Things are looking up for philanthropy—at least in the UK they are. A recent study by Coutts Institute, “The Million Pound Donors Report 2012,” found that the number of donations of over £1 million is at the highest level in five years. Over 232 donations for more than £1 million were made to philanthropic organizations in the UK during 2010-2011.
The philanthropies that are really benefiting from this rise are operational charities rather than charitable trusts, and the most popular causes are higher education, arts and culture, and international development. The total donation amount was £1.241 billion.
“It’s extremely encouraging for the development of UK philanthropy to note that this is the highest number of donors and donations since we began compiling this report in 2008,” said Maya Prabhu, the Executive Director of Philanthropy Services at Coutts. “Large scale philanthropy is on the increase and the more donors there are the more they communicate about the benefits their philanthropy brings to society and what it means to them personally, the more it will grow and strengthen a new generation of philanthropists.”
We sure hope so. We can accomplish much more in the world by working together rather than alone. Prabhu believes most of the donors to be genuine in their support for the causes they donate to, and dismisses the notion that they’re only donating for tax breaks.
“Today, the majority of the philanthropists we meet are self-made individuals, many of whom witnessed firsthand the highs and lows of building a business, and on occasion, the possibility of losing everything,” she says. “It’s a strong desire to make a contribution to the world that has afforded them so many opportunities, whilst also enriching their own lives, their families and the lives of others that we see as the main driver for their philanthropy.”