Intelligent Giving – an evening with the Convergence Network

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending an evening with the Convergence Network, hosted by Marcus Jamieson-Pond, the Network’s founder and director. Both the erudite Caroline Fiennes and our very own Michelle Wright delivered compelling speeches on the theme of intelligent giving, which were well received by the diverse audience.

Michelle’s speech focused on philanthropy, and the importance of intelligent giving for high net worth individuals who want to put something back into society. Building on much of our own experience at Cause4 of working with sports stars such as Rio Ferdinand, and several other leading lights in the philanthropic field, Michelle set out six fundamental principles for successful philanthropy:

1.       Philanthropy should be personal

Giving is most intelligent when the giver has a genuine passion for the cause to which they give

2.       Philanthropy should be strategic

The best giving is that with a view to achieving long-term sustainable impact, reliant on establishing the best possible partnerships with the right people, giving at the right time and in the right way.

3.       Due diligence is essential in effective giving

So often we have seen philanthropists who given purely on emotion or feel obliged to commit. Whilst emotional engagement is important, so too is making sure that the organisation you give your money to is sustainable, and will use the gift in the best possible way.

4.       Philanthropy goes hand-in-hand with entrepreneurialism

The best philanthropists look for entrepreneurial organisations run by entrepreneurial people; people who are open to new and better ways of doing what they do. An intelligent philanthropist should look for ambition, innovation, collaboration and efficiency – the hallmarks of good entrepreneurship.

5.       Small is beautiful

The huge charities of this world do such much for so many people, but (maybe controversially) in our own programmes, we try to align philanthropists with smaller organisations, where they can see the direct effect of their giving, and where their money can make the greatest impact.

6.       Personal involvement in philanthropy is essential

The most intelligent givers will want to truly engage with their giving and be involved in the decision making and thinking of the organisation, a mutually beneficial relationship that enables the philanthropist to be able to give not only money but time, and lets them truly experience the huge effect that their generosity can have.

At Cause4, these six principles are fundamental to the way we approach philanthropy, and we’d love to have your views and input on them!

Caroline’s well-rehearsed speech brought to life some of the key themes from her book, which was available for purchase at the event. A developed argument on efficiency in giving was relayed to the audience, making some interesting points built around a discussion of banks and their CSR efforts.

This was my first convergence event and was a superb example of the great work Marcus’ network is doing – I would encourage everyone interested in CSR, networks and the world of charities to sign up!


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