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Your Later Life Q4 2020

Charities are struggling. Support them with a gift in your Will

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Dobrila Vignjevic

Rob Cope

Director, Remember A Charity

The coronavirus pandemic has had a drastic impact on the finances of charities. That’s why leaving a gift to a good cause in your Will is more important than ever.

Every part of society has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That includes the charity sector, which has struggled financially through this relentlessly grim period. 

The truth is that, over the last 10 months, charities have faced a devastating dilemma. On the one hand, they couldn’t simply stop working during lockdown because poverty, illness and other issues that charities aim to address never take a break. Even before the pandemic struck, charitable services — from food banks to homeless shelters and cancer care — had seen a spike in demand. When the coronavirus hit, that demand increased even further. 

On the other hand, charities haven’t been able to fundraise in the way they did. Supporters can’t take part in marathons, fun runs and other challenge events; charity shops had to close during lockdown and volunteers couldn’t host coffee mornings and other fundraising events in the community. As a result, the sector’s finances have been drastically reduced.  

Why charities are relying on gifts in Wills to survive 

“Charities find themselves having to do even more than before, but with less money than ever,” says Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, a consortium of charities set up to encourage legacy giving. “One in 10 are now at risk of permanent closure. That’s a scary thought.” 

It’s also why there’s never been a more important time to leave a gift in your Will to a charity (or charities) of your choice. “Over the last year, many charities have relied on donations in Wills for nearly all of their income,” stresses Cope. “So, thank goodness for the kindness of those people who decided to leave them a gift in this way, because it’s been a lifeline. Their generosity hasn’t just helped charities. It’s kept them afloat. Going forward, gifts in Wills will be the cornerstone of the sector’s economic recovery.” 

Leaving a gift in your Will is a way to say ‘thank you’ to a charity for its hard work and dedication.

Charities have been there for us – we need to be there for them 

Leaving a gift in your Will is a way to say ‘thank you’ to a charity for its hard work and dedication, particularly if it has helped you in some way during your lifetime. It’s also very easy to do, so Cope’s message is don’t put it off — act now. Even a small gift can make a big difference. “Charities are the foundation of society,” he says. “They act as a safety net in times of crisis.” 

Now that charities are facing a crisis of their own, we need to step up — otherwise the reality is that many will cease to exist. “By supporting charities, you’re actually supporting the people and communities who rely on them,” he says. “Leaving a gift in your Will gives charities a chance to be financially resilient and continue to help the next generation.” 

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