There is huge potential for Australian legacy giving over the next 20 years, but also significant fundraising challenges ahead.
That is the conclusion of international legacy expert Meg Abdy, from Legacy Foresight, who was commissioned by Include A Charity (IAC) to analyse recent trends in Australian bequest giving, and explore the long-term outlook for the sector over the next two decades.
Australian Gifts in Wills 2040, the inaugural Australian Legacy Foresights report into Australian testamentary giving, was launched to coincide with IAC Week.
The market model was based on 10 years of bequest data from Pareto Fundraising and More Strategic, and used five key drivers – house prices, share prices, numbers of deaths, percentage of deaths from child-free people and the impact of charity marketing activity – to produce three scenarios to 2040.
In Abdy’s words, the main takeaways can be broken down into “four reasons to be cheerful, two reasons to be wary, and two challenges”.
Here we run through the trends and challenges that fundraisers should be paying attention to.
Kate Jenkinson, Head of In-Memory Consultancy at Legacy Foresight, takes a looks at how charitable giving at funerals has changed over time in a new blog for Institute of Fundraising.
Pacts of friendship run deep. Mourning his best mate Kevin, Black Watch soldier Barry Delaney was determined to honour the solemn promise he’d made before his posting to Afghanistan. Dutifully, he appeared at Kevin’s graveside in a tight, fluorescent lime dress, bright pink leg warmers and hiking boots.
Oh, picture the faces of our forefathers! Desire for highly personalised remembrance is sweeping like a tide through our funerals and memorial events. And rightly so: as a nation, we’re no more a homogeneous mass in the ways we pay tribute than we are in the ways we live and love. The established church funeral, with its tight-lipped deference to convention, is crumbling. If a copybook can be ripped up, this one’s going through an industrial shredder.
Read in full, here.
We can think of estate planning like walking the dog; it’s something that we know we should do but we don’t always get around to doing it. In Australia, it is anticipated there will be an increasing allocation to charity of the next 20 years, mainly due to the asset-rich baby boomer generation. But will it come to pass?
It is estimated that over 80 per cent of Australians donate money in the lifetime. However, when we die, this drops dramatically to only 7.4 per cent of people leaving money in their will to charity.
So why is there such a big disconnect between giving to charities while we’re alive versus leaving money to charities in our wills when we die?
Meg Abdy, director of UK-based research agency Legacy Foresight, says: “In the UK, 15 per cent of people leave money to charity in their wills, which is more than double the rate of Australia and I think it mainly comes down to awareness. In the UK, giving to charity in wills has been promoted for 25 years. However, it’s only being pushed in Australia as of 10 years ago. It will take a while to get to UK levels. However, the signs are that it is improving”.
The Include a Charity campaign is making an effort to spread the message. It’s campaign director Helen Merrick says: “While 25 per cent of Australians say they would like to be able to leave something to charity in their will, less than a third actually take that next step. Many don’t realise that including a charitable gift id easy and something anybody can do”.
A Sydney resident who has decided to leave a gift in his will has urged others to do the same ahead of Include a Charity week. Retired IT manager Gordon Lambert, 72, has been sponsoring children in Zimbabwe, Chile, Vietnam and Colombia through community development charity World Vision Australia since the 1990s.
“I was working for the Commonwealth Bank in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, and the grinding poverty I saw there disturbed me,” he says.
Lambert likes the agency because, while he’s sponsoring children, he’s also supporting a community.
“I like that I’m providing clean drinking water and farming equipment to poor farmers to help them get on their feet,” he says. “At the same time, I’m helping kids get an education.”
He also likes the way the organisation shows you where your money is going and a few years ago he decided to continue that support beyond his lifetime through a gift in his will.
“I want World Vision to do even more great work after I’m gone,” he says.
We tend to think about bequests to charity as something only the wealthy do, such as medical magnate Paul Ramsay’s $3bn donation to charity in his will.
However, just as the majority of Australians give during their lifetime, a small gift left via a will is something we should all give consideration to.
You can search for charities by state and category at www.includeacharity.com.au. There is also the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission website www.acnc.gov.au which is a food place for further research.
Each registered charity is required to lodge annual financial reports and information statements. These documents provide detailed information on what the charity is doing and how it is allocating funds which can assist in making decisions on which charities to support.
For those thinking about leaving something to charity in their will, but are not sure where to start, now is the perfect time to do something about it. September 9-15 is Include a Charity week, where nearly 90 of Australia’s largest charities unite and highlight the importance that gifts play in providing their services.
