As we move into 2023, the future looks clear and bright for fundraising professionals working within the bequest space. We can expect to see wider participation in death planning, a greater awareness of legacy giving, and transformational industry changes driven by technology. For charities and nonprofits, there has never been a better time to establish or strengthen their bequest program.
Growth for good
Gathered Here, Australia’s leading free online wills platform, has observed phenomenal growth of online will-writing and charitable gift-pledging. In September 2022, the number of wills written increased by 148% year-on-year. The number of gifts being pledged increased an even higher rate of 228% year-on-year. By the end of 2023, Gathered Here aims to have facilitated $1 billion in charitable pledges via its free online will platform.
“Users are embracing the concept of legacy giving,” said Michael Clohesy, Gathered Here’s Head of Legal. “That legacy directive isn’t as prevalent in traditional wills.”
Approximately 16% of online wills written via Gathered Here include a charitable gift, compared to the national average of 6.5%. Simply put, the more people write online wills, the more money will be funnelled to worthy causes. But technology will help charities far beyond simply increasing will-writing and gift pledging in 2023. Fundraisers will also be able to access a treasure trove of donor information.
Data and insights
With online wills, modern technology platforms can provide hard data on everything from donor age and contact information through to gift type and its estimated value.
Equipped with detailed information about their unique supporter base, charities will be able to choose where to invest in advertising or marketing to have the maximum impact. With a deeper understanding of their supporter base, charities can also create campaigns and communications that more closely resonate with supporters.
This information, combined with the increased revenue being driven by online wills, is why industry expert Ross Anderson believes many more charities will begin adopting online wills over the next few years.
“I’ll be very surprised if the majority of charities in Australia don’t have some sort of free will or online will offering within 10 years,” says Anderson, national manager of gifts-in-wills at the Lost Dogs Home. “Online wills are here to stay — they’ve been with us for some time and they’re definitely going to become increasingly important and far more prevalent in the future.”
Aside from technology, a number of socioeconomic trends are predicted to move favourably in 2023, bringing with them an expected increase in bequests and overall bequest value. UN forecasting shows that Australia’s death rate, the most impactful of socioeconomic factors, is set to increase from 6.69 in 2022 to 6.72 in 2023. While the increase seems marginal, it actually translates to thousands more deaths every month, compared to the historical average.
Australia’s child-free rate is also rising. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that child-free couples will become the most common family type in 2023. This is an important metric as data shows child-free individuals are the most likely to pledge money to charities in their will and generally donate higher amounts.
The combination of these factors and many others, makes 2023 a promising year for charities and nonprofits. However, the onus is on fundraising teams to establish robust, digital bequest strategies. If they fail to do so, they risk falling behind as others forge ahead.
To read more about what’s on the horizon for gifts-in-wills, download the free Future of Online Wills and Bequests Report 2022 today.
Or you can book a demo of our Gifts in Wills Management Platform.