Book review: Richer Lives

Emma De Vita reviews the book by Beth Breeze and Theresa Lloyd

Richer Lives, by Beth Breeze and Theresa Lloyd
Richer Lives, by Beth Breeze and Theresa Lloyd

This book, subtitled Why Rich People Give and written by two philanthropy experts - the academic Beth Breeze and the consultant Theresa Lloyd - is a study of when and how wealthy people choose to give to good causes.

If ever there was a must-read tome for the third sector manager, this is it. It includes chapters on the factors most likely to produce a positive response to a request for support, and why some rich people choose not to give.

Among the findings: that people who make sizable donations expect special access to a charity's leadership; that charities fail to capitalise on the power of newly emerging philanthropists to persuade their peers to give; and that many donors perceive people who work in charities as good-hearted but inefficient. "Rich people need more proof that charities can and will make best use of donations, otherwise they will bypass the sector and set up their own delivery mechanisms," the authors say.

There's also the surprising finding that some wealthy people don't give because they feel financially insecure and have "nothing to spare" (despite 67 per cent of them having a net worth of more than £10m). It's enough to make you choke on your morning skinny latte.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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