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Title: Leaving a charitable legacy : social influence, the self and symbolic immortality
Author: Routley, Claire Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 5997
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Legacies provide a vital income stream to many charities, contributing £2 billion of charitable income to UK charities each year (Dobbs et al 2010). There is significant potential to increase this figure. Legacy Foresight (2007) estimate that, by 2050, the UK legacy market will be worth £5.2 billion a year, due largely to the demise of the babyboomer generation. Similarly, remarkably few individuals give at death, with only 8 per cent of people giving when they die, as opposed to the 80 per cent who give in life (Sargeant and Radcliffe 2007). Even a comparatively small increase in the percentage of those who give could provide valuable future income to non- profits: an increase from 8 to 12 per cent of decedents giving could provide an extra billion of charitable income a year (Dobbs et al 2010). However, despite the current importance of legacy income to charities and its future potential, legacy giving remains under-researched within the giving literature. There are, however, intriguing leads from the sociology, psychology and economics literatures around late-life planning and the process of identity maintenance and development in older age. This study uses a constructivist grounded theory approach to investigate two of these leads, the concepts of remembrance and generativity. The central question of this study is to investigate the concepts of remembrance and generativity to examine where leaving a charitable legacy fits within an individual's broader self concept and life narrative - their past, their present and their anticipated legacy (in its broadest sense). The data was acquired through depth interviews with people who had pledged a legacy to UK charity, Help the Aged. Three key influencers on legacy giving emerge from the interview data: social influence, the self and symbolic immortality. The research demonstrates the importance of external social influences, both on the will making process, and indeed, on the development of the individual throughout their life course. It also shows the importance of intrinsic motivators such as individual values and personal experiences which forge links with causes and charities throughout the life course. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the research indicates how a charitable legacy can enable the giver to create a sense of symbolic immortality by making a difference to the world they leave behind. These three key themes, alongside other results from the research process, are drawn together to create a model of the legacy giving decision. The study concludes with suggestions for practitioners and for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available