Sunday Times Rich List reaction 2011

26 May 2011 | By Cause4 staff

According to the Sunday Times rich list 2011, ‘Britain’s super-rich are making light of the age of austerity, achieving an 18% rise in their collective wealth over the past year.’ The 1,000 multimillionaires quoted in this year’s rich list are reportedly £60.2 billon wealthier than they were in 2010. The same cannot be said for philanthropy, however, with giving dropping by £818 million in the last year – an outcome which contradicts expectations that philanthropists would step in to fill the gaps in Government funding cuts.

Alastair McCall, reporting in The Sunday Times, stated this decrease was largely ‘attributed to the 37% drop in wealth for the richest £1,000 seen in the Rich List two years ago in the wake of global financial turmoil.’ In addition, research carried out by the Charities Aid Foundation and The Sunday Times found that 89% of givers were only motivated to invest in charities who could clearly demonstrate the impact of their work, whilst 54% per cent implied charities need to improve their communications in order to encourage giving.

On a lighter note, there a number of positives to draw from the giving list. For example, the number of donors giving more than £1million a year has grown from 118 to 129 with those philanthropists in the top 30 increasing their giving from 3.22% to 3.42%. The arts and education sectors were also favoured by givers in the top 10, with No. 1 ranked Anurag Dikshit’s recent donations to Education, children and India being an incredible 172.4 million. Education also benefited from Bart Becht (donating £80.2m) and Christopher Cooper-Hohn (giving £75.5m) in second and third place, whilst the arts profited heavily from Dame Vivien Duffield, Lord Sainsbury and David Potter.

We sincerely hope that donations are not set to fall further but the sector does also needs to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’. I recently had dinner with a well-respected Development Director who has left the sector to work in Enterprise. She said she was gobsmacked that she hadn’t been asked to give or approached for sponsorship by any institution in the last three months – a prime giving candidate if ever there was one. As ever, if the Third Sector wishes to create stronger connections with philanthropists, we need to be more entrepreneurial in spirit, communications with givers needs to evolve and we need to communicate better impact of the work. Moreover, let’s not ignore one of our own – (name of potential donor supplied on request!).

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