When will it happen? How will it happen? Will it EVER happen!? Add to this; the possibility of a snap general election, yet more permutations heap upon an already heady cocktail of uncertainty. But life goes on. It feels like we could all benefit from some positivity at the moment, so here goes…

1. Legacy income

It’s undeniable, that IF we leave without a deal, there will be a negative impact on the economy; property values, share prices and economic growth rates which underpin residual estate values will suffer, thus negatively affecting legacy values for the next five years or so.

Legacy Foresight’s central legacy market forecast assumes that we’ll reach a deal by late October. On this basis, average residual values will rise by 1.7% p.a. from 2019 to 2023 – considerably slower than the 2.7% p.a. seen from 2010 to 2018, but growth, nonetheless. When combined with the gradual increase in projected numbers of bequests, we predict that overall legacy incomes will grow by 3.3% p.a. over the next five years, increasing from £3.1bn in 2018 to £3.6bn in 2023. Over the five years 2019 to 2023, we estimate that cumulative UK legacy income will total £17bn. So, It’s not all doom and gloom, indeed, far from it. The current crisis has had virtually no impact on the number of legacies received by charities – although those are of course based on decisions made by legacy donors five, ten or even twenty years ago.

2. Supporters

People still want to give and are giving more; the latest CAF giving report shows the total amount given to charity has increased to £10.3 billion, and some of our recent research has also revealed, that a higher number of causes are being included per will than ever before (more on this coming soon!).

In 2017/18 the top 1,000 charities (in terms of income) received £2.38bn in legacy income, accounting for 28% of total fundraised income and 14% of total income, therefore funding large proportions of causes and the excellent work that is done. Over the past five years, legacy income has grown by 6.7% p.a., outpacing both fundraised income (+5.3% p.a.) and total income (+4.5%). This is in no small part is down to the fantastic work of legacy staff and those driving the direction of legacy strategies. It’s great to see that in so many organisations, investment in legacy fundraising is increasing, while so many other areas of fundraising are saturated or stagnating, legacies continue to grow, and look set to do so in the many years ahead.

3. The people and organisations pushing legacy giving forward

Sector bodies play a hugely important role; actively campaigning to raise awareness of charitable will writing and to inspire people into actually making that legacy. This week it’s Remember a Charity Week, in Australia, it’s Include a Charity Week, where incidentally Meg Abdy is on a whirlwind tour of five cities in five days (more on this in October’s Viewpoint), so both here and abroad, awareness of legacy giving, and turning that into action, will continue to grow.

4. Generosity of spirit and collaboration

I couldn’t write this piece without mentioning the spirit of collaboration we witness and are proud to be part of, with all the charities and fundraisers we’ve worked with over the last 25 years.

For someone who used to work in individual giving, which I thought was collaborative at the time, legacy giving and its illustrious fundraisers, responsible for driving legacy strategies at their organisations, take this collaboration to a whole new level which is wonderful. From the special interest groups, which are always well-attended and engaging, full of inspiring and thought-provoking discussion, to our Legacy Monitor consortium sessions and latterly, Legacy Journey, there are many ways in which knowledge and ideas are shared, for the good of the sector with the supporter at its heart.

This level of collaboration plus sharing of real information; income, bequest numbers, response rates and creative executions, enables incredible levels of benchmarking and understanding into the broader sector and peer organisations; This wouldn’t happen in any other industry, and it should be applauded.

5. Greater (and improving) legacy stewardship

We have seen some fantastic stewardship through our Stewardship research; Guide Dogs Name a Puppy and RNIB’s events and gifts are standout. There have been some very emotive marketing campaigns launched; NSPCC’s leave footprints in the sand and leave a gift in your will and become a Marie Curie Legend to name a few. Importantly, many of the contributing charities said they were planning to invest more in stewardship over the coming years; more resource should be a good thing for legacy supporters, especially if it means that stewardship will get the priority it deserves by fundraising teams and senior management.

Brexit may or may not happen, there may be a deal or there may not. Nevertheless, this is mostly out of our control. What we can control is what we are doing now, what our charities and we will be doing in the future, which is, and will be excellent legacy fundraising.

For more like this from the Legacy Foresight team and industry peers, please sign up to our newsletter.