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Philanthropy through the generations

The economic downturn forced families to make cutbacks and regain control of their wealth. However, when it came to philanthropy, most stayed committed to giving to causes they feel strongly about.

Who to turn to for advice?

Receiving advice on giving is an important issue for families. The wealthier an individual, the more likely they are to use advisors. However, those who have been involved in philanthropy the longest are least likely to engage outside advisors.

The majority of the sample also preferred to steer clear of any outside help, such as a bank, professional advisor or a philanthropy consultant. Over 63% said they have never used an outside advisor, with banks proving to be the least popular by just 3%.

Instead, families prefer to consult with other families for advice. 39% claimed that they call on their peers or other family members for advice, which explains why
collaboration is a rising trend.

Results on giving

More and more families want to know what impact their giving has made to a certain cause but 60% find measuring it the most challenging part.

A benchmarking system came out as most popular among the sample as nearly four out of five said they preferred to use it for assuming project feedback. Of those, 36% used key performance indictors that were similar to those used in their business or other investments. Another 23% compared the results with their peers and 9% actually used some type of return on investment criteria.


The number of families working together towards common goals in philanthropy rose through the economic downturn. It also meant that there was more of an emphasis on families integrating their resources.

The survey found that just over 40% of respondents have had experience in collaborating with other philanthropists. Almost half, 47%, have worked with other independent foundations on their giving.

However, engaging with the government was found to be unpopular, as only one third said they had done so. The response from in-depth interviews was that families want to "persuade and influence" governments instead of working with them.

Global Family Philanthropy Report

BNP Paribas and Campden Research, in association with Changing Our World, embarked on the first truly global study of family philanthropy. Examining how ultra high net worth families engage in and manage their philanthropic activities, the results are contained in the report Giving Through the Generations. To purchase a copy of the report visit

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