We probably all occasionally drop a few coins into collection tins or buy raffle tickets. We may sponsor marathon runners, run a stall at the school fete or offer a prize. Some of us might be in a position to donate corporate sponsorship or allow employees to take time off for voluntary work. Most of us have charities we favour. Many of us have ideas about how we would improve the world. But what do we do about it?
Research by the Beacon Collaborative shows that out of 18,000 ultra HNWs with assets of more than £10m, only 10% give money to charity. It’s difficult to know what to do with this statistic; are the other 90% giving in other ways (resources, political clout, contacts)? Are the other 90% giving but not admitting to it? Perhaps they have set up their own charitable organisations and fall outside of the statistical remit? Maybe they’re just mean?
I don’t know how many people worth over £10m are reading this, but I’m not convinced that nine out of ten of them have no interest in other people or in bettering this world. I don’t believe that such a large proportion of wealthy people is interested only in themselves. What I do believe is that – regardless of our net worth - there are many ways to ‘give’ and that hard cash is only one of them.
Many charities struggle to get heard, either because they are very niche or because they are dealing with aspects of life that most of us prefer not to think about. Like most things, charitable causes can go in and out of fashion and something that was once a struggle even to explain, has become the hot new topic. So perhaps support in marketing and public awareness is just as helpful as money?
Management can also be an issue for smaller charities. Finding officers like treasurers can be a struggle and yet, with the right person, a charity’s effectiveness can be transformed. Maybe the charity needs a venue or a website or links to employers…there are hundreds of ways in which the resources we have at our fingertips can be shared with organisations trying to husband their own resources so that funds reach the front line.
In simple terms, charitable giving is about a whole range of ‘donations’; of money, of time, of expertise, of professional resources, of contacts, of ideas and, most importantly, of passion. Furthermore, whatever we give, we will get back in other ways. Getting involved in the voluntary sector gives us a warm feeling for sure, but it also broadens our horizons and feeds into our experience.
Lastly, although not strictly charitable, there are innumerable voluntary roles which bring societal benefits alongside personal development such as the TA, school governorship, the magistracy and so on. Time given for the public good is an invaluable resource and none of us should underestimate its worth.
Helping curious people to find their passion is one of the reasons I set up the Pluralist Club so if you would like to know more, get in touch.