Money set aside for charity often sits unused

Date: 11 May 2016

Bumblebee Design

Sam Lush, management consultant at KPMG and board member of the City Funding Network, says smaller, project-based charities have gained ground because they can demonstrate impact more easily


What philanthropic projects are you involved with?

I sit on the advisory board of the City Funding Network. The CFN gets city professionals together who are interested in giving their time or money but are open-minded as to what types of projects they want to support. They sell tickets to City professionals and then have a variety of small charities pitch in a Dragon’s Den style to the group who then pledge donations of time, advice or money.


What are the advantages of fundraising through the CFN?

It’s is a really powerful way of pooling funds to finance projects that could be transformational for the charities involved. It also helps to increase their exposure and link them to potential donors. Our latest event, where we raised £16,000 in ten minutes, was themed on ‘Women and Diversity’. The projects funded ranged from supporting victims of human trafficking to a transgender body positive swimming club. All of these charities are led by passionate individuals who need help taking them to the next level.


Is giving a cheque still the best option or do givers want more?

There has been a shift in philanthropic giving. In the past, people were happy to give only their money to charities. Nowadays, philanthropists are not happy with simply signing a cheque; the satisfaction comes from being engaged with the charity and witnessing the impact. Some larger charities are still working to get this right which is why a number of smaller, project-based charities have arisen, where their impact is often more visible. I believe the younger generation expect individuals, corporates and governments to meet a much higher bar in social and cultural impact through philanthropy.


Is interest in philanthropy growing?

Philanthropy has been a core interest of many ultra-high net worth clients and there is no indication this will change. Therefore, a philanthropy offering should be considered as a fundamental part of any private client service. Invariably, donors do not recognise funds set aside for charitable giving as investible assets and therefore they often sit in cash. This is a huge area of potential for wealth managers who should come up with new strategies to make philanthropy easier for their customers. For example, many firms are setting up donor advised funds or charity banking arrangements to complement a private client relationship.


What trends do you see in philanthropy?

I believe two trends will impact the third sector in the next year which are greater innovation in charitable giving through non-traditional means, such as social enterprises and crowd funding and more evidence about the impact of charitable projects.


This article was published in Citywealth Weekly, our mid-week roundup of the hottest news and exclusive expert comments. Sign up here to start receiving the Weekly in your inbox.