Archive for February, 2013

A response to the Giving Pledge announcement

February 19, 2013

The Giving Pledge is the most high profile public campaign promoting philanthropy among the wealthy. A unique, international survey of high net worth individuals has been conducted by the Institute for Philanthropy which reveals the attitudes of philanthropists to the Giving Pledge.

The majority of respondents (68.4%) estimate that they will give up to 50% of their wealth in their lifetimes. Of the 26.3% of respondents who estimated that they will give at least 50% of their wealth in their lifetimes less than half (four of ten) have signed up to the Giving Pledge or adopted its principles.  Two people (5%) did not respond to this question. 18.42% estimate they will give between 51-75% of wealth; 7.9% estimate they will give over 76% of wealth.  Furthermore, the majority have already decided the way in which they will carry out their giving (in their lifetimes, or through a vehicle after their death, for example).

David Sainsbury, one of the new Giving Pledge signatories announced today, explains his motivations for philanthropy: “A number of years ago my wife, Susie, and I decided that spending any more money on ourselves or our family would not add anything to our happiness, but that using it to support social progress was something that we both found deeply fulfilling. We, therefore, decided to transfer gradually most of our wealth to our charitable trusts, and looking back that has turned out to be a very life-enhancing decision.”

The motive for the four philanthropists who completed the survey and who have signed up to the Giving Pledge or have adopted principles is “Wish to devote the majority of wealth to good causes”, not “Wish to encourage other people to become more involved in philanthropy” or “Belief that wealth is a burden on future generations”.

Interestingly, our results indicate that the number of philanthropists who have already made the decision to commit the majority of their wealth to good causes is potentially much greater than the Giving Pledge campaign implies.

This could be due to a low level of knowledge of the Pledge among philanthropists (just over half of the respondents had heard of the Giving Pledge and knew what it consisted of (55.2%) and of those who have not heard of the Giving Pledge, half are in the UK (four people) and half in North America (three from the US and one from Canada)).

There are however other factors beyond a lack of knowledge: our survey found that the most common consideration behind not signing the Pledge or adopting principles is a desire to remain private. The second most popular consideration was a wish to pass wealth to future generations.


  • Respondents came from seven different countries, the UK (39.5%) and US (36.8%) were the most common geographies, however we also had respondents from Canada, Mexico, Netherlands, Finland and Italy.
  • The average annual giving of respondents is $1,532,941 (result possibly skewed by two donors who are giving away very large sums of money). One third of respondents are giving away at least $1m annually.
  • Of those who have signed up or have adopted the principles of the Giving Pledge, these people are giving away at least $1m philanthropically a year
  • The timeframe in which giving will take place is fairly mixed: 26.3% said the majority of giving would be carried out during the philanthropists lifetime, 31.5% said that there would be a vehicle for philanthropy after their death, and 29% said that they had not decided yet.
  • The majority of respondents reported they believed that the Giving Pledge would result in an increase in philanthropic money (71%).
  • Many respondents expressed the belief that the role of philanthropy was not just to “throw money at problems”; rather it should be well-researched, thought through and strategically deployed for impact. As one donor said of the Giving Pledge: “money shouldn’t be the only thing acknowledged”.
  • The survey was distributed throughout an influential network of philanthropists, many of whom have graduated from The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW) programme which educates major donors in the skills of strategic philanthropy.
  • 38 people responded to the survey

For more information please contact:

Daisy Wakefield,

+44 (0) 207 2400626


Three “The Philanthropy Workshop” Alumni are honoured at prestigious philanthropy awards

February 14, 2013

In the week when media attention was focussed on the charitable status afforded to what appears to be a financial vehicle, the Cup Trust received far more media attention than the Beacon Fellowship Awards did.   The Beacon Fellowships recognise a broad range of philanthropic activity contributing time, talent and money to achieving meaningful social change.

There is a growing body of evidence – compiled by Beth Breeze at the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy and others – which shows that the press is much more likely to depict philanthropists in a negative light than a positive one, preferring to focus on lifestyle, wealth and appearance rather than social impact. This begs the question of what more can we do to raise awareness and celebration of the positive contributions of philanthropy to society?  We believe that the Beacon Awards represent a positive step towards redressing the balance in the way in which philanthropy is viewed in the UK.

