Nfp Synergy - Major donor research synthesis report October 2017

Nfp Synergy - Major donor research synthesis report October 2017 609Kb PDF

12 October 2017

Nfp Synergy - Major donor research synthesis report October 2017

Nfp Synergy - Major donor research synthesis report October 2017

Executive Summary 

‘Major donors’ are generally defined as individuals who make large personal donations to charitable organisations. Existing research can help fundraisers to understand their motivations, more consistently adopt best practice and to increase their income from major donor giving.

Following the turn of the twenty-first century, claims have been made about the ‘re-emergence and re-invention’ of philanthropy in the UK; Breeze argues that there is now sufficient evidence to confidently speak of a ‘boom time’ for UK philanthropy driven by new and repeat million-pound donors.[1]

The US remains significantly ahead of any other country in terms of giving; in the US $258.5bn was given to charity in 2015, compared to $17.4bn in the UK.[2] Differences between the UK and the US include their tax regimes, and the tendency for giving in the US to be more public than in the UK.

It remains easy to define major donors in financial terms, yet this is to underestimate the breadth of engagement that major donors may offer the charity sector, whether this is time, advice, expertise and contacts.

The wide variation in giving levels among the wealthy demonstrate that there is not a simple relationship between possessing economic resources and giving; the capacity to give must be matched by the desire to give.[3] Various theories of philanthropy have been suggested, alongside interlocking influences that drive the wealthy to give.

Why Rich People Give revealed that ‘feeling that my money will make a difference’ (74%), ‘being already interested in the cause’ (74%), ‘if it fits with my pre-determined giving objectives’ (73%) and ‘being asked by someone I know and respect’ (69%) were considered the most relevant when deciding which giving requests to consider.[4]

The top three reasons for being pleased about past donations, identified by Breeze and Lloyd, were ‘because I know my money was well spent’ (74%), ‘because of the nature of the cause’ (67%) and ‘because I got sufficient feedback to know it was a good decision’ (64%). Reasons for regretting a donation included: not getting appropriate feedback, losing faith in the charity leadership and feeling that their money was not spent as expected.[5]

Charitable Giving by Wealthy People revealed that barriers to giving largely mirrored findings of research with the general public, relating for instance to the perceived level of impact, administrative costs and bureaucracy, and issues surrounding well-publicised financial scandals.[6] The dominant reason for not giving was that some rich people don’t give because they feel financially insecure.[7]

The CAF 2015 study suggests that there is no correlation between the percentage donated by individuals to charity and measures of personal taxation.[8] The study did identify a negative correlation between employer social security charges and charitable giving.

Lloyd and Breeze recommend that charities: become better at asking, ensure that experiences of serious giving are positive and reinforcing, integrate legacy promotion with other forms of relationship development, consider matched funding schemes and to address the lack of confidence in their competence.[9]

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[1] Breeze, B. (2016) The Coutts Million Pound Donors Report 2016. Coutts: London.

[2] CAF (2016) Gross Domestic Philanthropy: An International Analysis of GDP, Tax and Giving

[3] Edwards, L. (2002). A Bit Rich? What the wealthy think about giving. London, Institute for Public Policy Research.

[4] Breeze, B. and Lloyd, T. (2013) Richer Lives: why rich people give. DSC: London.

[5] Breeze, B. and Lloyd, T. (2013) Richer Lives: why rich people give. DSC: London.

[6] Taylor, J., Webb, C. and Cameron, D. (2007). Charitable Giving by Wealthy People. London, Ipsos MORI/HM Revenue and Customs.

[7] Breeze, B. and Lloyd, T. (2013) Richer Lives: why rich people give. DSC: London.

[8] CAF (2016) Gross Domestic Philanthropy: An International Analysis of GDP, Tax and Giving

[9] Breeze, B. and Lloyd, T. (2013)Richer Lives: why rich people give. DSC: London.

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