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CII BLOG > Cii Blog > New Legacy Insights for Ireland

New Legacy Insights for Ireland

Legacy income to charities in Ireland grew by almost 60% between 2015 and 2019. The finding is from a much-needed new report by Campaign Solutions.
30 Mar 2021
Cii Blog

Niall O’Sullivan of Campaign Solutions takes us through the findings of his latest report into legacy giving in Ireland.

Legacy income to charities in Ireland grew by almost 60% between 2015 and 2019. The finding is from a much-needed new report by Campaign Solutions.

  • The report has verified €234m of legacy income in the five years 2015 - 2019.
  • Income increased from €30.5m in 2015 to €49.1m in 2019. That’s an increase of almost 60%.
  • Taking account of unavailable charity data, the real 2019 figure is thought to be closer to €54m.

In part, because of Covid, the legacies landscape has changed – dramatically. The number of people writing or updating wills has increased. Charities have seen fundraising channels disappear. They now better understand how legacy income could be a welcome, and perhaps in time, more stable source of funding. Waiting and hoping, or having legacy on the bottom of the to do list is no longer an option.

*In total, the accounts of over 750 charities were reviewed. There was not, on this occasion, a formal survey process, but there were follow up calls and emails to about 100 of the charities, including many Cii members.

Among the other findings were:

  • 116 charities have been confirmed thus far to have received bequest income since 2015. A further (small) cohort were identified that received legacies, but the detail is not yet available. The report will be updated periodically as and when new ‘old’ information is provided if needed to reflect that.
  • While more charities are now securing legacies, we have yet to break the century mark for a single year.
  • 2017 was the standout year. Elizabeth O’Kelly almost doubled the legacy income that year when she left €30m to five charities.
  • At least two €1m+ bequests were also received by charities in 2017. Let’s hope this is a pointer to where we could go – rather than being seen as a once off extraordinary year.
  • Further very significant bequests have also come to light.
  • No arts / cultural organisation was identified as securing a monetary bequest.
  • Environmental charities received a tiny amount – just 0.15% - of the total legacy income over the five-year period, equating to an annual average for those identified of just over €70k.
  • 10 charities received over 60% of all recorded legacy income in each year, rising to a high of 75.4% in 2017.

  • Furthermore, of those who had legacy income in both 2015 and 2019, 68% had a higher amount in 2019. The most spectacular was a rise from €2k to almost €0.5m.
  • Overall, the number of charities actually getting bequests is tiny.
  • International comparisons suggest that New Zealanders give over twice as much and UK citizens four times as much as Irish people do by way of bequest.

There are numerous examples of charities increasing their income two, three, four and five-fold. In most cases, these charities have proactive legacy plans in place. Many Irish charities who ‘wait and hope’ are, with some exceptions, not yet securing significant legacy income.

There is a lot more information available in the public report. To receive your copy, please email

New Legacy Insights Research Service

The report has inspired a new initiative from Campaign Solutions called Legacy Insights. Charities are invited to come on board as clients to help continue this research AND to facilitate more in-depth research on both their legacy activity and income. This will be incredibly innovative in an Irish context.

New clients will immediately get the complete version of this new report and separate details of their own market share rank for each year. Further research insights and reports will follow as a result of the research they will collaborate on. Discounts apply for MyLegacy and Cii members but charities must sign up by May 28. This tracker report is just a starting point – and will, with client support, continue for many years. Charities will be welcome to attend Zoom meetings to find out more about the research findings and the new service.

More information on the new Legacy Insights research offering to charities is at

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