A total of nearly £15bn has been donated in the UK by individuals, foundations and corporations over the past 10 years, according to the latest Coutts Million Pound Donors Report (www.coutts.com/donorsreport).  2016 also saw the highest total value given (£1.83bn) since the report began.

Tracking the number, size, source and destination of donations of £1m or more, the report analyses key trends in major philanthropy over the past decade, showing there has been a boom in philanthropy since the financial crisis. This growth is in part fuelled by the increasing number of initiatives designed to celebrate and inspire philanthropy, like the Coutts report and the Giving Pledge, but also by the development of specialist philanthropy advice, such as that provided by the Coutts Institute to clients of Coutts (www.coutts.com/couttsinstitute). Research shows that people who get advice are more inclined to give more.

Data shows that while universities received the highest number of donations of £1m or more (600 in total), foundations received the highest total value of £5bn. This illustrates the enduring attraction of charitable trusts and foundations for individuals or corporations who seek to ‘bank’ their resources to then be distributed to charities, often in smaller amounts, as their strategy evolves.

Although the report focuses on UK philanthropy, it tells an interesting story that is far more international in nature. While universities and foundations topped the league in terms of the total value and number of donations, support for charities located overseas came in third place with 346 donations of £1m or more totalling £1.35bn over ten years. Also, there has been a 2,500% increase in the total value of gifts to UK charities coming from donors located outside the UK (from £9.8m in 2006/7 to £263.5m in 2016). This reflects the international perspective held by many of the biggest donors, including those who have been interviewed for the report over the years.

While ‘mega-gifts’ (donations of over £100m) tend to capture the media headlines, giving exactly £1m is the most common donation.  Giving one million appears to be economically and psychologically a significant figure, which resonates with both donors and charities. The biggest gifts in other countries are also typically one million of the local currency, including US dollars and Euros.

In addition to the data, which has been gathered by the University of Kent from material that is in the public domain, the report includes 10 top tips for donors (https://www.coutts.com/insight-articles/news/million-pound-donors-report/top-tips.html) and Coutts’ analysis of key trends in philanthropy over the past 10 years (https://www.coutts.com/insight-articles/news/million-pound-donors-report/key-trends-in-philanthropy.html). What really brings the report to life are the 12 inspiring interviews with major donors (https://www.coutts.com/insight-articles/news/million-pound-donors-report.html). This year the report includes interviews with Sir Terence Conran and his son Sebastian, Rory McIlroy, Liccy Dahl, Gordon Roddick, Shalni Arora, Sir Paul Ruddock, the Coins Foundation, the Coutts Foundation, the Stone Family Foundation, Clive and Sylvia Richards, Sir Ian Wood and Lady Carole Bamford. 

It’s interesting to note from the interviews and from the data the high number of family foundations. Engaging the next generation in philanthropy is commonplace among Coutts clients who set up foundations. Not only is it a key aspect of wealth succession, but it’s a great way to convey family values and the wider meaning and purpose of wealth.

What all the interviews conducted for the report over the years illustrate (including those done for the international Coutts Million Dollar Donors Report, which is still available online at www.coutts.com/milliondollardonors) is that philanthropy is driven by people’s passions, values, concerns about the world or visions for a better society or environment. They also show the distinctive role philanthropy can play, from tackling the causes and consequences of poverty, supporting innovation, holding powerful institutions to account, to enriching our lives through support for arts and culture. 

To read the report in full go to www.coutts.com/donorsreport #millionpounddonors

For further information please contact Lenka Setkova, Executive Director, at [email protected]