Wealthy people want fundraisers to see them as partners, says report

15 Apr 2020 News

Philanthropists want to be part of the solution in the current crisis, but they need to be seen as partners to charities and collaborate strategically, an umbrella body has said.

Philanthropy movement The Beacon Collaborative, together with New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) and the Institute of Fundraising (IoF), published three reports yesterday on how to maximise private giving from wealthy individuals.

The reports focus on three different topics: how charity fundraisers can work best with wealthy individuals, how they can get together in networks that share common causes, and how to promote and celebrate their work most effectively.

Findings from the reports can help put philanthopy "at the heart of this fight", the Beacon Collaborative says.

How to engage with wealthy individuals

One of the reports, authored by co-founder of the Beacon Collaborative Cath Dovey and published on the IoF’s website, focuses on how fundraisers can best engage with major donors to maximise their giving and impact.

The Giving Experience: Overcoming the barriers to giving among the wealthy in the UK is based on an online survey with a sample of 1,304 wealthy individuals from across the UK. The research found that wealthy individuals “want to be seen as partners and understood as individuals” and that building this kind of relationship is essential to build trust.

Among the findings is also a list of “what wealthy donors are seeking”: information about an organisation’s work, strong financial management, evidence of impact and financial sustainability, with 80% of respondents saying these factors are likely or very likely to influence their funding decision.

The research also says that “fundraisers need to be sensitive to the high levels of anxiety wealthy people feel about their financial security” and suggests categorising donors according to their behaviour and thinking, and not just their wealth.

Dovey said: “This research shows that wealthy people in the UK want to engage as partners and peers to support positive social and environmental outcomes. Fundraisers have a vital role to play in supporting them on that journey.”

NPC’s Collaborating for a Cause report looks at so-called “cause-related networks”, in which wealthy individuals work together for a cause.

It concludes that “cause-related networks offer unique opportunities to increase and improve philanthropic giving”, because “they motivate people to give more and better”, “they strengthen people’s capability to give” and “they create and facilitate opportunities to give”.

Finally, the Beacon Collaborative published the report Giving Voice to Philanthropy, which found that “the true value of philanthropy is as an outcome of strategic partnerships and collaboration” and that philanthropists would prefer having the outcomes of their projects and their collaborative efforts celebrated, rather than receiving individual awards.

‘Part of the solution’

The publication of the reports had initially been postponed because of Covid-19. The Beacon Collaborative says that philanthropists have an important role to play in the current crisis, but need support.

In a statement, the organisation said: “This crisis demands a united, collaborative approach between philanthropists, government and civil society to solving our most pressing challenges. Now is the time to work to embed philanthropy at the heart of this fight.”

Matthew Bowcock, founder of the Beacon Collaborative, said: “We believe that philanthropists can and want to be part of the solution.

“Almost all wealthy people engage in charitable giving, but they need to be supported to do more. They want to be seen as partners to the organisations they support and fundraising organisations can find ways to engage them as peers. 

“Networks are particularly important to make sure philanthropists are not working in isolation and have access to the knowledge and best practice they need to increase their impact. Indeed, as a society we need to understand and promote philanthropy in its true context; not as the contribution of one individual, but as an outcome of strategic partnerships and collaboration.  

“This has never been more crucial than at this time of national need. It’s time for philanthropists to do their bit, quickly and effectively, and these findings give guidance on how to do that in the most potent way.”

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