A survey by Barclays bank of 400multimillionaires across nine countries to be published on Saturday, found that75 percent believed philanthropy was the responsibility of those wealthier than themselves.
Some 46 percent think financing good causes is the state’s job, 29 percent say family and business commitments come first, and 27 percent cite a lack of faith in how charities are run.
The study comes as ethical questions over wealth accumulation and growing inequality rise up the political agenda, sparking calls for higher taxes on large incomes and established fortunes.
The report, published by Barclays private bank just as the peak, year-end, fundraising season gets into full swing, surveyed 400 people with assets of £5m or more in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore and India
It said a poor understanding of charities, insufficient control over the use of donations and recent scandals had all contributed to a wider “lack of faith” in charities.
The Barclays study largely excludes the US, where the rich are, by international standards, big donors, with charitable gifts amounting to over 2 percent of gross domestic product. Donations in other leading economies sit well below 1 percent, with the UK ranking top in Europe at just over 0.5 percent of GDP.
According to a 2016 report from the CharitiesAid Foundation, a UK umbrella body, France, and other mainland European countries, with big state-led welfare services, donate less than 0.3 percent of GDP. South Korea ranks top among non-European countries on 0.5 percent.
There is a glimmer of hope for charities in Barclays’ “Barriers to Giving” findings as 59 percent of the multimillionaires polled acknowledged that they should give more, with 14 percent disagreeing. The authors argue that charities and their advisers should act on the basis that donations could be increased and focus on reducing the perceived barriers to giving, especially a communication gap between potential donors and charities.
In a clear reference to the sexual misconduct allegations that rocked Oxfam, the global development charity, the report says scandals can often create the mistaken impression that the whole sector is badly run, putting off donors.
Matthew Bowcock, a high-tech entrepreneur and co-founder of the Beacon Collaborative, an organisation bringing together charities and philanthropists, which supported the Barclays study, said big donors should not be seen as “cheque books” but people who wanted to “engage and share in a mission”.