past decade*, according to new research from Remember A Charity and Smee & Ford.

To mark the start of Remember A Charity Week, the data reveals that the percentage of people leaving a gift to charity in their Will has increased by almost a third (30 per cent) over the past 20 years**, with more people than ever choosing to support a charity close to their heart – even after they’ve gone.

Gifts in Wills are a critical source of funding for charitable services across the country, raising more than £3 billion for good causes annually – and have been the fastest growing source of voluntary income for charities over the past twenty-one years.

Today marks the start of Remember A Charity Week, an opportunity for charities around the country to raise awareness of passing on something wonderful by including a charity in your Will after family and friends have been taken care of.

A barn owl perched on a fence post in the middle of a lush field

Barn owl by Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

Gifts in Wills make a huge difference to our charity. This generous and incredibly selfless support means that we can restore even more damaged wild places, continue helping rare wildlife to thrive and inspire as many people to care for nature as possible.

The intertwined climate and nature crises threaten to rob us of the irreplaceable natural heritage we depend on not only for our physical wellbeing, but our mental health too. Gifts in Wills, no matter how small or large, mean we can re-wet damaged and degraded peat bogs - turning them back into carbon-storing super habitats home to special wildlife. Gifts in Wills mean we can expand our reedbeds - offering rare bitterns more room to breed. Gifts in Wills also mean we can run events and workshops in urban communities that struggle with access to nature.

Lancashire Wildlife Trust Fundraising Officer, Megan, says:

"A donation in your Will gives essential support for our conservation work. This one thoughtful gesture is a powerful gift which allows us to continue to empower local communities to preserve wildlife, and means our conservation team can continue providing safe spaces for wild creatures to flourish. Gifts in Wills also help us keep our nature reserves open and thriving for the enjoyment of all.

"In whatever form your gift may take, it is hugely appreciated by our teams and we couldn’t do our work without you."

Former head judge of Strictly Come Dancing, Len Goodman, will be lending his support to Remember a Charity Week, having altered his own Will to include a charity close to his heart.

Len Goodman, head judge on Dancing with the Stars, commented:

“I am honoured to be supporting Remember A Charity Week for the fourth year running and to have the opportunity to meet some of the inspiring people working hard for a range of charitable causes.

"I really hope this week will encourage more people to leave a gift, however big or small, after they’ve gone. I’ve included a charitable gift in my Will after my family has been taken care of – it’s so simple and it really does make an enormous difference!”

Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, says:

“It’s so inspiring that we’ve reached this milestone of one million Brits leaving gifts to charity in their Wills. We really hope that this will become increasingly common, and that the number of people supporting charities in this way will continue to rise. Leaving a gift in your Will is a wonderful way to support charities in continuing to do amazing work and also provides an opportunity for your legacy to live on after you’ve gone.”

Will you help us nurture nature, forever?

A gift in your Will, not matter how small or large, will help us safeguard your local wildlife and wild places for generations to come.

Pass on something wonderful

Wildflower meadow (c) James Alder

About the research

Research conducted by Smee & Ford in 2020/21.

*One million legacies left between 2010 - 2020. Smee & Ford record over 100,000 bequests in Wills per annum.

**The percentage of people choosing to leave a gift to charity in their Will, after looking after friends and family first, has increased by a third (30 per cent) since the year 2000.