Legacy Monitor Netherlands has been tracking and analysing the Dutch legacy market since 2014. Now, with nineteen member organisations, it covers 51% of the income of the top 100 legacy charities in the Netherlands.

Each Autumn they publish a Market Snapshot report, and here Programme Manager, Arjen van Ketel discusses the key topics that have emerged during this years’ work.

The increasing importance of legacies

Legacies have become a very important source of income for Dutch charitable organisations.  In 2016 the hundred largest legacy charities received €311 million through wills. This represented 27% of all fundraised income, compared to just 21% in 2005.

As is the case in the UK, a limited number of extra-large organisations dominate in terms of legacy income, with the fifteen largest accounting for 66% of gifts in wills of the top 100 charities. But interestingly, smaller and more recently established organisations are experiencing faster growth, so their share of legacy income is gradually increasing.

Faster growth expected in the next 10 years

The next ten years will see the number of Dutch deaths increase by 1.1% per year; house prices are expected to rise by 3.9% per year and share prices by 3.3% per year. Legacy Foresight’s forecasting model predicts strong Dutch market growth averaging 3.8% per year for 2017-2026, taking into account the impact that the United Kingdom’s imminent departure from the EU and rising tariffs may have on the market. While the terms of the deal are being brokered, it is worth noting that this growth may be dampened if a ‘hard’ or no deal Brexit occurs come March 2019.

If we look ahead even further, it’s likely we’ll experience continued growth, particularly due to the higher percentage of childless older people and rising death rates of the ageing baby boomers, who are typically affluent and charitably-minded.

Growing appetite for making a bequest

This year we carried out consumer research to greater understand the perception and behaviours towards legacy giving of those aged 50+. This uncovered several key learnings:

  • Only 40% of respondents plan to make a will ‘some-day’. This is due in part to Dutch inheritance laws; but also, because those without children believe that a will is not necessary because they do not have a large enough estate or because the cost of making a will is deemed to be too expensive. .
  • A very small group wants to leave a gift to charity – only 5% of people over 50 have included a charity in their will and 13% will consider it in the future.  Their British counterparts are more than twice as likely to leave a gift in their will or are considering doing so.
  • Some groups are more receptive to potentially making a bequest, including those without children, those with better pensions and those who are already actively involved in giving to charity.
  • The Baby Boomers are an important target group – they are more open to the thought, with 16% of them open to the idea of leaving a legacy, versus just 8% of people aged over 70.

Opportunities for Dutch legacy fundraisers

Our research revealed that there is little real knowledge about making a charitable will. 50% of all those surveyed said they had never received information from charities about legacy giving.

Investment in legacy marketing by charities is growing rapidly, but it still very small, both in terms of budget and investment.

Legacies account for 29% of our consortium’s voluntary income, however, legacy marketing represents 3% of the fundraising budget spend and 4% of dedicated fundraising staff in 2017.

That said, investment in marketing is growing; the total budget for fundraising spend rose overall by 4% in 2016-2017 with specific budget for legacy fundraising up by 28% in the same period. The extra-large legacy organisations spend a larger proportion of their budget on generating legacy income and this is reflected in their revenue.

What next?

In 2019 we want to grow the Monitor. With more participants, we can collect and benchmark data from a larger sample and make more comparisons between sectors. We can also conduct more consumer research and explore issues such as the growth of wills, the behaviour and perceptions of Dutch baby boomers and the "invisible" legators who exist inside and outside a charity’s database.

Interested? Get in touch with me to find out more or request a copy of the Snapshot report in full here.