More than 100 charities will come together for one week this September, united in promoting a single cause: to encourage more Australians to leave a gift in their Will to a charity, after they’ve provided for their loved ones.
From September 5-11, the Include a Charity team coordinates Include a Charity Week to lift the profile of charitable gifts in Wills and provide an opportunity for supporter charities to showcase their contribution to the Australian community.
“While 87 per cent per cent of Australians support charities in their lifetimes, only a very small number – 7.5 per cent – go on to leave a gift in their Will to charity,” said Karen Armstrong, Include a Charity Campaign Director.
Include a Charity seeks to change this by increasing the percentage of people who leave a gift in their Will from 7.5 per cent to 12 per cent, which would make an additional $440 million available to charities.
Many of Australia’s most respected charities support the annual campaign, including the Australian Red Cross, Stroke Foundation, Cancer Council Australia, Amnesty International Australia, Mater Foundation, RSPCA, the Salvation Army, Legacy, Fred Hollows Foundation, the Smith Family, Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Guide Dogs. Together, they work to do what no single charity can do on their own: change the way Australians think about including charities in their Will.
Nigel Harris, Mater Foundation CEO, one of more than 100 charities behind Include a Charity, says: “Include a Charity encourages people to think about philanthropy, what causes are important to them, and what a gift in their Will could accomplish. It’s another way people can support the causes they care about and make an impact after they are gone.
“Without gifts in Wills many charities would not exist.”
“These gifts are absolutely vital to helping continue the great work that charities are doing. Many of Australia’s most-loved charities rely on gifts in Wills to help them carry out their essential work in the community,” adds Ross Anderson, Include a Charity Campaign member and Gifts in Wills Manager for the Stroke Foundation.
A common myth is people think they have to be wealthy to leave gifts in Wills, but Anderson says this isn’t true.
“Absolutely anyone can leave a gift from their estate, no matter how big or small. Each and every gift that charities receive means that they can continue doing their good work long into the future.”
Since Include a Charity was established in 2011, discussing charities when drawing up a Will is becoming more accepted by Australians and some solicitors are becoming more proactive in raising the subject with their clients. Yet only one in five Australians has even considered leaving a gift to charity in their Will.
“It’s wonderful that more people are considering including their favourite charities amongst their beneficiaries, but we still want to inspire the 92 per cent of Australians who haven’t considered it, to give it some thought,” said Karen Armstrong. We’re saying: after you provide for your loved ones, consider naming your favourite charities when you go to make or next update your Will. Your solicitor can help.”