Legacy gifts have been the lifeblood of some of the our most important achievements to date and we cannot thank you enough for considering this vital way of supporting the Club.


Safeguarding Scotland’s birds for the future

The SOC has benefitted greatly from past members who have remembered the Club in their Will. Without the generosity and forethought of these individuals, we would not be able to continue our important work promoting interest in, and the study of Scotland’s birds?

Leaving a legacy to the SOC, no matter what size, can help the Club to plan for the future and better inform our decisions with regards to which projects and development work we can undertake.

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Why leave a gift to the SOC?

Many people consider birds to be the litmus paper test for the health of the environment. By recording which species we’ve seen, when and where and how many we saw, scientists can gain a greater understanding of the effects that pollution, habitat loss, climate change and modern farming methods are having on our wild birds. The database of information collected is an extremely important archive of local information – a critical tool for future bird conservation.

The data that SOC volunteers collect and collate is made available to organisations such as RSPB and is one of the first points of reference in informed conservation planning. It is also available to conservationists, planners and developers; wherever possible we work with partners organisations to promote the practice of bird recording and record sharing.

As we all know, change is happening on an unprecedented scale and beyond what we might have imagined. The SOC’s work, recording and monitoring Scotland’s birds and encouraging birdwatchers around the country to submit their sightings, is now more important than ever. We need your help to safeguard our birds for the future.

A gift to the SOC in your Will will help secure the future of the Club and allow us to continue our important work watching over Scotland’s birds.

Where to Watch Birds in Scotland App

In line with the Club's constitutional aims, the SOC developed a free app to encourage and enable more people, from across the world, to study, enjoy and promote the conservation of Scotland's wild birds. The platform allows users to discover the best places to birdwatch around the country and the bird species likely to be found at ~600 featured sites. This unique resource (no digital or up-to-date printed resource like this currently exists) brings Scotland’s birds to a new generation of birdwatchers and appeals to beginners and seasoned birders, as well as general nature and wildlife watchers.

Launched in April 2019, the app has amassed over 1 million site views and won 'Product of the Year' in Birdwatch, BirdGuides' 2019 Birders' Choice Awards, and the BTO/Marsh Award for Local Ornithology 2020 The development of the app is also a wonderful demonstration of what volunteers working together can achieve.

The Scottish Bird Camp

The Club was delighted to work in partnership with our friends at the British Trust for Ornithology in June 2022 to lead the first ever Scottish Bird Camp – an exciting new initiative for young nature enthusiasts and the next generation of ornithologists. Both charities share a strong commitment to engaging and supporting young birdwatchers, and to creating opportunities for people to connect with birds, and with one another. 

The project has been financially viable thanks to generous past members and supporters who have left legacies to the Club. SOC felt that investing in a future generation of conservationists, bird recorders and surveyors was an excellent use of legacy income.

 About to release a bird at the ringing demo © BTO

"There were some really special experiences for him that he will always remember, he particularly liked the bird ringing and that is something that he wouldn't have been able to see without something like the Camp. I'm really pleased he held and released the Dunnock"

Parent of Bird Camp participant

"It was so thoughtfully organised, and Naomi loved all the experiences she had. She has proudly been wearing her Bird Camp t-shirt to school the past two days, and has just sent a letter off to one of the girls she met there, she’s hoping they can meet up in the summer. Thank you so much for giving Naomi the opportunity to have this independent experience, doing something she loves, and to make some new friends along the way"

Parent of Bird Camp participant

Here’s some other examples of work we’ve been able to carry out, and projects we’ve been able to contribute to thanks to the financial support of individuals who’ve remembered the SOC in their Will:

