I have been reading many recent articles that have made me think, "how much should everyone give?" There is the news about the "cost of living crisis", Oxfam's "100 millionaires call for wealth taxes on the richest..." and "Ten richest men double their fortunes in pandemic while incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall", and the Civil Society Commission's report "Mind the Giving Gap". All of these highlight the inequality in the world. This is an inequality we see echoed very strongly through our work in Oxfordshire.
"The generosity gap" looks at the giving of the top 1% of earners in the country. We should thank them as they do provide 6% of giving, however it is a concern that their giving is falling. In the Mind the Giving Gap report it states, "Most high earners give relatively small amounts, typically less than 0.2% of their income. If everyone in this group donated at least 1% of their income, UK charities would receive up to £1.4 billion additional revenue each year (including the Gift Aid match)."
The report also points out that "At least 63% of the total value of money donated by the UK’s top earners comes from less than 0.4% of this group." This demonstrates the generosity of the philanthropists - people who are wealthy and are quite obviously donating far more than 1% of their earnings or wealth. It also demonstrates that, if so much is being given by so few, there must be many who are giving near to nothing. Are the rest of 1% highest earners mean? Maybe, but it could be that they are not aware of the right charity to give to, or that they don't understand the impact they could make. We don't know what their personal circumstances or preferences are. We don't have the right to tell someone else how to spend their money. If Jeff Besos or Elon Musk want to spend their money on space rockets, or a friend of ours want to spend their money on bigger cars, holidays, houses or school fees, rather than on relieving hardship, we shouldn't judge them.
What we should do is to ensure that we are doing our bit and contributing what we can. We should also spread the word and try to influence others, particularly to those that can afford to have a big impact. Reducing inequality will not just benefit the poor but will make the lives of everyone of us richer.
...a growing threat that such generosity of spirit is fading in Britain. ...surveys suggests that the proportion of people giving to charity has been shrinking for a number of years, with one ONS source suggesting that the proportion of households donating regularly to charity fell from 32% in 2000 to just 26% in 2018. The decline in philanthropy among those with the greatest resources is of particular concern. Even after adjusting for inflation, incomes of the top 1% of earners in the UK have grown significantly since 2011. The typical income of someone in the top 1% of earners grew by 10% in real terms between 2011-12 and 2018-19, from £247,000 to £271,000. Yet over the same period, the typical donation to charity made by top earners fell by over 20% and now sits at just £48 a month.