UK news: The Importance of Giving - A Second Thought?

If you’re thinking about or are asked to make a charitable gift in the run-up to Christmas this year, do you even give it a second’s thought or will you actually give it a second thought?

In the UK last year, according to the 2016 Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving List, 67 per cent of people performed an act of charitable giving, while 42 per cent of UK citizens also give to charity each month1. The study on global generosity also revealed a number of surprising and interesting findings:

  • Myanmar came top of the Giving List for the third year in a row;
  • Iraq was the country ranked in first place for helping a stranger; and
  • Kosovo, Turkmenistan and Jordan were the countries showing the greatest jump in the rankings.

Whilst countries more routinely associated with a tradition of charitable giving, like the UK, USA and Ireland continue to come out very highly in the rankings2, the findings above show the remarkable breadth of giving in the world.

The history of giving in the UK showed a similar range of fascinating insights:

  • England’s oldest charity, King’s School Canterbury was founded in 597;
  • Sir Thomas Guy, founder of Guy’s Hospital in 1725 was probably the first hedgefund philanthropist;
  • Charles Dickens was an adviser to the granddaughter of one of the founders of Coutts Bank, in the 1840s; and
  • Sir Titus Salt pioneered Corporate Social Responsibility in 1853 when creating a new mill with a model village, Saltaire, for his workers.

Philanthropy versus Charitable Giving

The terms ‘Charitable Giving’ and ‘Philanthropy’ are often used interchangeably – but in reality have different definitions and outcomes. Whilst the former focuses on the elimination of suffering as a result of social problems, the latter focuses on the elimination of the social problems themselves.

While this distinction between the two acts might not seem important, the motivation behind the act of giving probably will be. Whatever that is, there are some key questions for the donor, to help underline the gift’s true purpose.

  • Why am I doing this? Clarity on the motivation behind your gift is likely to increase its focus and impact.
  • Does my gift support my values and beliefs? Giving in line with your values and beliefs should bring a real sense of passion and purpose.
  • Am I deploying all of the resources I have at my disposal? Your giving may well be in monetary form, but time, passion and energy for the cause are valuable too.
  • Does my gift achieve a tangible social outcome? Whether your act is charitable or philanthropic, impact is achieved through focusing on a clear social outcome.

These questions can be helpful for navigating a person’s philanthropic ambitions and can help bring meaning to an act of kindness - for the donor as well as the beneficiary.

At HSBC Private Bank, our Philanthropy team works with clients and their advisors. Whatever your motivations, with our support you can create a legacy that benefits the social causes that you care about, making a difference today and in the years to come.

Why not contact your Relationship Manager or Investment Counsellor to arrange a meeting to see how our Philanthropy team can help you?

1UK Giving Report, 2015

2Charities Aid Foundation World Giving List, 2016

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