Can Philanthropists Do More?
The current cost of living crisis in the UK, many are being pushed deeper and deeper into poverty. Looking beyond the UK, the poverty crisis has gotten significantly worse since the COVID-19 pandemic. And with the holiday season approaching, it is hard to imagine that those who are suffering will have any relief at all.
The current crises have seen the head of England’s charity watchdog stating that the UK’s voluntary sector is facing an “existential crisis”. Giving is often discussed in terms of generosity and is celebrated widely however many high-net-worth individuals across the UK often do not open their wallets and support others.
For the most part, British people are hesitant to discuss their donations or generosity. A 2019 Forbes article explored this idea and suggested that the backlash from society when large sums are donated could be a reason for the growing frugal nature of British philanthropy. Almost a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” situation has arisen, with the ultra-wealthy on the receiving end of criticism for not doing more with their money.
It has been reported that only around 20% of the top 1% of earners in the UK give between £2bn and £3bn a year to charitable causes, leaving an estimated 80% of wealthy individuals not contributing meaningful amounts.
The UK is often strongly compared with the US where the top 1% gave billions of dollars to charities. The chair of the Charity Commission, Orlando Fraser has stated that it is disappointing and “verges on shameful when you consider how vibrant giving and volunteering are amongst the less fortunate of their fellow UK citizens”.
The generosity of the rest of the UK’s population is almost the opposite of their wealthy counterparts. In the last year, the UK’s general population have given over £10bn to charitable efforts and also given up significant portions of their time to support organisations and those who are less fortunate.
It is an undeniable fact that philanthropists play an essential role in reducing poverty across the world. It goes without saying that there is a vast need for more individuals to be philanthropic, and that there is much more they can do. The efforts of these altruistic individuals should not be taken lightly or disregarded, but we can’t help but ask: can philanthropists do more than they already do?
The short answer is yes. Philanthropists have the unique ability to use their money and resources to create meaningful, lasting change and improve the lives of those less fortunate. We have seen the tangible effects of generous donations from the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and other influential people who have made sizable contributions to fight poverty worldwide. This shows us just how much good can come out of using money in a smart and thoughtful way.
The truth is that it doesn’t always take massive sums of money to make an impactful difference. Philanthropists have the power to influence public opinion through advocacy, spread awareness about social issues like poverty, and fund organizations dedicated to combating this issue on local levels as well as globally. For example, investing in charities can provide capital to entrepreneurs living in poverty-stricken communities around the world; something which may otherwise not be available due to lack of access to conventional finance methods such as banks.
What’s more, philanthropists can lend their time as well as their money by providing assistance directly in terms of education, mentorship programs and volunteering activities within their community or abroad. Education helps break down barriers of access by enabling disadvantaged groups with tools and knowledge necessary for better livelihoods — something which has been shown repeatedly throughout history to yield lasting results in poverty alleviation. Furthermore, sponsoring mentorship opportunities allows aspiring leaders a platform on which they can learn invaluable skills such as financial management which again further increases chances for sustainable economic development amongst disadvantaged populations over time.
To summarize then; yes indeed, philanthropists can certainly do more than they currently do — from advocating against extreme poverty all over the world through targeted giving — there are numerous ways they could expand their current initiatives towards improving global welfare at large scale.
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Find out more about Tej Kohli: Tej Kohli the technologist investing in human triumph, Tej Kohli the philanthropist trying to cure the developing world of cataracts and Tej Kohli the London tycoon with a generous streak.