Where do I start?
Giving is a very personal act, and there is no ‘right’ strategy. It is a question of what matters to you, what you want to achieve and how you wish to approach your philanthropy. It does not need to be scientific to be done well, and following just a few key principles will help you to give effectively:
- Give responsibly. Be knowledgeable about the causes and organisations you are supporting.
- Understand the impact of your giving. Be confident that you are achieving your objectives.
- Seek good advice. Seek experienced advice on your giving programme and on individual investments.
Your giving will be most effective - and most rewarding - when you match your interests and motivations with the need. Start by asking, and answering, these questions:
- Why do you want to give? What are your motivations?
- What causes do you care about?
- How do you want to make a difference to a cause you care about?
- What needs are most pressing?
- What needs are least well served? Where are the gaps?
- How can you have an impact?
Click here to learn more about what motivates Britain's wealthy to give.
Need help in really understanding who you are as a philanthropist and what is most meaningful to you? A deck of 'Picture Your Legacy' cards, created by 21/64 to help funders articulate their thinking and feelings into formulated mission statements might just help. As a corporate giver they will help you in deciding about critical issues, such as whether to fund programmes or provide operating support? Invest in established organisations or experiment with start-ups? As an individual, whther you are giving modest or substantial sums, this tool will help you picture the kind of philanthropist you wish to be.
Who to give to?
There are a huge amount of options.
- Donate to registered charities
- Give to individuals
- Support social enterprises
- Invest in ethical businesses
- Regenerate communities through community development finance
- Be a socially responsible investor
- Establish a corporate social responsibiltiy programme at your own company
Learn more about how to select specific charities to support with Philanthropy Impact's guide to giving.
What to give?
In addition to grants, you also can use loans, 'quasi-equity' and other risk-based finance, helping to fill a gap in the financing spectrum for charities and other social purpose organisations.
In deciding how much to give, determine what the charity needs as well as what it has the capacity to deliver: you can give too much as well as too little. Also talk to your wealth manager about your own financial planning needs, to help you feel more secure - and generous - in your philanthropy.
How to give?
There are a variety of mechanisms you can use to achieve your philanthropy objectives, including:
- Cash (using Gift Aid)
- Direct debit
- Payroll giving
- Charitable trust
- Charity account, such as at CAF
- Funds at community foundations
- Venture philanthropy
- Giving circle, such as The Funding Network
- Ethical banks, such as Charity Bank and Triodos Bank
- Community development finance institution
Where to turn for advice and support?
There is a wide range of charitable services and products to help you to give effectively, from databanks of possible charities you can support to advisory services specially tailored to your personal interests and giving. You also can talk to your professional advisors - wealth managers, solictors or accountants - about your giving options.
Take a look at our listed organisations for donor support, where to donate and advisory services.
City Philanthroy coach Caroline Fiennes also offers great advice on how to find a good charity.
Connect with other givers and learn from peers; check out the philanthropy networks operating in the City.
When to start?
You can start now. Philanthropy is not just fo rthe wealthy or for the retired. In fact City Philanthropy aims to promote philanthropy as part of a successful City career. Effective philanthropy requires much expertise and knowledge just as a career does and those you acquire will enhance your career and CV. Philanthropy also offers opportunities to broaden your circles and vision through useful networking; board room experience, working in other sectors and meeting people you wouldn't normally have the chance to. City Philanthropy is encouraging people to start their professional philanthropy careers as soon as they enter work.
This website offers the information and tools you need to get started, and signposts you to further resources to help take you to the next step in your giving journey.
- Begin with A Guide to Giving, the essential handbook for philanthropists, which offers a giving navigator for effective giving as well as overviews of a variety of giving mechanisms.
- Explore the Organisations section on this site which are continually updated.
- Stay up-to-date with the latest developments in philanthropy by subscribing to the our free monthly newsletter
If you want to share your story about how you got into philanthropy, challenges you've faced and how you've overcome them, get in touch. We'd also love to hear which people or organisations have been helpful to you, so we can feature them on our site.