Younger people three times more likely to make in-memory donations, research indicates


Younger people give almost three times as much as their older counterparts through in-memory donations, new research shows.

Analysis by the legacy consortium Legacy Foresight shows people aged between 18 and 44 give on average almost three times as much through in-memory donations as people in the 65- to 75-year-old bracket. 

A report on the findings says younger people are more likely to say they will continue giving in the future via in-memory donations, which includes gifts at funerals, tribute funds, commemorative objects and legacy gifts in wills made in honour of a loved one.

The younger generation is also influencing how donations are made, researchers found, with online payments in this area increasing and new donation methods such as gaming and social media campaigns also growing in popularity.

The group was unable to provide more insight into these numbers before publication of this article.

The research also shows that the in-memory market is “much larger than charities are aware” and is worth between £1.8bn and £2.4bn a year.

Figures from Legacy Foresight, published in March, show that legacy giving in the UK reached £3.85bn in 2022 and is expected to remain stable over the next few years.

The largest source of these funds is funeral donations, but its overall dominance is declining and being surpassed by in-memory group giving.

Group giving is defined as three or more people fundraising together in memory of a lost loved one, often through crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe.

Legacy Foresight found that about 41 per cent of in-memory income was being given as part of a group.

It also found that donations made as part of a group were likely to be higher than donations made by individuals.

Researchers said charities were often being held back by their own processes when dealing with in-memory fundraising groups, because structures and systems are unable to consistently capture information and steward in-memory groups differently from individuals or general fundraising groups.

Ashley Rowthorn, chief executive of Legacy Futures, which Legacy Foresight is part of, said: “The analysis highlights a lack of joined-up structures within fundraising teams, leading to the group dynamic being overlooked.

“Being able to identify in-memory groups and record their motivation for giving is key to enhancing the supporter experience and maximising fundraising potential.”

The research consists of information from a “Learning Circle” of 48 major British charities and a consumer survey tracking the in-memory giving activities of more than 2,000 members of the public.

Rowthorn said: “The data and intel provided by this study presents senior leadership teams with hard, unequivocal evidence regarding the value of in-memory giving.

“It will help non-profits make strategic decisions around their own in-memory investments, teams and campaigns.”

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