“Festive Philanthropy: 5 Options for Charitable Gift Giving” by Emma Beeston

During 2021 we’ve featured some fantastic opinion pieces by Emma Beeston of the Emma Beeston Consultancy and Sarah Taragon and Steve Woollett of Clarity CIC.

In time for the start of the festive season, Emma has written a new blog about philanthropy and giving over Christmas, entitled:

“Festive philanthropy: 5 options for charitable gift giving”

“As regular readers know, I spend my time advising on different approaches to philanthropy and navigating my clients through all the intricate dilemmas that each big decision inevitably creates: to give locally or thematically? Whether or not to spend down an endowment? How narrow or broad a focus to take? As self-declared philanthro-nerd Rhodri Davies put it in a recent article “as is often the case with anything to do with philanthropy, once you start delving into the details you find that it is complicated”.

As we are heading into the festive season, it is a good time to step away from the complexity of philanthropy and the big strategic choices to focus on the simple act of giving. Counteracting the commercialism all around us at this time of year and diverting even a little of your festive budget towards a charitable cause is an easy way to do some good. Especially given the fact that, according to a survey by Finder, over 21 million British adults receive at least one unwanted gift each Christmas.

“I am not such a Scrooge to suggest we shouldn’t give gifts. But if your friends, family, or colleagues agree, then pooling funds and giving together can bring you some cheer and avoids the issue of buying more stuff for people who might be lucky enough not to need anything. This is what I have done with a group of friends for some time: we used to all get each other a present, instead I now recommend a few of the charities I have been able to work with that year and they choose which one they would like to support. Then we give all the pooled money as a donation to that charity. If you have a similar situation, you can decide together like a one-off giving circle and I can’t think of a better topic of conversation over a glass of something than finding out what your friends and family care about.

“Between you, if you are not sure who to donate to, then here are five great organisations that can help you:

1. Big Give’s Christmas Challengethere are 250 charities for you to choose from and your donation is doubled if you give between midday on 30th November (which is #GivingTuesday) and midday on 2nd December.


2. Wishya new (founded in Bristol) platform which helps those who want a tangible ‘thing’ to buy with their money by listing what charities need as wishes such as £11 for 200 wooden forks for a homeless charity to provide when they are giving out hot meals; or £100 to buy tennis balls for a youth club.


3. KidsOut targeted at getting companies to swap from Secret Santa to giving a present to a child living in a refuge.


4. Hartlepool Giving Treefounded 10 years ago, this virtual giving tree now distributes presents to children and adults across the UK.


5. The Giving Tree idea has come over from the US and seems to be taking off in the UK. The other idea from the States is the Giving Vending Machine. London has one of these for the second year running (https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/topics/vending-machines-for-charity-return-to-the-uk-6574). Not exactly the same, but in the same vein, is a large giving box in Bath shopping centre, where you can make contactless donations to four local charities (https://www.southgatebath.com/giving-box). Hopefully there is a similar scheme near you.

“And of course, if you are buying gifts, don’t forget that 47% of charity income is earned. You can buy directly from many charities and the #PresentswithPurpose hashtag can direct you to other social enterprises and community businesses.”

Image: Emma Beeston. Through her consultancy business, Emma  advises grant-makers, companies and families on creating and implementing giving strategies.

For enquiries or to book a free 30-minute consultation, contact emma@emmabeeston.co.uk. Tel: +44 (0) 7810 543737.
Twitter: @emmabeeston01
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/emmabesston/