When your own financial house feels pretty much in order, your thoughts may well turn to giving something back to the world and supporting one or more causes close to your heart.

You wouldn’t be alone. The Charities Aid Foundation estimates that people in Britain gave around £10.7 billion to charities in 2021 alone, according to its UK Giving Report 2022.

Supporting a cause you care about can be incredibly fulfilling. There’s obviously the warm glow that comes with knowing you’ve supported an enterprise doing good in the world. But it’s more than that.

It gives you an opportunity to think about what’s really important to you. It can bring families together to work on something special. And people often find it exciting to see the positive impact they can have in life – whether they support a global aid organisation or local charity in their home town.

Where do you start?

Here are some key questions worth asking yourself to get your giving on the right track. Thinking about these issues can help when figuring out your personal approach to charitable giving.

  • What are my motivations?
  •  Is there an issue that has had a significant impact on me, my family or my friends?
  • ·Does my faith or cultural background encourage me to do something?
  • How might philanthropy strengthen my connection with the communities or causes I care about?
  • Could it strengthen my family relationships or educate the next generation?

Then, with those questions answered, you’re considering the causes you want to support and how you could best help from a well thought through position. 

What about philanthropy?

You might want to consider philanthropy too. Whilst giving to a national appeal or sponsoring a friend taking part in a charitable endeavour can be great ways to make a difference, philanthropy works slightly differently. It’s deeper, longer-term and more strategic.

For the most part it involves ongoing funding for a particular charitable activity, but today many philanthropists use approaches other than straight donations. These include giving loans, equity or long-term capital to charitable organisations or social enterprises. You might help in other ways too – giving more of your time or expertise.

Crucially though, it’s not necessarily one or the other. Successful giving can work through a mix of both charity and philanthropy.

For more inspiration and resources, organisations like the Beacon Collaborative, which aims to support philanthropy in the UK, could help.

Find out more about supporting the causes close to your heart

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