High demand for philanthropy advice among wealthiest – report

26 May 2015

The appetite for professional advice on charitable giving is growing, according to a report released today by the Charities Aid Foundation.

Two thirds (66%) of the UK’s wealthiest people, those with a minimum £1m of liquid assets, think professional advisers such as lawyers, accountants and wealth managers, could do more to cover the area of philanthropy as part of their work.

Nearly three quarters (73%) also think philanthropy advice should be a free or low cost service, with the majority wanting to use a not-for-profit service provider with knowledge of the charity sector, according to the research.

There is particular demand for advice on tax benefits, understanding the social need and selection of causes and monitoring the impact of giving.

39% of those surveyed had taken advice on their philanthropy.

Of those who have received advice already, tax relief on charitable giving is the most popular area, with 44% getting professional help on this.

Just under a third (31%) asked about understanding the need and selecting social causes and 28% sought advice on monitoring the impact of giving and selecting charitable organisations or projects.

Those who had taken advice gave away far more money than those who had not asked for support on their philanthropy, giving an average of £15,700 to charity in the previous year compared to the overall average annual donation of £8,800.

People who had been advised on their philanthropy were more likely to contribute to charities in a variety of ways, not just giving money.  This included volunteering and fundraising for their causes, giving through social investment and gifting shares or physical assets.

Offering philanthropy advice has benefits for professional advisers too. Even if the service is provided free-of-charge, it can help deepen the relationship with existing clients and enable advisers to better understand clients’ longer term goals, says the report.

Typically, philanthropy advisory services are bound up in the existing services of professional advisers.  These advisers will offer additional support on strategic philanthropy, help clients access networks of funders, experts or organisations and in some cases work with third parties to access specialised advice.  They can also partner with specialist providers of giving products such as donor advised funds or charitable foundations.

David Stead, Executive Director for Philanthropy and Development at the Charities Aid Foundation, which helps people and businesses support the causes they care about said:

“The appeal of comprehensive, structured advice on philanthropy is growing significantly, presenting opportunities for wealth managers, lawyers, accountants and other professional advisers to serve their clients in an area of deep personal importance.”

“Stretching their services into this space or partnering with others to do so, can help advisers establish themselves as a trusted authority and help philanthropic capital get to where it is needed most.”

A free copy of the report can be downloaded at www.cafonline.org/adaptation.

Notes for Editors

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) commissioned Scorpio Partnership to carry out the survey, which was conducted online among 1,005 individual donors in the UK with a minimum £1m of liquid assets and an average wealth of £7.5m.

CAF helps people and businesses support the causes they care about, and for charities provides simple, straightforward day-to-day banking and fundraising services.

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