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Philanthropy: fun, fulfilling and fundamental

Supporting causes you care about could really brighten up your 2021.

2 min read


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New year, same pandemic. With COVID-19 very much still part of life in 2021, keeping the January blues at bay is perhaps harder than ever. But there’s a very important thing you could do to cheer yourself up – philanthropy.

There’s obviously the warm glow that comes with knowing you’ve supported a cause that does good in the world. But it’s more than that. It gives you an opportunity to think about what’s really important to you. It brings families together to work on something special. And people often find it exciting to see the positive impact they can have on the world.

Victoria Papworth, philanthropy specialist at the Coutts Institute, says, “Every single client I have worked with on philanthropy has said they find it extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Every single one.

“Philanthropy is unique that way. It can be satisfying for the philanthropist while benefitting an important cause and wider society. And it can be a lot of fun too.”


How we could support your giving



Organisations doing good in the world and the people they support need help more than ever as the coronavirus continues to hit them.

To put it bluntly, the pandemic pummelled the charity sector in 2020. UK charities faced a £10 billion funding shortfall, according to estimates by Pro Bono Economics.

The organisation, which puts economists to work as volunteers for charities, says the situation looks likely to remain challenging this year too.

Research they published in November 2020 found that more than three-quarters of UK charities expected higher demand this year, while 83% thought their income would continue to fall.


Philanthropy – deeper than charity

Philanthropy involves supporting good causes in a way that’s different from what’s commonly seen as charity. You could give a large donation to a cause you care about. That’s charity. It’s reactive and spontaneous. You see or hear of something happening in the world that inspires, upsets or angers you – or all three – and you give money to the relevant organisation that helps deal with it.

It’s a wonderful thing. You feel good, and the charity gets some much-needed support to do its great work.

But philanthropy is something more, something deeper, longer-term, and strategic.

For the most part it involves ongoing funding for a particular charitable activity, but today many philanthropists use approaches other than straight donations. These include giving loans, equity or long-term capital to charitable organisations or social enterprises – which is known as social investment or impact investing.

Victoria says, “Philanthropy is more deliberate than donating. It’s diverse in nature. But what unites philanthropists is a passion for using their resources to make a real, long-lasting difference to the causes or communities they care about.”


“Every single client I have worked with on philanthropy has said they find it extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Every single one.”


Victoria Papworth, Philanthropy Specialist, Coutts Institute




Taking your first philanthropic step, like any first step, can seem daunting. But it doesn’t need to be, particularly with experienced professionals like those we have at Coutts by your side. In fact, getting started with philanthropy can be pretty straightforward.

We always suggest to clients that they begin by asking themselves a series of questions, which include:

  • what are my motivations for philanthropy?
  • could it strengthen my family bond, educate the next generation or create a lasting legacy?
  • is there an issue that has had a significant impact on me, my family or my friends?
  • does my faith or cultural background encourage me to do something?
  • how might philanthropy strengthen my connection with the communities or causes I care about?

Thinking about these issues helps when figuring out your personal approach to philanthropy.



Here at Coutts we have a long history of expertise on this topic going back to 19th century progressive philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts. Our experts at the Coutts Institute work with clients to help them decide which causes to support and how.

They then help them – and often their families – support the cause or community in question in an effective, efficient way. 

Find out more about philanthropy at Coutts, and speak to your private banker or wealth manager to discuss it further.


Find out more


Listen to our philanthropy podcast

Episode 1 of our ‘Expect Better’ podcast series features Rachel Harrington, Head of the Coutts Institute, talking to long-time philanthropist Sir Richard Stilgoe about ‘the how’ and ‘the why’ of philanthropy. It’s great listening whatever your experience, your wealth or the causes closest to you.

Available now on Spotify, iTunes and all major 3rd party audio platforms. Or you can click here to listen via our website.