Almost half of Irish adults said that they would leave a gift to children’s and animal charities in their will

New research has revealed that children’s charities are most popular among Irish adults when asked what charities they would leave a gift to in their will[1]. The research, commissioned by MyLegacy as part of its fourth annual Best Will Week campaign, revealed that one in three people would include a gift to a children’s charity, while one in six would consider leaving a gift to an animal welfare charity. Best Will Week encourages people to make a will and consider leaving a gift to their favourite charity after family and friends have been looked after.

The new research found that when asked what charities they would remember in their will, Irish adults said:

1. Children, 30%
2. Animal welfare, 16%
3. Health, 14%
4. Homelessness, 11%
5. Anti-poverty, 8%
6. Disability, 7%
7. Education, 4%
8. Elderly, 3%

Best Will Week takes place in Autumn. During this week, participating solicitors from across Ireland offer initial will consultations to people who are considering making a will or would like to amend an existing will. Organised by MyLegacy, which is an umbrella group of over 70 of Ireland’s favourite charities, the campaign encourages people to avail of expert, impartial and independent advice on the importance of making a will, while also asking people to consider leaving a gift to charity. There are almost 500 solicitors already signed up to participate.

Speaking about the Best Will Week campaign at Leinster House, Susan O’Dwyer, Chairperson of MyLegacy and CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation said: “It is so important to make a will; however, the instance of leaving a gift to charity is still relatively low. In our experience, this is often because people don’t realise that they can leave a gift to charity in this way. Best Will Week plays a vital role in putting this issue front of mind by reminding people of the positive difference that they can make when they leave a gift – regardless of the size – to charity. It is one of the best ways of helping the charity to continue the already great work that they are doing. The first step in doing so is to make an appointment with your local solicitor to make a will or change your existing will.”

Susan concludes: “We all have a charity or a cause that is particularly close to our hearts; by leaving a gift to charity we can help ensure that the work of our favourite causes continues to live on. It is a wonderfully rewarding experience that can benefit so many other people after you have gone.”

Making a will is easier, cheaper and more straightforward than people often think, while not having a will can cause problems, both legal and personal, that could be easily avoided. Best Will Week encourages people to access expert, effective and practical advice on making a will.

Research on charitable giving

Previous research commissioned by MyLegacy found that just one-third of people living in Ireland have a will[2]. This research also indicated that having a will is a consequence of age; 71% of those over 45 years have a will, while only 26% of those aged 25 to 44 years of age and 3% of those aged 18 to 24 years have a will.

Other research highlights are as follows:

  • Ireland is ranked as the fifth most charitable country in the world in the 2013 World Giving Index[3], but only 10% of those who have made a will in Ireland have included a gift to charity[4].
  • Leaving a gift to charity in their will was most popular among younger people (18 to 34)
  • Though one in two people aged 45 to 64 have a will, this group is least likely to consider making a donation to charity in their will at this stage in their lives (26%).
  • The key motivations when considering leaving a legacy to charity are:
    – That a family member had an illness associated with a particular charity (44%)
    – The availability of money to donate (35%)
    – Believe and support in a charity’s ethos (34%)
    – Personal experience with a charity (33%)
  • Two in every five of those who have not yet made a will (44%) intend to do so within the next five years.
  • This figure rises to 68% among those who are between the ages of 45 and 64.

A full list of participating solicitors and charities is available at


[1] Amárach Research September 2014 Omnibus

[2] Amárach Research Omnibus: Will Making and Charitable Legacies, August 2012

[3] World Giving Index 2013, December 2013

[4] Community Foundation of Ireland (CFI), Realising the power and potential of charitable bequests in developing Irish philanthropy 2010