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Putting money where your mouth is not easy for Sydney AU

Charity does not begin in poshest suburbs

WHEN it comes to promises to leave money to charity, putting money where your mouth is does not come so easily to residents of Sydney's wealthiest suburbs.

Well-off areas represented just four of the top 50 suburbs that bequeath money to charity each year. But research conducted by a new group representing four charities found that people living in higher-income suburbs were more likely to say they intended to leave money in their will.

Some of Sydney's richest suburbs - Darling Point, Edgecliff, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay, Double Bay and Point Piper - all appeared in the top 100 suburbs for intended bequests. But none from these suburbs who said they would give were recorded as actually bequeathing any money in their wills. Yet the dead of Mosman, Randwick and Cremorne appeared to deliver on their promises.

NSW, and in particular Sydney, is over-represented among those who say they will give and under-represented among those who do.

Thirteen of the top 20 suburbs that do give are in Victoria.

The findings have baffled Include a Charity, the group that includes the Australian Red Cross, Mission Australia, the Heart Foundation and Cancer Council Australia, which have joined forces for the first time. They will begin a marketing campaign today to remind people to bequeath them money.

Include a Charity's advertising agency, Senioragency, reached its conclusions after studying data from Australia Post's Lifestyle Survey, which asks people if they would "consider leaving a legacy to a charity", as well as looking at records of bequests made to 10 charities over a decade.

The chief executive of the Red Cross, Robert Tickner, said he was "astounded" by the results, but was unable to explain them. "Bequests no matter how large or small are critically important to us without them we would be in serious trouble," he said, adding that it was time for property-rich Australians, especially in Sydney, to do their bit.

Only 8 per centof Australians leave a bequest to charity. The amount they leave is not known.

The head of Senioragency, Chris Cormack, said he did not make an issue of the suburb study in the ads because he did not want to alienate any of the charities's donors who might live there.

Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes, of Queensland University of Technology's centre of philanthropy and nonprofit studies, said the discrepancy between what people said and did was probably due to the survey.

"If you are asked if you intend to be a good and generous person then of course you are going to say yes, aren't you?"

Julian Lee Marketing Reporter
November 27, 2006

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