12th February 2016John Spry
Philanthropy in a Changing World – a Philanthropy Company event
On the 11th of February, we were delighted to host an evening of networking and thought on the trends in philanthropy at Modern Art Oxford, with guest speakers David Isaac, CBE, (Chair of Modern Art Oxford; Partner of Pinsent Masons, a Director of the Big Lottery Fund and a Trustee of the Human Dignity Trust and 14-18 Now which marks the centenary of WW1) and Jasmine Whitbread (until recently CEO of Save the Children International overseeing programmes in 120 countries for the world’s most deprived children).
David spoke of the importance of philanthropy to society in the UK, noting that the charitable and social enterprise sector contributes £16bn to the UK economy and has grown by 20% in the last 5 years. In particular, philanthropy is vital to the arts – it allows organisations to incubate talent separate from the priorities of commercial gains.
Jasmine spoke about her experience at Oxfam and Save the Children, and how she has witnessed first-hand the tremendous growth in philanthropic income in such organisations over the last 15 years. Jasmine then discussed how important philanthropy is to the donors, as well as the causes, commenting that is changes their worldview; that they discuss with friends and colleagues, creating a ripple effect of goodwill; and that they feel enormous personal fulfilment from it.
Jasmine cited a quote from Charles Handy, about the new type of engaged donors:
“Individuals, still in the prime of life, who have been successful in their chosen careers, made money, sometimes a lot of it … having made enough for their own needs they now want to use their money, their skills and their abilities to get things done to create something transparently useful in society. They talk of making a difference, of giving something back, but just writing cheques to worthy causes doesn’t satisfy them. These people want to be in the driving seat because that’s where they belong…the chance to do this…makes the whole business of making money worthwhile”
Global philanthropy is increasing across the world. Donors are saying that choosing a cause is their biggest challenge and that two-thirds believe that advisors are now necessary to navigate the giving sector. As philanthropists are doing more so must we, no matter whether we are wealth-advisors, fundraisers, charity staff, or grant makers. “We’re all in the business of connecting people to causes that are important to them”, summarised Caroline Underwood.
2015 BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index.
Photos by www.piranhaphotography.com