Working With Philanthropic Advisors

from Civil Society Fundraising:

Well-advised: How charities can work with philanthropy advisor

This role of philanthropy advisor is one increasingly played by private banks, law firms, accountants and family offices across Europe. The last 12 to 18 months has seen a huge growth in advisors offering philanthropy services to their clients. In the second half of 2009 alone, two private banks developed their philanthropy offering: Standard Chartered set up a new philanthropy service; and JP Morgan hired a charitable giving expert to head its philanthropy team. Earlier in 2009 Barclays Wealth also appointed its first head of client philanthropy.

Client demand for advice on giving has prompted the development of many of these offerings. In interviews carried out by the research house Scorpio Partnership with high net worth individuals in the UK, Switzerland and Germany, 90 per cent said they wanted philanthropy support from their advisors. A recent survey by one private bank indicated that 90 per cent of its clients had planned to continue or increase their donations in 2009. If anything, the recession has got people thinking about their philanthropy in strategic and value terms.

… For charities, working with advisors to access their clients is not as difficult as it may seem.

“Charities have to be able to demonstrate the results they achieve from donors’ money,” says Plum Lomax, who leads on NPC’s work with intermediaries. “Results are what donors want to hear about, and this is what advisors are being asked about. Gone are the days when people are happy to write a cheque to a charity with no questions asked.”

This is particularly true in today’s tough climate, where donors are keener than ever that charities prove they are using donations wisely. “Funders have a right to question how effective you are,” says Benita Refson, chief executive of the charity The Place2Be, which offers emotional support to children in schools. “It’s not enough just to be a good cause.”