Legacy of Charity can be Improved – Sunday Independent – Letter 22/11/2020

Sir – Ireland is indeed a wealthy country, as outlined by Conor Skehan in last week’s Sunday Independent. He rightly points out that we are a compassionate country, but quoting the World Giving Index to suggest that we are very generous is a little misleading.

This report asks people, have they, in the past month: (a) helped a stranger, or someone they didn’t know who needed help; (b) donated money to a charity; or (c) volunteered time to an organisation.

We score well on all three. The report, however, makes no reference to the scale of donations. Research about the level of giving demonstrates that we are well behind the likes of the UK and New Zealand.

Per capita giving in Ireland was €233 in 2019 (admittedly up from €212 in 2018). Ireland as a society would benefit significantly if the very rich here engaged in more planned or structured giving. Credit Suisse estimates that the wealthiest 1pc of adults owned 33pc of all private wealth in Ireland in 2017, with the top 5pc owning about 50pc of that total. Imagine if even some of the top 1pc gave more.

Yes, some wealthy people are generous, some are strategic, but there is significant room for improvement. As a simple starting point, this is MyLegacy Month and people of major or minor means might also consider including their favourite charity or cause in their will.

Niall O’Sullivan,

Campaign Solutions / Philanthropy Adviser


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