Factary New Trust Update 2017 Review

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According to the Association of Charitable Foundation’s (ACF) Foundation Giving Trends 2017 grant making by the Top 300 foundations reached a record high for the second year in a row in 2017, with giving totalling £2.9bn. 64% of this grant-making (£1.87bn) comes from personal and family philanthropy through foundations. The report also states that the top 50 corporate foundations gave grants totalling £269m – up 9% on the previous year. According to the report these top foundations account for around 90% of all foundation giving.

In addition, The Coutts Million Pound Donor Report 2017 shows that the total value of £1m+ donations in the UK was £1.83bn from 310 donations. Foundations continued to be the main source of donations of £1m or more, representing 55% of the overall value, and corporate donors significantly increased their giving – accounting for nearly a third of the overall value.

These statistics highlight the importance of keeping abreast of new sources of funding in the foundations market, particularly from High Net Worth families and corporates. That is where Factary’s New Trust Update can be a vital resource for fundraisers. With details on around 20 new grant-makers each month, including notes on the professional and philanthropic interests of the settlors and interview notes on the aims and objectives of the trusts and foundations, New Trust Update gives fundraisers a head start on building relationships with these new philanthropic vehicles.

Whilst there are on average around 100 new organisations registered with the Charity Commission each month that state they make grants to other organisations, in practice the vast majority of these are not what would be considered grant-making trusts or foundations. We scrutinise and carefully select the organisations that are featured in New Trust Update and as a result, our review of 2017 found that 1 in 5 of the trusts and foundations featured had been created by a settlor with an estimated wealth of £10m or more. The combined estimated wealth of these 48 philanthropists was in excess of £12bn. Our review also found that we included details of 38 newly created corporate foundations in 2017 with the companies involved having a combined turnover in excess of £4.25bn in the past financial year.

Our infographic report, available to download here, includes a range of useful analysis and statistics including the philanthropic areas of interest of the trusts and foundations featured throughout the year, the source of funds of the High Net Worth Individuals creating their own foundations and their geographical distribution. It also includes mini profiles on a handful of the most interesting and potentially major foundations and their settlors.

Subscriber numbers for New Trust Update are limited to maintain exclusivity of the information contained. If you would like to find out more then please contact Nicola Williams or call us on 0117 9166740.

Prospect Research and Legitimate Interests

Something quite remarkable happened a few weeks ago. I went to a conference on GDPR (the CASE Regulation and Compliance Conference) and, by the end of the day, I was actually feeling upbeat, hopeful and – even – vaguely excited about the future of prospect research. This was not at all how I was expecting to feel after a GDPR conference, based on the countless other GDPR conferences and events that I have attended over the past 18 months which have mostly left me feeling a mixture of despondency and frustration.

So, why the sudden shift? Well, a few things. Firstly, the brilliant presentations were, for the first time, practical, focusing on what people are working on and achieving as they build towards compliancy for GDPR. To be at a GDPR event which was about positive action in regards to things like privacy notices or data analysis, and not just about all the things we can’t or mustn’t do, felt like progress.

Secondly, there was a real focus on analysing the ‘legitimate interest’ condition for processing data for prospect research. This is a huge step forwards. For too long now ‘legitimate interest’ has been viewed as a second-best option, a condition for processing that non-profits can maybe use, which is kind of OK, but probably just not quite as good or as ‘safe’ as consent. Obviously, this is due in no small part to the Regulator and ICO’s view that non-profits should probably get consent for wealth screening (by which they seem to imply most forms of prospect research). Alongside this, as Adrian Salmon’s recent blogpost highlights, one of the problems of principles’ based regulation is that, whilst it should encourage flexibility, it tends to lead to a “very conservative compliance mind-set”. So, it was great to see the all the relevant conditions for processing being analysed in an informed and practical way at the conference.

And lastly, many Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are actively choosing legitimate interests (after careful analysis) as their condition for processing data for prospect research. This is another good, positive step.

All that said…

There is still confusion and misinformation. In the past two weeks alone I have received a number of emails from researchers who are still asking if wealth screening is illegal or if they need to get consent from all their donors before doing research. I also speak to many organisations that have suspended some or all forms of prospect research whilst they try to work out their next steps. Occasionally, I speak to smaller charities who have no idea that any of this is even happening.

So, despite great advances in the HE sector and with some charities, it is clear that there is still a long way to go for prospect research before we reach May 2018, when GDPR becomes law.

The main aspect which seems to be paralysing many organisations is the question of whether to rely on consent or legitimate interests as the condition for processing for prospect research. Many researchers have been tasked with coming up with a plan for assessing this and making recommendations, which is a tall order. Much has already been written about consent (see, for example, The Fundraising Regulator’s Guidance on Consent) and we thought, therefore, that it might be useful to add some thoughts around legitimate interests, specifically in relation to prospect research.

Please click here to download our paper on this, which is a meander around the topic (you’ll be asked to subcribe to Factary Updates, so you’ll receive other reports and updates like this in the future). We hope the report is useful. Please do come back to us with any questions or comments. Also, remember that we are not data protection lawyers, so don’t make any decisions based solely on the information we provide!