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Spirit of giving is ‘alive and well’ in SA, report finds

Spirit of giving is ‘alive and well’ in SA, report finds

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We tend to think of wealthy people as being selfish and miserly, but, as is so often the case with stereotypes, that perception is far from the truth. In fact, some of the world’s richest people, including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett, are also the world's greatest givers, donating billions of dollars to charities of their choice each year.

Here in South Africa, and despite the economic challenges brought on by the pandemic, affluent members of society are still committed to giving of their money, time and talents to help and support vulnerable people and communities.

That’s according to the fifth edition of the Nedbank Private Wealth Giving Report, a survey that investigates the giving practices of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in South Africa.

Marilize Lansdell, Nedbank’s managing executive of wealth management, says that while the 2022 report reveals some changes in giving habits – due to a variety of factors, not least Covid-19 – the philanthropic spirit is alive and well in South Africa.

“No less than 83% of the HNWIs surveyed gave of their money, time or skills during 2021,” Lansdell says, “with approximately R4.2 billion in cash, R2,6 billion worth of goods and services, and a total of 3,2 million hours of physical volunteerism provided.

“While the size of the giving market increased in 2021, there was a significant decline in the amount of volunteering,” she explains, “which is understandable given the national lockdowns that continued into this period, and associated social distancing protocols.”

Lansdell says the restrictions resulted in the majority of giving during the period taking the form of cash donations, which are a safer and more convenient way of providing support. Despite this, the total value of cash donations declined by roughly R2 billion from 2018, when the last Giving Report survey was undertaken.

“It’s likely that this drop in the overall value of cash giving is a direct result of the economic challenges created by the pandemic, which resulted in a declining income levels for many South Africans, including affluent individuals,” she says. Her assumption is borne out by the report finding that around 21% of survey respondents felt less financially secure than they did before the pandemic.

However, on balance, the positive findings of the 2022 report far outweigh the negatives. In previous years, givers were skewed towards predominantly white, older HNWIs. The latest report shows a more even distribution of givers across the 36 to 50- and 50 to 65-year-old sub-segments. Importantly, the number of givers in the 18 to 35 age group is at an all-time high, pointing to a growing new generation of HNWIs with a commitment to giving.

And the latest findings reinforce the racial and gender transformation trends observed in previous reports. “We are increasingly seeing the impact of South Africa’s transformation filter through into the giving landscape,” Lansdell says, “with women now making up more than 50% of givers, and roughly one in four givers being black South Africans.” – Supplied by Nedbank

Original Article

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