Skip to main content
Home » Legacy » Here’s why you need to think about leaving a charitable gift in your will

James Stebbings

Head of Legacy Income, Macmillan Cancer Support

Many charities rely on gifts in wills to fund the vital services and support they provide. If you haven’t thought about leaving a charitable gift in this way, it’s easily remedied.

It’s tough out there for charities. The work they do is vital, yet many charitable organisations struggle to provide support services to people in need without funding. Austerity, and now the cost of living crisis, has put some in a more challenging situation. 

A way to contribute to a cause

Legacy giving — gifting money to a charity in your will — is so important for good causes. Donating this way is easy to do, and even a small amount can make a big difference. However, consumer polls found that even though 40% of people aged 40 and above would happily give a percentage of their estate to charity, only 20% said they have actually done this. While the legacy market currently stands at a relatively buoyant £3.9 billion, more charities could provide the care and support needed if more people left gifts.

“Legacy giving provides over a third of our income and funds nearly 40% of our services. That means this revenue stream is critical for us to continue our work supporting those affected by cancer,” reveals James Stebbings, Head of Legacy Income at Macmillan Cancer Support

Leaving a gift in your will is one of the biggest differences you can
make to help people with cancer live life as fully as they can.

Funding vital cancer care and support services 

With cancer numbers rising all the time (it’s estimated that 4 million people in the UK will be living with the disease by 2030), the work of Macmillan Cancer Support is more important than ever. That’s why they are working to encourage legacy giving, to help meet this growing need.

“We provide emotional, physical and financial support for people living with cancer,” says Stebbings. “We’re running campaigns such as ‘What Are We Waiting For?’ which aims to reduce cancer waiting times. We have a support line and health professionals. We want to make sure that anyone living with cancer has access to the right care and that their needs are being met. All of these things need funding, which is why we need legacy income. Many support services depend on gifts in wills.” 

Legacy giving provides over a third of our
income and funds nearly 40% of our services.

Anyone can leave an extraordinary gift 

The good news is that anyone can leave a gift to a charity in their will. All they have to do is work out which cause (or causes) they want to help. “What’s heartening about this form of giving is that so-called ‘ordinary’ people are able to leave extraordinary gifts,” says Stebbings.  

“For example, a chap from Blackburn, Lancashire, had less than £1,000 in his bank account when he died. But he had bought a three-bedroom house in the 1940s; his wife had pre-deceased him, and he had no children. So, he left his entire estate — £75,000 — to Macmillan Cancer Support. Now, that was a massively generous gift from someone who may not have been financially able to support us each month with a £5 or £10 donation. He did something incredible — a final act that will help so many people.” 

Find out how to leave your legacy 

To help potential supporters understand how to leave their legacy, they can turn to the charity’s free ‘Gift in Wills’ guide. It provides practical tools to support you through the process, including various ways to write a will and some inheritance tax considerations.  

The guide also explains why you should consider leaving a gift in your will to the cancer charity. “Sadly, cancer will affect one in two of us in our lifetimes,” says Stebbings. “So, without any obligation, please consider leaving a gift in your will to our charity. It’s a way to think about your children and grandchildren and help us be there for people affected by cancer in the future. It’s a lasting legacy.” 

Access the Gifts in Wills guide

Next article