50 Key Messages – Motivations and Structured Giving

Today marks the start of QLD Philanthropy Week by the QLD Community Foundation, of which QUT and ACPNS are a major partner. For this week we will be looking at some messages from Giving Australia out of the Philanthropy and Philanthropists report.

Philanthropists consistently reported they wanted to ‘make a difference’ both in the survey and qualitative interviews and focus groups. Participants suggested that this belief could be influenced by receiving information about how their contribution would make a difference to recipients, and how they would see that this change occurs. Giving could also be motivated by a sense of social reciprocity and desire to give back to the community that supported the donor to achieve their successes in life. The third most common motivating factor identified was a sense of personal satisfaction and fulfilment.

It’s a very rewarding place to be… I think there’s a major feel good factor, so that you can bring the skills that you have to bear on something that provides positive outcomes.

– Interview, Foundation, TAS

In terms of moving to a structured giving vehicle, the desire to give strategically to create a long term, financially sustainable giving channel was a key factor. Some philanthropists move from a mostly spontaneous approach to a more planned and structured approach by way of a philanthropic giving vehicle. The most common legal structure (adopted by 33% of respondents to the Philanthropy and philanthropists survey) was a Private Ancillary Fund (PAF), followed by charitable trusts and sub-funds.

PAFs tended to be established by people who had the resources and the inclination to establish and manage their own fund. Sub-funds of umbrella organisations such as community foundations were established by people with smaller capital amounts to give or by those who preferred their giving to be part of a collective endeavour. Some opted for both.

Those who use structured giving vehicles thought it made their giving:

  • more strategic
  • sharply focused and with greater impact
  • more financially sustainable, and
  • better planned around personal and/or business needs.

Foundations, trusts and ancillary funds also allowed for control over where money was spent and had potential for tax incentives.

Mechanisms that enhance a philanthropist’s sense of agency and impact can encourage structured giving. The key message from philanthropy interview and focus group participants about enabling structured giving was ‘make it easier’. They recommend several actions to grow structured giving, such as:

  • reduce the complexity involved in establishing a structured giving vehicle
  • reduce restrictions on where donations can be made (e.g. enable PAFs to gift beyond Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR)1s, inclusive of individuals)
  • establish mechanisms to encourage sharing of administration (back-office)
  • increase awareness and skills among solicitors and financial advisers, and
  • support foundations to leverage the relative freedom they have to take risks with their money.

To read the full reports and factsheets, go to https://www.communitybusinesspartnership.gov.au/about/research-projects/giving-australia-2016/

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