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Getting started

The new philanthropist is younger, usually in their mid-forties or fifties, and wants to see their money go to work in their lifetime

If you don’t know where to start, it is possible that your bank may be able to help. Richard Tribe, Client Partner at RBS Coutts in Jersey, says: “Our specialist team in London can tell clients about the varying strategies they can take, and where their money can best be used. We also host a series of philanthropy forums where clients can listen to practical advice from other donors.” So once you have decided who to give the money to, how do the funds end up in the hands of the people who need it?

Effective giving Dame Stephanie started her philanthropy activities by giving shares in her IT firm Xansa to staff (making millionaires of many of them in the process) and to charities. She explains that after a long period of informing the recipients that the shares she had given them could not be cashed for six months to avoid tax she ended the ‘clumsy process’ and set up a foundation. She says: “I did it after taking legal advice and informing the Charity Commission about my plans. The foundation held the shares for six months and then I could give a clean cash cheque to the charities I was helping.” Richard Tribe says philanthropy used to be wealthy individuals making one-off payments

44 October/November 2011

to charitable causes. Now it is more structured in the forms of these charity foundations and trusts. “There are different vehicles you can use,” he explains. “If you want to be more active, then a foundation gives you more control and more involvement in the decision-making process. Alternatively it can be structured as a trust where you engage trustees to oversee it.” Donors will often support local charities and projects. For instance, many Channel Island philanthropists tend to benefit local Channel Island charities, with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust particularly popular. “There are a lot of wealthy people in Jersey and there are a huge amount of people involved in this,” Tribe says. “Jersey is a small community and you can see tangible differences you are making very quickly. For example if you donate a new aviary to the Wildlife Trust you can go and see it first-hand. It is very enriching.” Dame Stephanie agrees, but adds that philanthropy doesn’t just have to be about giving money. “I think it can be demeaning to a charity just to write a cheque and walk away,” she says. “It’s also about giving your time and your skills. It’s a journey, and you’re learning all the time.” l

DAVID CRAIK is a freelance financial journalist

n Talk to your bank and ask to set up a meeting to discuss your philanthropy hopes. Many banks have specialist teams that can talk through where you want the money to go and the payment structure that will be best for you. This can include setting up a foundation or a trust, or a system of one-off payments. The bank will also be able to discuss the tax implications and benefits of giving, such as tax aids and breaks. n Talk to dedicated philanthropy advisory bodies such as the Institute for Philanthropy or visit the Philanthropy UK website ( for useful advice, publications and contact numbers. n Contact the Association of Jersey Charities (www or the Association of Guernsey Charities ( for more information and legal advice on setting up charitable trusts or foundations on the islands and the tax implications.

Becoming a philanthropist is a very personal matter with very personal motivations. There is no ‘correct’ charity or cause to support or structure to pay your funds. The most important thing to consider is where you think your money can best help those in need. The best advice is to do your research and immerse yourself in your chosen field – be it education, health or overseas aid. It is about making a contribution, leaving a legacy and using your hard-earned wealth to make someone else’s life better.

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