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Mental health and cancer top the UK’s charity donations

A Cancer Research UK shop in London. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Archive/PA Images

Mental health and cancer charities are the most popular kind to donate money to in the UK, with giving mostly driven by Brits’ own experiences with illness.

Brits are mostly motivated to donate out of a desire to help charities that have supported them or their loves ones, research by will-writer Farewell has found. To that end, two in five people in the UK will only donate money to charities they have a personal relationship with.

Given the life-threatening prominence of cancer – a staggering one in two Brits expect a cancer diagnosis – it’s hardly surprising that cancer charities. Half (48%) of those who donate money to charities in their will pick a cancer charity.

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One in four Brits experience mental health problems, so it stands to reason that mental health charities are the second most-popular. A third (34%) of Brits who bequeath money to charity chose a mental health organisation.

Animal and children’s charities come in third, with 33%, followed by homelessness (26%), environment (22%), armed forces (20%) and old age (19%).

However, with growing geopolitical tensions over the last few years, 12% of Brits have become “increasingly conscious of the importance of the UK’s armed services”, and therefore have prioritised them within their will.

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Two in five (39%) Brits believe armed forces charities are the most neglected, and three quarters (74%) feel veterans, their families and dependants are not effectively looked after.

A third (34%) of Brits would now consider leaving a legacy donation to a charity within their will, with 80% of those who do pledging an average of £24,000, the research found.

What’s more, a quarter of Brits even would consider donating all, or at least the majority, of their money to charity if they knew their family was taken care of financially.

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Meanwhile, one in 10 Brits do not know they can bequeath money to charities.

With hospices supporting more than 200,000 in the UK each year, it’s hardly surprising 55% of Brits would rather donate money to smaller local charities, where they know it will make a positive impact.

But a quarter (27%) of these Brits are only actually aware of larger charities.