More can be done says Charity Commission as third of wealthy donate regularly

13 Sep 2023 News

White piggy bank

Adobe Stock / Dilok

The Charity Commission has said that more can be done to encourage wealthy people to donate to charities after a report revealed that a third currently do so regularly.

Research from Rathbones Investment Management found that 34% of the UK’s high net-worth individuals (HNWs) and business owners have provided regular financial support to charities in the last six months.

This compares to 27% of the general population, according to CAF’s UK Giving Report 2023, who give to charity either weekly or monthly.

Rathbones’ research found that a further 31% of wealthy people provided a one-off cash payment in the past six months.

HNWs and business owners also expressed concerns about supporting charities and those in need, the research said.

Some 49% of respondents reported being concerned about their charitable donations over the next year, and 16% being very concerned. 

Earlier this year, the Sunday Times Giving List reported that Britain’s wealthiest gave £3.4bn to charity in the past year, up by £1.1bn on the previous year’s total.

Charity Commission: We are working on this

Commenting on Rathbones’ report, A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: “It is heartening to see that a proportion of the most well-off in our country give to charity regularly.

“We think there is more that can be done, however, to encourage regular and generous charitable giving as the norm among those who are fortunate enough to be able to.

“We are actively working on this issue, led by our chair and with enhanced philanthropic expertise on our board.

“We know that we are only part of the picture and look forward to working with others in the sector, and beyond, on this important work.”  

Meanwhile, Edward Garrett, head of private clients at CAF, said generosity from those who can afford to give was vital for charities during the cost-of-living crisis.

“From working with wealthy individuals, we know that many are looking for a better understanding of how they can have the most impact through their philanthropy,” he said.

“For some, this can be through regular donations to give charities stability or one-off payments, particularly when they are unrestricted, for charities to pay unexpected bills or focus on their organisational resilience.”

Emma Watson, head of financial planning at Rathbones, said: “Despite the difficult economic climate and uncertainty about future financial stability, HNWs and business owners have remained focused on philanthropic giving. 

“The cost-of-living has tightened purse strings across the board, but it is encouraging to see a continued commitment to charitable giving, particularly at a time when charities need financial support more than ever.”

Rathbones’ research was undertaken by Censuswide between February and May amongst a sample of 1,035 HNWs (people with over £250,000 in investable assets) and business owners. 

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