Philanthropy gets personal for our clients

04 Dec 2019

Deborah Sayagh

Investec Private Bank Head of Strategic Client Patnerships

You need an entrepreneurial mindset to make philanthropy a success. Head of Strategic Client Partnerships Deborah Sayagh explains why.

Philanthropy is about solving problems – the big challenges we face in society. It takes a disruptive mindset to do it well, which is what I see from many of our clients.
 
There are countless people I admire within the world of philanthropy, but one stands out: Alexandre Mars. For me, he illustrates how elegantly entrepreneurship and philanthropy can drive positive social change. Mars doesn't just give money; he's trying to transform how money is given.
 
Mars started his first business at just 17, but since 2014 he has been growing Epic Foundation. A non-profit, Epic now has a portfolio of NGOs and social enterprises that support underprivileged young people. The foundation's donors contribute through partnerships and sharing pledges, but more on this later.
 
This entrepreneurial-led philanthropy is an approach I know many of our clients recognise. It’s hands-on, tightly focused on solving problems and built on a desire to do things differently. We already know philanthropy is an issue that resonates deeply with them. A new survey we have just published showed 73% of clients viewed charitable giving as 'important' or 'very important'.
 
In fact, nearly 9 in 10 (88%) already supports a cause in some way, which is notably higher than the 64% seen in the wider UK population. Our research also found philanthropic intentions rise as net worth climbs, suggesting people place more value on charitable giving when they're financially secure themselves.
 
But what causes do our clients value the most? How and why do they donate? And how can Investec Private Bank help?
 

The personal touch

What really struck me from the survey was how personal philanthropy is for our clients. People turn to loved ones for ideas on which charities to support, including friends and colleagues (41%) or children and other relatives (32%).
 
The family connection goes even deeper, with many parents hoping their kids follow in their philanthropic footsteps. Among clients who view charitable giving as important or very important, an overwhelming 90% wanted these principles passed on to their children as a legacy. Furthermore, children and education were by far the most popular charitable causes, with nearly 50% of clients saying one of these is their first choice when donating.
Deborah Sayagh

"Our clients are passionate about the causes they support, bringing the same entrepreneurial mindset to philanthropy that underpinned their professional success."

Deborah Sayagh, Investec Private Banking

 
I think these trends speak to a common understanding that we need to invest in children, so making sure their formative years are shaped correctly is a goal we can all get behind as a society. I can definitely relate. These particular causes are also very close to my heart in my capacity as co-head of the private equity committee for Norwood, the UK's largest Jewish charity for children with special educational needs or disabilities. I have seen first-hand the fantastic work the organisation does for vulnerable kids and their families, so I'm not surprised our clients have a soft spot for child-focused and educational causes.
 
Other charities, however, still appear to have room for improvement when it comes to courting donors. More than a third (36%) of clients would like organisations to better demonstrate how their donations will be put to good use. They also want charities to be more credible and trustworthy (26%) and provide more information on how donations are spent (25%).
 

Establishing the right connections

Transparency and integrity are areas where pioneers like Mars are setting the standard. He recognised there were three common barriers preventing people from being more philanthropic: they don't know which charities to trust; they don't know which causes to support and they are too time-poor to investigate. Sound familiar?
 
To solve this, Epic offers a range of apps and tools, allowing donors to easily select charities to endorse and closely track how their money is used. Mars also funds the foundation himself, meaning 100% of donations reach the foundation's causes.
 
Many other organisations and people are out there doing similarly valuable and innovative charity work. Finding them is often the difficulty. Philanthropy is about sharing, whether that's money, time, resources or experiences. But in order to share, you need to make the right connections. This is where we can help.
 
Take Peter Cluff. After co-founding a successful private equity real estate firm, he decided to start giving back. Peter got involved in the Community Foundation for Surrey, which encourages people to take part in local projects. Now, as the chairman for Guildford Philanthropy, Peter battles inequality in his community.
 
"I used to fund raise in North America securing investor commitments of $75m or $100m. Now I come out with £2,500 from a local firm for charity and I punch the air," he explained.
 
We wrote about Peter's experience earlier this year and spread the word throughout our network in Guildford. This raised awareness among the town's businesses, organisations and influential individuals, some of whom got in touch as they were eager to lend a helping hand.
 

Achieve ambitious philanthropic goals

Our clients are passionate about the causes they support, bringing the same entrepreneurial mindset to philanthropy that underpinned their professional success. We can provide access to our network, encourage meaningful conversations and help build lasting relationships with key contacts.
 
These may be just the first steps towards achieving your philanthropic goals, but we doubt they'll be your last.

Want to learn more about how we can help with your philanthropic journey?

Deborah Sayagh

Private Banker

We would love to hear from you about your approach to philanthropy and the support you need.

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