How much of their wealth should the rich give away? - Spear's Magazine

How much of their wealth should the rich give away?

How much of their wealth should the rich give away?

Philanthropy advisers and experts in the field of philanthropy and wealth attempted to answer a difficult question at Spear’s 500 Live

Deciding on a proportion of one’s net worth to give away is a particularly personal thing, agreed the philanthropy experts on a panel at Spear’s 500 Live in association with The OWO Residences by Raffles.

But there are clear ways to make one’s giving more effective, according to Mark Greer, managing director of philanthropy services at the Charities Aid Foundation. 

‘We see people get a lot out of collaborative giving and working alongside like-minded people – people who are their peers,’ said Greer, who was speaking in a panel entitled ‘How much is enough? in association with Charities Aid Foundation’. 

Greer was joined by Emily Carver, head of media at the Institute of Economic Affairs, and Nicola Brentnall, CEO of 

‘People with capital very often want to do something good with it but they don’t know how. But there are advisers out there that really can help people, and increasingly people are looking to all their professional advisers to really help them structure their giving from a tax point of view, from a legal point of view and then from an impact point of view as well,’ added Greer.

Carver noted that charitable contributions have increased in the past year, and it therefore comes as no surprise that HNWs are turning to organisations such as the Charities Aid Foundation to better structure their giving. 

When asked why HNWs collaborate with philanthropy advisers, she told the Spear’s 500 Live audience: ‘Philanthropists with expertise can potentially have the power to get things done and get them done quickly. They have that expertise and are able to break down barriers that the government finds hard to do.’

Though there has been speculation as to whether the increase in philanthropic donations is likely to continue, the panellists were optimistic. Nicola Brentnall urged our audience to further collaborate and said: ‘When it’s raining, you want to get out there and put umbrellas over people’s heads. I think now is the time for people to be thinking about how much you can give in support and solidarity, particularly to local communities.’ 

Meanwhile, Greer noted: ‘HNW giving doesn’t really go up and down with GDP and recessions, because obviously that segment of society is less impacted as a whole than other levels of income.’

Greer presented some interesting statistics. ‘The think tank Pro Bono Economics got access to HMRC self-assessment anonymised data and, looking at the top 1 per cent of earners (which kicks in at a pre-tax income of £175,000), within that group the average income is £271,000 and the average monthly donation in the top 1 per cent is £48. That group earns 14 per cent of pre-tax income but contributes 6 per cent of charitable donations.’ 

When it comes to UHNWs, Greer explained: ‘The top 0.1 per cent’s average donation is £113 [a month], or 0.16 per cent of income.’

How much should people give, and indeed, how much is enough? According to Greer, there’s no exact answer but the statistics speak volumes. ‘It’s up to [the client]. But if people gave more, there’s massive opportunity.’