Online Will Writing – What potential legators really think

Online will writing on laptop

Online Will Writing – What potential legators really think

Online will writing is something the legacy fundraising and legacy marketing teams of many charities have tested, explored or at least considered. Fundraisers have many different opinions, but if you want to be supporter centric then it’s vital to get a sense of what the legacy giving public think.

As part of our benchmarking process we explore 13 motivations that encourage people to leave a legacy to charity and 15 barriers that stop them doing so. However we also obtain insights into broader attitudes towards legacies and online will writing is one of these.

From our survey 37% of people agree with the statement that “I would be happy to write my will online” and, unsurprisingly, this decreases with age as shown in the table below.

Opinions on online will writing

But that’s not the whole story. The numbers vary dramatically between causes, in the graph below we will compare two charities for causes. In the case of Charity A, 40% would feel comfortable writing their will online but Charity B has a much lower figure at 16% and the age distribution is also insightful.

Two charities audiences opinions on online will writing

When we consider legacy fundraising through online will writing we need to not only look at the differences between ages and charity but how supporter’s opinions differ. The graph below shows the results of another important question regarding will writing, those who agree with the statement “I would only write my will with a solicitor’s legal input”. As you can see there is a clear correlation with this and an antipathy to online will writing.

Online will writing graph: solicitor's legal input

The table above is based on legacy fundraising data from the same two example charities. It illustrates that the higher the willingness to write a will online, the less important the need for a solicitor is perceived to be.

Whilst every charity needs to go through its own process to understand their own online will writing opportunity and how it fits in with their legacy fundraising strategy, what is clear is that solicitors still have an important role in the consumers mind. Ironically, if if we want to encourage legacy fundraising through online will writing then one key message could be the testimony of solicitors about its legal authority and validity.

“The rise in online will writing has the potential to majorly increase charities’ income. Just one or two new legacies can make all the difference. With 48% of people surveyed here aged 50-59 open to writing an online will, charities should make the most of what could be the future of will writing. This means not only encouraging online will writing, but also carefully considering the motivations and barriers that influence whether someone would leave a will to their charity.”

David Cole, Managing Director, fastmap

“The legacy market is currently worth more than £2.8 billion a year, that’s more than 25 Comic Relief appeals. A further 4% increase in the numbers of people who leave a gift could raise a further £1 billion for good causes every year. Exploring and optimising your legacy fundraising strategy should be one of the main priorities for charities.”

Rob Cope, Director, Remember A Charity

For more insight download this legacy fundraising report created by fastmap and Freestyle Marketing.

This is a guest blog written by Allan Freeman, Managing Director at Freestyle Marketing. To learn more about how our research can help inform your legacy fundraising strategy don’t hesitate to get in touch with Allan on or +44 07957 344734, or David Cole, Managing Director, fastmap on +44 (0) 20 7242 0702 or

Visit to learn more about our charity market research and to get complimentary insights on marketing consent, face-to-face consent, Legitimate Interest, DRTV and fundraising.

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