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New research suggests more than 3x as many Australians would leave a gift to charity in their Will

New research by the Include a Charity Week campaign shows more than three times as many Australians would be willing to leave a gift to charity in their Will if the option was more ‘top-of-mind’ when planning their estate.

Include a Charity Week begins 10 September to raise public awareness about the ease and importance of leaving a gift in your Will to charity.

Currently only 7.4% of Australians leave a gift to charity in their Will, but the Include a Charity research found that 25% of Australians say they would like to do this when they go to write or update their Will.  A further 42% were undecided and only one third of respondents said they definitely would not leave a gift in their Will.

“These figures remind us that Australians are big hearted and very generous, but we need to find better ways to have the conversation about gifts in Wills so more Australians can know it is an option,” said Include a Charity Campaign Director, Helen Merrick.

Solicitors could ask the question

Solicitors are key in the Will-writing process, said Ms Merrick, but often do not ask their clients about including charitable bequests fearing it might offend them. But the survey results suggest asking the question does not impact negatively on solicitors.

“Importantly, our research confirmed acceptance of solicitors engaging in charitable bequest conversations: 65% of Australians said it is okay for solicitors to ask about leaving a bequest when they are writing or updating their Will, with a further 11% unsure. Only 23% of Australians did not think it is okay,” said Ms Merrick.

As part of their annual awareness work, Include a Charity will run an #askthequestion campaign to encourage more solicitors to talk to their clients about charitable bequests, after loved ones are provided for. They also hope increasing public awareness of gifts in Wills will spur potential bequestors to ask solicitors how it can be done.

In 2013, a UK study found that when solicitors asked the question about charitable bequests the amount of gifts in Wills doubled from 5 to 10 per cent. But the number rose to 15 per cent when a question about gifts in Wills was prefaced with the suggestion that many other people do this, making it a social norm.

Another issue is that myths persist around gifts in Wills, especially that charitable bequests are only for the famous or wealthy. “But the majority of gifts in Wills are actually left by ordinary, hardworking Australians. Any gift, no matter how big or small, can still make a huge difference for a charity’s work,” said Ms. Merrick.

She adds that motivations for leaving a gift in one’s Will include wanting to leave a lasting legacy or to honour a family member. “Motivations do vary considerably but the difference these gifts can make a charity’s beneficiaries can be transformative. Imagine the impact if a few more people did leave gifts in their Wills.”

Include a Charity aspires to raise $1 billion of income for the charitable sector by 2025.

September 10-16 is Include a Charity Week in Australia, when close to 100 of Australia’s best-loved charities come together to promote how gifts in Wills can be significant for the work of charities. Close to 100 of the country’s best-loved organisations belong, including the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, UNICEF Australia, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Bush Heritage Australia, World Vision Australia, Stroke Foundation, Cottage by the Sea, Garvan Research Foundation and Brightwater Care Group.

More information can be found at

Include a Charity is part of FIA, the Fundraising Institute of Australia. For an interview with Helen Merrick, a bequestor, a charity, or more details, contact:

Kim Carter
Include a Charity PR
0407 771 698

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