Now in its eighth year, the Beacon Awards, which are sponsored by J.P. Morgan Private Bank and supported by the City of London Corporation’s charity City Bridge Trust and Pears Foundation, are given to individuals, families and small groups of individuals working collaboratively for outstanding philanthropic achievement across seven distinct categories.  Names familiar to the public, though perhaps not for philanthropy, including J K Rowling OBE and Sir Ronald Cohen were among the recipients, as were three alumni of The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW), our flagship programme.

Marcelle Speller and Nicholas and Jane Ferguson, who all participated in TPW between 2006 and 2008, have developed effective strategies to support local communities in the UK.  Marcelle Speller, along with Richard Bradbury, Stephen Dawson and Michael Norton, was given the “Beacon Award for Pioneering Philanthropy” for having demonstrated an original approach in meeting a social, environmental or charitable cause.  As a result of participating in TPW, Marcelle set up, a digital platform that makes fundraising easy for small, local charities and their supporters. The groups on the site, which are vetted by Community Foundations or, are also able to use the platform to raise awareness and support for their work, as well as raising funds. Since its launch in 2008, the initiative has gone from strength to strength: in 2012 over £3million donations, Gift Aid and match funding was channelled to 3,000+ local charities and community groups registered to the site.

Marcelle commented: “I’m delighted to receive the award – to be honoured by your peers is the ultimate accolade. I’m especially happy that the impact is having on small, local charities and community groups has been recognised in this way.  And without the inspiration and great supportive friends that I received from the Institute for Philanthropy workshop, it would never have happened.”

Nicholas and Jane Ferguson and Jack Morris were awarded the “Beacon Award for Place-Based Philanthropy”, which celebrates the work of an individual, family or small group of individuals working collaboratively, whose giving serves a geographical area — whether a village, city, region or country.  Together with their family, Nicholas and Jane run The Kilfinan Trust, which supports communities in Kintyre, Mid Argyll and the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll and Bute. In particular, their philanthropy is focussed on families, young people and the elderly, which are groups that are particularly vulnerable in this isolated and rural area.

Following the announcement of the award, Nicholas said: “This award, for our work with young people and the elderly in Argyll and Bute, stemmed directly from both of us having undertaken the TPW course. We knew we wanted to be of concrete help to our own community. The Philanthropy Workshop taught us how to go about it, and gave us the confidence to do so.”

Despite the Beacon Awards honouring numerous examples of philanthropic achievement and the Cup Trust being an individual case, the latter still received far more media attention, which goes to show that there is still some way to go in raising awareness of the social value of philanthropy. The Beacon Awards make an important contribution to this effort; the Institute is reviewing how we can better utilise our assets to play a bigger part in raising the profile of philanthropy too.

To find out more about The Philanthropy Workshop and the work of the Institute for Philanthropy, please visit our website or email

The future of philanthropy: collaboration and partnerships are increasingly important

February 6, 2013

A growing trend, identified in the annual Family Foundation Giving Trends (PDF) report released in December 2012, is an increase in existing and proposed strategic collaboration and financial partnerships among donors. This is a trend that we have seen grow within our own influential network of philanthropists, many of whom have graduated from The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW) programme which educates major donors in the skills of strategic philanthropy.

These partnerships go beyond “traditional” giving circles and co-funding opportunities. The Indigo Trust funds technology driven projects primarily in Africa, but also uses social and digital media to connect with other funders and share insight. The fundraising community can benefit greatly from the expanded use of social media by donors, gaining a valuable insight into their activities and requirements. The Oak Foundation, which is led by TPW alumnus Dr. Kristian Parker, has taken part in large-scale collaborations with other donors in order to leverage resources, for example to create an institution or fill a gap in infrastructure.

While collaboration and partnership are not new concepts, they are becoming an increasingly important part of the way in which philanthropists work. Facilitated by new technologies, partnerships formed for a range of objectives are set to become commonplace among philanthropists wishing to maximise the impact of their work.

By Mary Glanville, Managing Director of the Institute for Philanthropy in the UK.

This post first appeared in the January – March 2013 edition of Bond‘s “The Networker” magazine. Please click here to read the full magazine (PDF).