Peer says philanthropists should be rewarded with honours

Crossbencher Lord Janvrin claims the honours system could be used to help make philanthropy a "part of life"

House of Lords
House of Lords
Philanthropists who give to charity should be rewarded through the honours system, members of the House of Lords have heard.

In a wide-ranging debate in the Lords about philanthropy on Thursday, crossbencher Lord Janvrin said the government needed to change the public’s attitudes to giving.

"Now is the time for government, business, charities and the media to make a concerted effort to change attitudes to philanthropy at every level so that it is seen as part of life," he said.

"That general message can be reinforced by looking at new ways in which donors can be recognised - for example, through the honours system, which is obviously a very sensitive area, although philanthropists have rightly been recognised in that way in the past."

Many peers argued that giving should be more tax-effective. Crossbencher Lord Fellowes called for more tax incentives for corporate support and charity in all its forms.

Others said a new generation of philanthropists wanted to be more involved in the results of their giving.

"All the evidence I have come across shows that web-confident 30 to 50-year-olds are increasingly disinclined to contribute to a huge, anonymous pool," said Lord Hodgson, a Conservative peer and  president of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. "They want to see how their money is being used and its effect."

The use of technology to engage younger donors was also discussed. Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Barker said charities needed to obtain expertise from the private sector to help develop, for example, smartphone apps to encourage more giving.

Conservative peer Lord Taylor of Holbeach said culture secretary Jeremy Hunt would be announcing a package of measures to boost philanthropy in the coming weeks.

  • In an earlier version of this story, Lord Hodgson was described as the former president of the NCVO. He is the current president.

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