23 June 2017 by Nicolette Wolf in Practical Intervention.


What does philanthropy mean, and how can we make it relevant?

The word ‘philanthropy’ conjures up an image of ultra-wealthy individuals, donating - or pledging to donate - substantial portions of their wealth for the benefit of individuals and society; think Bill & Melissa Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Warren Buffet. Whilst it’s an honourable cause, for many of us, that seems to be beyond our reach, requiring vast reserves of wealth. Does this put you off philanthropy, or put it out of reach? It shouldn’t. Philanthropy is traditionally seen as the desire to promote the welfare of others, and whilst this is often via the generous donation of money to good causes, increasingly - especially among the millennial generation – it’s seen as the opportunity to give your time, money, knowledge, expertise, opinions and network to a cause, which for most of us is much more achievable.

A report by the Charities Aid Foundation1 summarises what matters to the new generation of givers, and how their attitudes might shape the future of philanthropy. The three key themes of the report are:

Leveraging networks

Millennials thrive on engagement, valuing their networks and giving together. They are also more willing to shout about what they’re doing. So, in future we can expect to see more strength in numbers and more people power, multiplying the impact of an individual’s giving.

Global causes

Of the top 5 charitable causes, millennials are more able to see the bigger picture than givers aged over 45. They are more concerned with broader, global causes and tackling the big themes, with a greater interest in poverty, the environment and education. Those aged over 45 are influenced far more by causes ‘close to home’ and favour giving to causes related to children and cancer.

Hands-on approach

Lastly, millennials are more strategic and hands-on, really getting stuck in to get impact from their giving. They are much more likely to want to get involved by offering skills support or volunteering time than their older counterparts, despite similarly busy lives. This means we can expect more innovation, more experimentation, more long-term relationships with causes and charities, and more focus on leverage.

How does BeMORE encourage philanthropy?

BeMORE helps you discover philanthropy by allowing you to explore how you can make most difference to the lives of others, and discover how to maximise the impact of your giving. The BeMORE approach creates giving groups, enabling individuals to multiply their personal impact by up to 10 times and more by giving in a group. You will meet other, like-minded Londoners with shared values and join the BeMORE community.

Through the BeMORE programme you discover the causes and issues that are important to you, have the opportunity to debate and learn about others’ passions, and explore how to have the most impact, enabling you to become an effective giver. You will learn practical skills of charity management, and make a significant difference to a charity that you meet, and work with, face-to-face.

BeMORE helps you discover what philanthropy is all about, and how to make a difference by creating impact and multiplying your personal efforts.You will discover your ‘voice’ and recognise your ability to make an impact. At the end of your BeMORE programme you will be confident in the knowledge and direction you want your lifelong philanthropic journey to take. Here’s what one of our members, Kofi, said about his BeMORE experience:

‘BeMORE really appealed to me because you can give much more money by collaborating than you could by yourself. There’s much more benefit in the power of the team than in giving as an individual.’

The greatest thing I learnt from BeMORE is how people from all different backgrounds and careers can come together to make something work well. BeMORE is not just about giving money – you’re making new friends at the same time, and making a long-term connection with a charity. You are helping people who are going to help more people.

Our group discussed things like whether we should do something that could benefit people longer-term or straight away, and how we could help the most people. There was lots of moral debate; should we invest in technologies and ideas with the potential to benefit millions in the future, or projects that were helping people right now? These discussions were the most interesting part for me.

We went out together, and had meetings at places we could eat and drink. That meant it didn’t feel like we were preparing to give away money - we were making friends. It’s much easier to do these things if you all get along. I feel like I’ve made some friends for life.

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