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  1. Wealth
April 22, 2013

Philanthropy and the Sunday Times Rich List: The Good News and the Bad

By Spear's

Donations from Britain’s wealthiest 231 people were up 21 per cent this year, but overall, individual donations of more than ’10 million have fallen

As revealed by this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, Britain’s wealthiest 231 people donated £2,081 million to charity last year, a rise of 21 per cent from the year before and a high that has only been beaten once since the Rich List was first published 25 years ago. On top of this, six people on the rich list have signed the Giving Pledge, with Lord Ashcroft (pictured below left) being the latest billionaire preparing to make this monumental commitment. Hopefully, these examples will provide inspiration to ordinary givers, who are giving less away, and making smaller gifts when they do.

According to the latest UK Giving Summary the total donated in 2011/2012 to UK charities by adults was £9.3 billion, a decrease of £1.7 billion from 2010/2011. People are giving less when they do make a donation, too: while the proportion of donors giving less than £10 has remained constant over the last years – hovering between 38 per cent and 41 per cent — the number of those giving £25 or more has fallen from 32 per cent in 2010/2011 to 29 per cent in 2011/2012. There has also been a reduction in the number of people making substantial gifts – i.e. donations of £100—or more, down 1 per cent from the previous year in 2012.

These slight decreases might seem insignificant, but donors making larger gifts – whether Rich Listers or not – are important to the UK’s charities. In 2011/2012, for example, those giving £100 or more accounted for 40 per cent of total donations.

This trend of a dip in larger donations is mirrored in the giving of the wealthy too, it seems: although enormous donations — such as Michael Moritz’s gift of £75 million to Oxford University last year — always grab the headlines, the number of £10 million-plus gifts made this year has dropped to 38 from 44 last year. The number of gifts between £1 million and £10 million has risen slightly, however, up from 135 to 138.

Read more from Mark Nayler


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