We define philanthropy as the giving of resources in an engaged and strategic way for maximum impact and in a tax efficient manner. It can include the giving of money, assets, time, talent, voice and one’s social capital. We believe in the power of philanthropy as a great social connector and the source of many great opportunities.

City Philanthropy

A Wealth of Opportunity

Richer Lives: Why rich people give

Oct 16th 2013

By Theresa Lloyd and Beth Breeze

£15 from the Directory of Social Change

This is a unique study of wealth and giving that unveils philanthropic motivation. ‘Attitudes’, ‘beliefs’, ‘causes’, ‘duty’ and ‘enrichment’ are five of the 10 elements the research highlights as motivations for why rich people give.

The book is a 10-year update of the first editionWhy Rich People Give and is based on new interviews with 40 wealthy UK donors who took part in the original study - as well as 42 newly emerging donors.

The research, carried out by University of Kent academic Dr Beth Breeze and leading philanthropy adviser Theresa Lloyd, shows that philanthropy is of growing importance in people’s lives and that the political and cultural climate for philanthropy in the UK has improved over the past decade.  Almost all those who give substantial amounts of money give substantial amounts of their time too – the days of the ‘armchair philanthropist’ are very much in the past., the book reveals.

It highlights philanthropy as a life-enriching activity: “The personal benefits of giving create a virtuous circle leading to deeper and longer-lasting commitments to good causes, which in turn heightens the enjoyment and satisfaction of using money for good,” say the authors.

Donors also feel that the last ten years has seen the sector act more professionally, and fundraisers show a better understanding of how different donors may want to engage. When it comes to how much they give, many philanthropists themselves do not feel financially secure, although they appear to have ‘enough to spare’, which is often a barrier to giving, and to giving more.

Based on key findings, the book also provides a series of key recommendations to government, charities, philanthropists and advisers on how to further develop the sector.

The study found:

  • Philanthropists are increasingly keen to be strategic in their giving, by tackling underlying causes rather than symptoms and exploring new options such as social investment
  • Donors need to be askers too.  They need to speak to their wealthy friends and contacts.  Potential givers like to be asked by someone known and trusted
  • Many donors perceive people working in charities as well-intentioned but inefficient.  They need reassurance and proof that charities can and will make best use of donations
  • The rich say that for a gift to be ‘serious’ it has to be at least £10,000 and often much more
  • Philanthropists worry about being seen as ‘tax dodgers’ and were deeply offended by government proposals in the 2012 Budget to cap charity tax relief

The book opens the window on an under-explored aspect of the lives of the rich, during a period when the rest of the country is facing cuts in both public and personal expenditure.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chair of NCVO, who provides the book’s foreword says:

“This book provides us with a number of insights. We learn of philanthropists’ response to matched funding incentives and tax incentives; of how the attitudes of the wealthy are changing and what they look for in the organisations they fund, what they regard as a major donation, and what kind of feedback they seek. And we also hear more about philanthropists’ experience of being asked and thanked, which makes for sobering reading for all those with an interest in increasing major philanthropy. Running throughout the analysis are some enduring questions: How do we make it a social norm for the wealthy to give? What can be done about the sometimes ambivalent attitudes of the media? And just how important is public recognition to donors?"

Lord Joel Joffe, chair of Giving Campaign (2001-04); chair and founder of The Joffe Charitable Trust says:

“I am confident that this book will inform, intrigue, infuriate and inspire in equal measure. Everyone who cares about strengthening social engagement by the wealthy should read Richer Lives.” 

Trevor Pears CMG, chair of  Pears Foundation and founder of The Give More Campaign, who part funded the research, says:

“It should also be of great interest to anyone seeking to encourage a stronger philanthropic culture in the UK.” 

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