1. About Remember A Charity
Remember A Charity was formed in 2000 and has over 150 members, including nine of the top 10 top fundraising charities.
Remember A Charity is now one of the UK’s biggest cross-charity campaigns, working together to encourage more people to consider leaving a gift to charities in their will.
Legacy income is currently worth almost £2 billion a year, which is equivalent to more than 25 Comic Relief Appeals or almost 6% of the voluntary sector’s total income.
However, while almost three in four of the UK supports a charity in their lifetime, only 7% currently leave a charitable legacy.
Remember A Charity aims to do what no single charity can do alone: make legacy giving a social norm.
The campaign adopts a social marketing approach to create culture change.
It employs a multitude of tactics, including an award-winning TV and radio advertising campaign, an awareness week, tactical interventions and partnerships with solicitors and professional will-writers.
Remember A Charity is part of the Institute of Fundraising (registered charity in England and Wales (no. 1079573) and Scotland (no. SC038971)). Remember A Charity is funded entirely by its charity members.
Remember A Charity welcomes the fact that the Government has recognised the importance of the voluntary sector in its Giving Green Paper, and we welcome the opportunity to respond to it.
Fundraising has to be seen at the heart of growing giving and developing a giving culture. Remember A Charity believes it can play an instrumental role in developing policy in this area.
Gifts in wills form the foundation of charities. Many charities depend on legacies and without them many would not exist.
Remember A Charity research shows that 35% of the UK aged 40+ are ‘happy to give a small amount to charity in their will’. The problem is that only 7% do it.
What is therefore needed is to get more people giving, as well as people giving more.
If we can grow the legacy market by just 4%, we could raise an extra £1 billion for UK charities every year.
It is also worth noting that this form of giving also does not require the public to pay any money to charity during their lifetime, which is particularly important in the current economic climate.
3. Consultation response
3.1 Great opportunities in the public sector
27.5 million adults in England and Wales don’t have a will (National Consumer Council, Finding the Will, 2007). Of these, very few have made an active choice that they don’t need one. Most haven't got around to it, have never thought about it or don't want to think about dying.
There is the opportunity to create a giving culture with will-writing during key life points. For example, a targeted approach around marriages, child benefit forms, pensions and property purchases.
The public should be encouraged to write a will if they undertake a significant commitment such as getting married, having a child or buying a house.
This will not only reduce intestacy rates, but also create a giving culture through wills.
The government could work with Remember A Charity to help it to reach the public through key channels, such as hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and key departments such as the Department of Work and Pensions. Remember A Charity does not currently have access to any of these groups.
The public sector also has a wide range of public-facing channels that give advice on will-writing. Directgov, for example, includes a large section on will-writing but doesn’t include any details on the importance of charitable gifts in wills. The government’s web estate could be utilised much more effectively to support legacy giving.
Greater prominence of charity messaging in these areas are particularly important given Directgov’s high ranking with search engines such as Google.
Solicitors, will-writers and banks also have a clear role in encouraging the public to think about leaving money to their favourite charity in their will.
Remember A Charity is exploring the idea of creating a network of supporting organisations who would carry the campaign logo and prompt clients to include a charitable gift. However, the VAT implications for this make it difficult for a campaign such as ours to roll this out.
The private sector has a wide range of channels, such as websites, newsletters and information packs, which can help charities reach the public.
This is often the easiest way for the private sector and charity sector to work together, particularly during a tough economic climate.
The government could make it easier for the private sector to promote charitable giving through its own channels by removing the complex VAT issues that often act as a barrier. Sector-wide campaigns, for example, could become exempt.
Solicitors and professional will-writers act as a key trigger point for legacy giving. Only 15.7% of wills written last year included a charitable gift.
Most people do not consider a legacy as a way of giving to their favourite charity.
Professional advisors, such as STEP members, have a key role to play in educating the public. Remember A Charity research shows that less than a third of solicitors and will-writers always prompt their clients to consider a charitable gift.
Legacies are one of the least visible forms of fundraising. They lack the prominence of other forms of fundraising, internally and externally.
Remember A Charity launched its first Remember A Charity Week last year to help combat this issue, with more than 100 charities taking part. Social media played a key role in generating awareness of the importance of gifts in wills.
Charities shared their legacy message with their supporters on Facebook, Twitter and websites, reaching millions of people and leading to a 200% uplift in Remember A Charity website traffic during the week.
The week trended on Twitter and our advert became one of the world’s most shared non-profit videos.
Remember A Charity would be keen to explore the possibility of the government supporting Remember A Charity Week 2011 (12-18 September), perhaps through its own social media and web estate, as well as Minister visits to projects supported by legacies.
Remember A Charity has a wealth of experience in this area and would be willing to discuss this further.
The Green Paper highlights that only nine per cent of the total value of legacies is donated to charities, compared with 91 per cent to family and friends.
The paper quite correctly recognises that people who give get something back from their giving, but the emphasis is on pushing people into giving, with insufficient reference as to what pulls them into giving in the first place. Just telling people to get together and give money or time does not work.
Remember A Charity has undertaken extensive research in this area. Our findings show that the public are more open to the idea of a gift in a will if they’re asked to look after friends and family first. The expectation of the size of the gift is also important.
The challenge is therefore not encouraging the public to leave a higher percentage of their estate to charity, but rather making a charitable gift a social norm.
Remember A Charity follows a social marketing approach. Its extensive research shows that the public will move along Prochaska’s stages of change model – from active rejection to action – if the messaging is targeted to each group.
It is not just about asking. It is also about how the gift is asked for. It is about better asking. The government could work with Remember A Charity to ensure that the right messaging is used at key touch points with public services to encourage legacy giving.
Inheritance Tax is also a factor when leaving a legacy, particularly with the higher income groups.
The government could examine the benefits of restructuring the IHT system, with perhaps a charitable exemption that has some form of tapering effect which benefits the charity and the next of kin.
Businesses and the government have a key role to play in their support for the Big Society.
Banks could be encouraged to do more in their branches on the benefits of giving to a favourite cause. ATMs could nudge people to write a will.
Remember A Charity would be also interested to hear how it could meet its members in un-used spaces in the government estate.
Legacy charity income is worth almost £2 billion a year. If we could grow the market a fraction we would generate millions more for good causes.
We know from our research that it is possible to grow the legacy market. To do this however, we need support from outside the voluntary sector. We cannot rely on charities alone to create a culture shift in legacy giving.
The Giving Green Paper rightly highlights legacies as an opportunity for growing the voluntary sector.
The government’s web estate and where individuals interact with public services are key opportunities for legacy fundraising. If we can work together on this area alone, legacies could help build the capacity required for a Big Society.
For further information, please contact:
Remember A Charity
12 Lawn Lane
London, SW8 1UD
Phone: 020 7840 1030