‘The Giving Experience - Overcoming the barriers to giving among the wealthy in the UK

April 2020
The Beacon Collaborative



Reflecting changes in the overall funding mix for charitable organisations following the last decade of austerity, and rising levels of demand, more organisations than ever are recognising the potential and importance of private donations for their organisational resilience.

Private capital has fewer constraints than other sources of funding and is somewhat less sensitive to political and economic transitions, and the levels of wealth in the UK offer huge potential to further support the charitable sector.

So, the question of how to engage more donors in a way that can build relationships that will encourage an increase in major giving has come to the fore. Fundraising organisations are increasingly investing in and developing the knowledge,tools and relationship management skills to support wealthy donors more effectively. Initiatives such as the Commission on the Donor Experience have undertaken a series of projects and outputs all aimed at putting the needs of donors (including major donors) at the heart of an organisation’s fundraising strategies and there is a growing body of evidence that suggests wealthy people in the UK are increasingly interested in giving money to good causes. We can see an increase in the number of individuals making donations of £1 million or more, the number of wealth management firms offering advice on philanthropy and social investment, and the growth in contributions to structures like donor advised funds.

Where organisations have successfully worked with wealthy individuals, they have come to realise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to major donor fundraising. They recognise they need more in-depth insight on the attitudes and behaviours of their donors to ensure they manage relationships effectively and efficiently. This is what this research seeks to provide – a richer and more detailed look at the reported experiences and perceptions of wealthier people to help inform future fundraising practice.

This report is written for fundraisers from the donor perspective. It reflects their experiences and perceptions of working with fundraising organisations, identifying the reported barriers to giving and provides insight on how to overcome those barriers by understanding what makes wealthy donors tick. 

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