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The charity sector relies on public goodwill and funding to deliver its objectives – and many people support the aims and objectives of charitable organisations – but perhaps not their publicised ‘slipshod’ tactics for fundraising. According to a recent survey (Proportion of people who include legacies in their wills is increasing), more people than ever before were including charities within their Wills – but with cases such as longtime Poppy Seller and charity supporter Olive Cooke making the headlines, where does this leave the willing donor when a desire to ‘do good’ through legacy donation is set against such concerning reports?

It appears from the recent Commons Public Administration Committee enquiry that the biggest issue is charities outsourcing their fundraising to external agencies who will often be driven by targets to achieve a certain value  of donations or secure a number of new donors within certain timeframes. This can lead to a disconnect between a charity’s fundamental aims and objectives and donors actual experience of the charity through their fundraisers.

The key message for donors is to identify their chosen charities with care – and ensure that they are aware of the options. With over 195,000 registered charities to choose from, there is likely to be a charity to suit all donors aims and gifts are not just limited to the ‘big’ charities – a legacy left to a small or local charity can make a huge impact in its designated field, providing donors with an opportunity to really make a difference.

And if there are too many charities to choose from, or you wish to make provision for a number of charities but aren’t quite sure on the amounts or proportions, a more general charitable intention gift left for your executors to finalise after your death might be just the solution. Leaving a legacy to charity isn’t just about the charity either – your own estate can benefit from a reduction in the rate of inheritance tax payable if 10% or more is left to charities. Gifts can be of specific amounts or for a share of your estate. They can be for the general purposes of a charity or can be targeted towards specific areas, aims or projects.

The key requirement for prospective charitable donors is to make sure you have a valid Will in place as, without a Will, charities will not receive any benefit from your estate. Keeping Wills under regular review is vital – intentions change over time as do the charities you may support. So ensure you don’t assume your wishes will be followed – make sure your intentions are implemented through appropriate advice and will preparation.

For more information

Contact Donna Holmes.