London donating £5.6bn a year to good causes - study

London donates an estimated £5.6bn a year in cash to good causes, a new study has found, accounting for 29 per cent of all private giving in the UK.

The study, commissioned by City Philanthropy and conducted by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy (CGAP) at Cass Business School, found trusts and foundations and the general population accounted for 36 per cent of donations each.

More to Give: London Millennials Networking for a Better World found major gifts accounted for 15 per cent of London’s cash contribution, followed by charitable legacies on 7 per cent and companies on 6 per cent.

Professor Cathy Pharoah of CGAP co-authored the report, and said London’s contribution to good causes currently outstrips its 22 per cent contribution to UK GDP.

“But London is also home to many of the UK’s wealthiest people so we need to raise the bar on what we expect, and ensure that the City fulfils its potential as a hotspot for philanthropy,” Pharoah said.

The report highlighted an opportunity to increase London’s future annual giving by £20m through donor-led networks such as BeyondMe, City Funding Network, and BeMore. Such networks are growing in popularity, the study found, with around 80 across the UK and Ireland.

Funding networks could generate £20m in charitable giving and thousands of hours of pro bono support if just 1 per cent of London’s employees became engaged with them, the study suggested.

The research found London’s workers believe they should use their business expertise to support charitable causes, with over 80 per cent of network members in London keen to put their skills and experience to use. Three-quarters said their involvement in giving has improved their own leadership and motivational skills.

Senior associate at PwC and BeyondMe network member Peter White said there are many ways to give back, and encouraged anyone passionate about a social issue to get involved.

“By tackling a cause with friends and colleagues, you can make a greater difference. I’ve found BeyondMe’s model of donating time, skills and money a powerful approach to create social impact. BeyondMe also helps develop my leadership skills, expand my network and is an experience I enjoy.”

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