The Include a Charity campaign is a collaboration involving some of Australia’s leading charities including Cancer Council NSW, the Heart Foundation, Australian Redd Cross, World Vision Australia, the RSPCA, Greenpeace, ChildFund Australia, National Breast Cancer Foundation, The Royal Flying Doctor Service, Ronal McDonald House Charities – Australia, The Fred Hollows Foundation and many more.
Legacy Foresight has reported a “surprising” legacy income growth of 4.3 per cent to £1.54bn among its members in the 12 months to June 2019. The benchmarking organisation said the rise came despite “pre-Brexit turbulence and delays at the probate registries”. It added: “This strong growth is surprising given the recent slowdown in key economic variables,” such as house prices and the stock market.
A spokesperson for Legacy Foresight said: “Despite the acute Brexit-based uncertainties, our 80 Legacy Monitor members’ legacy incomes climbed by 4.3 per cent over the past 12 months. “We believe that this growth is due to some exceptionally large bequests reported by some members”.
Charities are experiencing delays in bequest notifications as a result of changes at the Probate Registries, the latest Legacy Foresight bulletin shows.
Legacy Foresight found that bequest notifications across its Legacy Monitor consortium members were down 7% on the year to June 2018. It attributes much of this drop to delays at the Probate Registries caused by the introduction of new structure and processes including the transition to a new case management system, with the remainder to a decline in the number of deaths thanks to 2018/19’s relatively mild winter.
If HMCTS’s plans to clear the backlog by the end of August are successful, Legacy Foresight expects bequest numbers to be back to usual levels by the next Bulletin.
News in full here.
Legacy Foresight says the fall in notifications in the year to June 2019 compared with the previous year has been caused by a backlog and delays at probate registries.
There was a 7 per cent fall in the number of bequest notifications to charities after recent government reforms to the legacy notification system, the latest figures from Legacy Foresight show.
In its analysis of the year to June 2019, Legacy Foresight said that the fall in notifications in the year to June 2019 compared with the previous year was caused by a “backlog” and delays at probate registries.
The data also show that income from legacies grew by 4.3 per cent to £1.54bn despite continued economic uncertainty.The fall in bequest notifications comes after recent attempts at reforming the system through which charities receive charitable bequests, with the changes announced in January this year.
Traditionally fundraising has often had an English, Christian or secular focus, but our society is changing. Meg Abdy from Legacy Foresight, analysts of the legacy and in-memory sectors, shares her practical tips for developing sensitive legacy and in-memory fundraising campaigns in an increasingly multicultural world.
Over the past six months we have been conducting fundamental research into the legacy and in-memory giving behaviour of four British faith populations: Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews. Our research is a toe in the water at this stage – it will take much more research and many more conversations to understand the issues fully. But it has already provided some vital insights about these faith groups’ giving and their potential for charities, which we are presenting at the Institute of Fundraising’s (IoF) annual Convention. Plus, there are seven more general lessons about engaging with minority faith groups, which I’d like to share with you.
The Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order has been shelved for the summer recess as the House of Commons concluded their governmental business on the afternoon of Thursday 23rd May.
The proposed new probate fees which made a huge impact when it was introduced in November 2018 has since ground to a halt, with the original launch of the new probate fees in its current form in April now a distant memory as Parliament finishes their calendar of business for the holiday season.
A provisional date for the hearing of the Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order 2018 was set for 14th May but according to the House of Commons Hansard it was not on the agenda. However, the Order was set again for discussion just over a week ago but was overlooked due to more urgent governmental business.
It is likely now the Probate Fees Order 2018 will have to wait until the new Parliamentary season before it returns to the agenda, which means it may not appear until at least Autumn.
A strong factor in its delay might be due to Law Society officials warning that the current draft has a few errors which could be exploited so that estates do not pay any fees when making an application for probate. It has therefore been speculated that the Government will have the summer recess to correct the document before returning.
The long drawn out uncertainty of when the Probate Fee Order was going to launch has led to a rise in probate applications to avoid the proposed increased fees causing big delays and charities worrying over the potential loss of legacy gifts.
Our experts share their views on the uncertainties of the Order and whether they think the Government will return after the summer with a new, error free proposal; plus do they think it will be enforceable by the end of this year? And how they think the disruption and delay of the Probate Fees Order has impacted on the public and charities?