Wealthy becoming increasingly active philanthropists despite downturn
13 July 2009, London
A new report published by Barclays Wealth reveals how much of a priority philanthropy has become for the wealthy in the UK and America. Despite the global downturn, three quarters have not decreased their contributions.
- New breed of philanthropist emerges.
- Recession fails to dampen wealthy's philanthropic spirit.
- Wealthy givers will become an invaluable source of innovation and investment for charities.
- Wealthy feel they can make bigger impact by donating directly to charity instead of through taxation.
A new report published today (13th July 2009) by Barclays Wealth reveals how much of a priority philanthropy has become for the wealthy in the UK and America. Despite the global downturn, three quarters (75 per cent) have not decreased their contributions, whilst more than one in four (26 per cent) have increased their giving in the last 18 months.
Entitled "Tomorrow's Philanthropist", the study polled 500 high net worth investors in the UK and US, emphasising that respondents are still highly committed to giving, despite their assets and businesses being under strain. When asked where they would make cuts if the downturn continued, respondents identified luxury goods, eating out, holidays and travel and staff as more expendable than charitable giving.
The report also reveals the emergence of the 'Go Giver', a new, ambitious and younger breed of wealthy philanthropists. This entrepreneurial donor has a stronger commitment to philanthropy than older generations and feels more responsibility to support charities and causes. Evidence of this attitude is reflected amongst the high number of younger respondents who believe that giving will become more incumbent on the wealthy because governments are overburdened with debt.
The next generation philanthropist is also increasingly interested in supporting global causes. 59 per cent of 18-34 year olds stated more interest in global charitable causes, compared to less than a quarter (24 per cent) of 35-44 year olds and a fifth of 44-45 year olds.
Emma Turner, Head of Client Philanthropy at Barclays Wealth commented: "These findings give us an insightful and encouraging snapshot of how we can expect people to engage in philanthropy in the future. In the past, the typical approach was for people to give money and then step away. This new generation of philanthropists are a lot more ambitious and proactive and have perhaps been stimulated by adversity. The findings also show that our younger generations are more socially aware and tuned into global issues."
Government debt and direct giving
The report sheds light on how the wealthy see their philanthropic role changing in light of stretched government resources and distrust in political parties. Half of the respondents (49 per cent) said that because governments are overburdened with debt, giving will become more incumbent on wealthy individuals. This view rose sharply to almost three-quarters (72 per cent) amongst younger philanthropists.
The report also revealed that the wealthy would like a greater say in the way public money is spent to drive change. Nearly two thirds (59 per cent) of high net worth individuals feel that they could make a bigger impact by donating directly to charities and causes rather than indirectly through taxation.
Findings from the report show how donors are looking to make as big an impact as possible. Rather than just contribute to charities and causes, respondents emphasised how much they want to see the impact of their giving. Almost half (45 per cent) of high level donors stated that they would prefer to have donated their wealth before they die in order to witness its impact on society.
Wealthy donors expressed the importance of ensuring their money is put to good use and the majority of respondents feel their donations could be managed more effectively. 40 per cent agree that charities are efficient in the management of money, whilst 53 per cent disagree. In addition, the majority of respondents are becoming more specific about how they want their donations spent. More than half (51%) said that giving would become more about investing in individual projects rather than just giving to large charities.
Emma Turner continued: "In some ways, the recession and its knock on effects have galvanised the attitudes and approaches taken by wealthy donors, who are in a bullish mood to not only carry on giving, but make an even bigger impact in the future. Because many of them have an entrepreneurial streak, they take risks, want value for money, solve problems and generally do things differently. This is changing the philanthropy landscape and the results should benefit charities and causes."
Women rise to the fore
The report gives a strong insight into how philanthropic approaches vary depending on demographics and gender, shedding light on how we might expect to see people engage with charities and causes in the future.
Findings revealed that women are playing an increasingly important role in driving the charitable agenda and that women are more generous than men, giving away a higher percentage (2.3 per cent) of their net investable assets than their male counterparts (1.3 per cent). This trend was accentuated in the US where women give almost twice as much in percentage of their investable assets.
The report also suggests that women's role in the future of philanthropy goes beyond being more generous than men and that they will also play a key role in influencing future generations' attitudes towards giving. The findings showed that women (38 per cent) were much more likely than men (25 per cent) to involve their children in general conversations about charity. They would also be more likely than men to involve their children in the processes of choosing the charity their family contributes to.
Read the full report by downloading the PDF.
For further information contact:
Will Bowen, Barclays Wealth, Corporate Communications, +44 (0) 20 7114 2434
Arnaud Humblot, Barclays Wealth, Corporate Communications, +44 (0) 20 7699 2756
Cohn & Wolfe
Will Spratt +44 (0) 20 7331 2367 / +44 (0) 7947 427312
James Pieslak +44 (0) 20 7331 5309 / +44 (0) 7736 325 985
Hannah Mercer +44 (0) 20 7331 2359 / +44 (0) 7956 606 662
About this report
Tomorrow's Philanthropist was authored by Ledbury Research on behalf of Barclays Wealth, to examine how the changing attitudes of high net worth donors will alter the future of charitable giving. It does not aim to glorify or judge these individuals, but rather to better understand how these important donors are changing behaviourally and attitudinally, and to assess the impact that these changes will have on the philanthropic activity in the future.
The report is based on two main strands of research, conducted by Ledbury Research in May 2009. The first is a survey of 500 high net worth individuals in the UK and US (all with investable assets of over £500,000/$1m). Included were over 150 ultra high net worth individuals (all with investable assets over £3m/$5m). These hard-to-reach individuals were asked questions about their current and future attitudes towards philanthropy, including how these have changed over the past decade. The results represent the first time that attitudes of high net worth donors in the US and UK have been compared and contrasted in such a manner.
Alongside this quantitative fieldwork, Ledbury interviewed 20 experts in the field of philanthropy, across the US and UK, about the key trends in charitable giving and how these might change philanthropy.