Sector organisations hope to raise extra £2bn from wealthy people

The Charities Aid Foundation and 70 wealthy people have agreed to collaborate in the as yet unnamed venture

Wealthy people the target of initiative (Photograph: Shuttercock)
Wealthy people the target of initiative (Photograph: Shuttercock)

A new initiative has been established to generate an extra £2bn for good causes from wealthy individuals each year.

Philanthropic organisations and about 70 wealthy people have agreed to collaborate on the yet-to-be-named venture, which will begin in about a month's time.

The organisations include the Charities Aid Foundation, the think tank NPC and the philanthropy support charities Philanthropy Impact, the Philanthropy Workshop and the Beacon Fellowship.

"I'm hoping it could be one of the most significant things to happen to the charity sector in the past few years," said co-founder Matthew Bowcock, a venture capitalist who has spent the past decade promoting philanthropy in the UK.

Bowcock told Third Sector that those involved would collaborate on ways to change the culture of giving among wealthy people.

"Influencing a very small group of people could deliver a very large amount of extra money into the sector," he added.

He said there were currently 18,000 ultra-high-net-worth people in the UK, each with more than £10m of investable assets, of which only about 10 to 12 per cent were actively engaged in philanthropy.

If each one of these people persuaded just one other person of similar wealth to donate, this could raise an extra £2bn based on current levels of giving, said Bowcock, who is a trustee of Philanthropy Impact, the Philanthropy Workshop and the Beacon Awards, as well as a former trustee of the Arts Council and a former chair of UK Community Foundations.

Bowcock said peer influence and encouraging professional services to offer philanthropy advice were the two most critical issues.

He said it was "absolutely automatic" for US wealth advisers to offer advice to wealthy clients, but only about one on five did so in the UK.

Co-founder Cath Dovey, also a trustee of Philanthropy Impact, told Third Sector that working groups would be set up in five key areas: peer influence, public awareness, professional services, research and political engagement.

Dovey, who co-founded the wealth management firm Scorpio Partnership, described the scheme as an "informal movement" that would have a "bank account and a couple of staff" rather than a vast new organisation.

"It's about taking a systemic approach to the cultural problem of low philanthropic giving," she said. "There's no silver bullet to increasing giving among wealthy people. It's a long-term project."

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