The philanthropy paradox: public attitudes to giving

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The philanthropy paradox: public attitudes to giving

A new piece of research commissioned by Prism the Gift Fund, in collaboration with Lombard Odier, has revealed a paradox in regard to public attitudes to giving in the UK.

Prism commissioned a survey with a random sample of the UK population and 1,215 interviews, to investigate attitudes to philanthropic giving. The report, entitled ‘The Philanthropy Paradox: Public Attitudes and Future Prospects for Planned Giving,’ was written by Dr Beth Breeze, Director of the Centre of Philanthropy at the University of Kent. Dr Maximilian Martin, Lombard Odier’s Global Head of Philanthropy, wrote the paper’s foreword.

Its key findings include:

  • Charitable giving is a very common but largely private matter in the UK
  • Most people believe that philanthropic donations make a positive contribution to society
  • There is less widespread agreement that philanthropists are good for society (only 53% of the lower income group concur). 18.2% agree that negative perceptions might deter donors, and most people do not trust donors to do what is right with their donations
  • Awareness, and support for, tax incentives to encourage charitable giving are highest amongst older and higher income people
  • Awareness of Donor Advised Funds is very low, but they appeal to many different types of donor

“This think piece describes and illustrates a paradox that has implications for all who care about building a stronger charitable sector: that the British public feels far more positively about the fruits of philanthropy than it does about those who fund it,” said Dr Beth Breeze.

The results of this paper indicate that we should reconsider the narrative surrounding philanthropy and its operating environment

“The results of this paper indicate that we should reconsider the narrative surrounding philanthropy and its operating environment, said Dr Max Martin.

“Today the sector is in transformation. There is an opportunity to develop better narratives around the importance of private financing, and a strategic view on how non-profits can meet the challenges they face in a Covid-19 and post Covid-19 world. Here, philanthropists can help; indeed, philanthropists and non-profits work best when they act in a true spirit of partnership.”

There is an opportunity to develop better narratives around the importance of private financing, and a strategic view on how non-profits can meet the challenges they face in a Covid-19 and post Covid-19 world

Click to read the full report and press release.

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