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Largescale philanthropy increases in UK by £200m

As well as giving more money than ever before, philanthropists are also developing structured and long-term ways of donating their time and expertise

16 November 2015

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The sum value of donations worth £1m or more in the UK increased to £1.56bn in 2014, representing a 15 per cent rise in the 2013 figure of £1.36bn.

The figures come from the Coutts Global Million Dollar report, which also reveals that the number of donations worth over £1m is at the highest level recorded since the report was first produced in 2008.

The recent negative coverage surrounding fund raisers and charities is not reflected in the figures as many of the revelations have been made in 2015, while the figures represent charitable activity in 2014.

However Dr Beth Breeze of the Centre for philanthropy at the University of Kent, who co-author the UK report, believes that high value philanthropy is unlikely to be affected.

'In this eighth year of tracking data on million pound donations, it is exciting to find the highest-ever total number of seven-figure donations, and to see the total value return to levels last seen before the financial crash. It seems clear that donors' confidence is recovering and that charities are trusted to make good use of significant sums, despite the recent torrent of negative media headlines about fundraising practices.'

'Much of that debate has failed to appreciate the difference between mass-marketing aimed at 'high volume, low-value donors', and the very different approach used to build personalised, authentic, and mutually beneficial relationships with those who have the capacity and the inclination to make major donations.

The United States continues to lead the way in philanthropic giving, with $14.11bn donated in 2014. The number of donations worth over £1m in the US was 1,064, dwarfing the 298 donations made in the UK.

Lenka Setkova, executive director of the Coutts Institute, noted that the report also sheds light on some of the more varied ways philanthropists are undertaking charitable work.

'The high proportion of funds given to charitable trusts and foundations indicates that major donors are continuing to organise their giving for the longer term. But this report is about much more than data.

'As illustrated by the inspiring interviews with major philanthropists, it shows that there has never been a more exciting time for philanthropy as donors look to achieve their goals not just through giving grants, but through leveraging other assets including their time, networks or expertise - and in some cases, through how consideration is given to environmental, social, environmental or ethical factors in the investment of endowments'.


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