  • Supporting ornithological research through the SOC Endowment Fund
  • Subsidising places at the SOC Annual Conference and SOC/BTO Scotland Scottish Birdwatchers' Conference for Students and young birdwatchers under 30
  • The Young Birders’ Training Course (in collaboration with Isle of May Bird Observatory); a funded opportunity for six young naturalists (aged 16 – 25 years) to spend a week at the Bird Observatory learning essential bird survey skills and techniques, essential attributes for those embarking on a career or role in wildlife recording/conservation. 
  • CASE Studentship; legacy income has enabled us to jointly fund an Aberdeen PhD student investigating the winter distribution of Shag
  • Expanding the George Waterston Library
  • Production of a digital form of the SOC’s award-winning avifauna, The Birds of Scotland
  • The Isle of May Bird Observatory redevelopment

There are various ways you can remember the SOC in your Will, including leaving a bequest of books to the Club, and we hope that the information following will help guide you through the process. If we don’t answer all of your questions here, then please get in touch with us via our online form, by email or on 01875 871 330. All enquiries are confidential and without obligation. 


Guides, Information & Support

More information is available in our Leave a Legacy guide, available below.



The SOC would always advise that you seek advice from a solicitor before making or changing your Will to ensure that your wishes are carried out accurately.


Frequently Asked Questions

All you need to do is to include our full name of The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, alongside our registered office address and registered charity number, and then state what form you would like your bequest to the charity to take (see ‘Types of legacy’ below).

Registered Office Address

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, Waterston House, Aberlady, East Lothian, EH32 0PY

Registered Charity Number


However, if you want to make completely sure of the correct wording used to make a bequest, please use the example wording provided underneath. Your solicitor will also be able to assist you with this.

There are a few different kinds of gifts you can leave in your Will. All sizes and types of bequest are greatly appreciated.

1. Residuary Bequest – Legacy of All or Part of the Remainder of Your Estate

The gift of a set percentage of your estate after all other bequests have been made and debts paid is called a residuary bequest.

Example wording for giving a residuary legacy:

"I give all (or a specified percentage of) the residue of my estate absolutely to the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (Registered Charity Number SC009859) of Waterston House, Aberlady, East Lothian, EH32 0PY, for the general purpose of the Club and I direct that the receipt of the Treasurer for the time being or other duly authorised officer of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors"

2. Pecuniary Bequest – Fixed Sum Legacy

The gift of a fixed sum of money in your Will is called a pecuniary bequest.

Example wording for a pecuniary legacy:

"I give to the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (Registered charity number SC009859) of Waterston House, Aberlady, East Lothian, EH32 0PY, the sum of £ (in words and numbers) for the general purpose of the Club and I direct that the receipt of the Treasurer for the time being or other duly authorised officer of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors"

3. Specific Bequest

The gift of a particular named item left in your Will such as art work, book collection or shares, is called a specific bequest. If you are considering leaving a specific bequest, please do be aware that if we cannot use the gift directly for the work of the charity, we may wish to sell the item and put the proceeds into the Club.

Example wording for a specific bequest:

"I give to the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (Registered charity number SC009859) of Waterston House, Aberlady, East Lothian, EH32 0PY, the specific item(s) of _________ for the general purpose of the Club and I direct that the receipt of the Treasurer for the time being or other duly authorised officer of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors"

Yes you can write your own Will. However, unless you are legally trained, you run the risk of drafting a Will in a way that may be unclear. A tiny error could invalidate the whole document. For these reasons the SOC would always recommend that you seek assistance from a solicitor to ensure that the wording is clear and precise and that your true intentions are carried out.

In this case, speak to your solicitor who can draw up a Codicil (‘a change or addition to the Will’) if it is a simple change. This means there is no need to make a new Will and avoids the costs of having to have your Will re-written. When completed and witnessed, a Codicil becomes a legal part of your Will and should be kept with the Will it refers to.

If you leave an estate of a certain value or above (this value can change with each Government Budget), it may be subject to inheritance tax. The inheritance tax threshold currently stands at £325,000 (2017). Any value of your estate over this figure will be liable for 40% tax. However gifts to charities are awarded before the valuation is calculated. From April 2012, people who leave 10% or more of their net estate to charity can choose to pay a reduced rate of Inheritance Tax of 36%. For more information on inheritance tax, go to the HM Revenue & Customs website.