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Welcome to the Giving Thought Podcast, a bi-weekly exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society from the Charities Aid Foundation’s in-house think-tank, Giving Thought.

In each episode your host Rhodri Davies (formerly with co-host Adam Pickering) explores a big issue, theme or trend and analyses what it means for philanthropy and civil society around the world.

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Sep 1, 2020

In this episode we chat to Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, about charitable legacy gifts and legacy fundraising: what they are, what role they play in the overall charity landscape and how they have changed during the COVID pandemic. Including

  • How big a part of the landscape for charitable giving in the UK are legacies? How has this changed over time?
  • If legacies have been a growth area in recent years (as many figures suggest), why is this? Is there greater awareness, more fundraising, or are people simply more likely to leave wills?
  • What particular role do legacies play in the overall funding mix for charities? (i.e. what is their unique value?)
  • Why do people leave legacies? How to fundraisers tap into some of the complex psychological drivers?
  • How do legacy gifts relate to other forms of giving at an individual level? (i.e. do most legacy gifts come from people who already give in other ways, or do they come instead of other gifts?)
  • Does discomfort when it comes to talking about death present an ongoing barrier to legacy fundraising?
  • Does uncertainty about the legal status of legacy gifts (and a number of high-profile cases of legal challenge) present a risk?
  • How has the COVID crisis affect the charitable legacy market?
  • Has increases awareness of mortality resulted in more will-making (and consequently more legacy gifts?)
  • Have there been issues with existing legacy gifts during the crisis? (Either in terms of sustaining them, or finalising them in some cases).
  • What effect has the impact of the pandemic on normal end-of-life processes such as funerals had on legacy giving? (E.g. has it resulted in more in-memory gifts from those who have been unable to commemorate the loss of loved ones properly?)
  • How has new legacy fundraising been affected by lockdown measures and restrictions on physical interaction?
  • Have fundraisers had to be more sensitive to the challenges of discussing legacy gifts at a time when many older people have felt particularly nervous or afraid as a result of the pandemic?
  • What impact might the short and medium term economic downturn caused by the pandemic have on the legacy market?


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