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Legacy giving and behavioural insights

For the last two years, BIT has been working with Remember A Charity and Professor Sarah Smith from the University of Bristol to learn more about people’s motivation to leave legacy gifts. As part of this programme of research, we have conducted eight randomised controlled trials with solicitors firms. Each of these trials is individually smaller than our previous study with Co-Operative Legal Services, but we can learn much from them in combination.


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Legacy giving is an important part of the landscape of charitable giving in the UK, accounting for almost a quarter of all donations, with many charities dependent on these donations to survive. However, while a third (35 per cent) of people say that they would be happy to leave a gift in their will, only 6.3 per cent of people actually do. Today we publish a new research report showing how the will-making process can raise awareness of legacy giving and affect whether or not a charitable bequest is made.

For the last two years, BIT has been working with Remember A Charity and Professor Sarah Smith from the University of Bristol to learn more about people’s motivation to leave legacy gifts. As part of this programme of research, we have conducted eight randomised controlled trials with solicitors firms. Each of these trials is individually smaller than our previous study with Co-Operative Legal Services, but we can learn much from them in combination.

Date Published

October 18, 2016