By LEANNE WARNER
Include a Charity is based on the successful model established in the United Kingdom, operating over many years. This fantastic ‘social movement’ invites charity groups to unite, under one umbrella, to inspire and encourage people to leave a gift to their favourite charities in their Will. As a volunteer group, we started the campaign in Australia two years ago and already we have over 150 charities working together to share this message of hope and opportunity. It is exciting to help people remember their favourite charities, and help them continue to do good work, after they are gone.
Many of Australia’s most loved charities are involved, from the RSPCA, Cure Cancer and the Cancer Council, Mission Australia, World Vision to the Red Cross and the Heart Foundation, plus many many more. Together, we are working to do what no single charity has ever been able to achieve on its own – change the way Australians think about including charities in their will.
I became part of the Include a Charity committee in 2012, because collaboration across the Non-Profit Sector is what I am passionate about. Without bequests, a number of charities, including Cure Cancer Australia, would not be able to do the work that they do. While it’s an income that we cannot plan on of course, it is vital to our organisation and to many others as it helps us to tackle bigger projects and offer services that we may not have otherwise had the capital to commit to.
Australians are regarded internationally as a generous nation. We care and we are passionate about the areas of the world and our own communities, that we want to see improved as a result of our donations. Interestingly around 75% of Aussies support charities during our lifetimes, which is an impressive number. Disappointingly however, only 7.5% of us leave a gift in our Will to a charity. Include a Charity’s aim is to increase this giving to 12%, which would create an additional $440 million- an incredible legacy for Australian charities.
Since Include a Charity formed in 2011, we have witnessed some positive change in the number of people who intend to leave a bequest, and also those who actually go on to do so. It appears from consumer research that has recently been conducted by Include a Charity that about 38% of people are increasingly open to discussing this wish with their legal professional and their loved ones, and solicitors are slowly becoming more proactive in raising the subject with clients. Yet despite these trends, only one in five Australians go on to actually leave a gift to charity in their Will. Imagine if the other 4 out of 5 people could learn about this concept and maybe commence discussions with appropriate people, especially loved ones, in order to see their wishes come to fruition at a point in the future?
We recently celebrated Include a Charity Week, and the video you see here is from our Melbourne Launch event in Federation Square. We also held events in Sydney (Taronga Zoo) and Brisbane (Old Museum). Together, nearly 200 charity representatives nationally came together for the first time to unite in raising awareness of our cause. Some of those present were CEO’s, Ambassadors, Board members and indeed people who have made that generous gift and included their charity of choice in their final wishes. This is not only a message for high net worth individuals, because if all of those who give currently thought about leaving what they personally can afford, the power of the collective dollars would be incredible. Every dollar counts.
For more information about Include a Charity, a full list of member charities and for more on how to leave a bequest please visit www.includeacharity.com.au
Leanne Warner is the CEO Cure Cancer Australia.
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