Photo of Iain Rawlinson

Iain Rawlinson

Iain Rawlinson

Chair, Global Philanthropic Holdings

Iain Rawlinson is an experienced Board Member & Chair, charity trustee and strategy adviser.

Iain is a Founder and Partner of Vico Partners which works closely with Boards and business leaders to manage and resolve sensitive and complex issues which unlock or defend value.

He began his career in investment banking with Lazard Brothers and was posted to South Africa in 1994 with Robert Fleming. Following a successful period building up a leading Southern African investment banking team, on the sale of Robert Fleming to JP Morgan in 2000 he was appointed to establish Fleming Family & Partners, where he was a founding partner and COO from 2000 to 2003. After appointing his successor, he went on to hold several senior posts within FF&P before establishing his own office in 2005.

Iain has since undertaken a wide range of business and charitable appointments. Among these, in 2009 after a successful advisory role for shareholders, Iain was appointed Chairman of The Monarch Group, leading its transformation and preparing the Group for its eventual sale in 2014. From 2017 to 2020 he was a NED at the Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Trust, and he is currently a NED at Eurasia Mining PLC.

Iain’s philanthropic activities started in 1991 as a founder member of the London International Piano Competition. Since then he has held charitable board appointments, including as Chair of Tusk, the African conservation charity from 2004 to 2013, as Deputy Chairman of Global Philanthropic from 2007 to 2014, and currently as Chair of Governors at Walhampton School. From 2016 to 2019 he volunteered with the Centre for Social Innovation at the Cambridge Judge Business School.

Iain was educated at Birkenhead School, the University of Cambridge and the Inns of Court School of Law. He has a BA (MA Cantab) in Law and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1981. He is also a qualified mediator through the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution in London.

Specialist skills

Iain has specialist skills in corporate philanthropy and foundations, organisational strategy, communications, combined with senior level Board and governance experience in the philanthropic and corporate sector.

Iain Rawlinson

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Ben Morton Wright

Ben Morton Wright

Founder, Group CEO and Director, Global Philanthropic Holdings

Ben Morton Wright founded Global Philanthropic in 2002. He has supervised the establishment of Global Philanthropic operations in the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Canada.

As Group CEO, Ben has gained recognition as a major gift strategist, an expert in structuring international campaigns and a specialist in higher education and Asian philanthropy.

Since founding the Group in 2002, he has served as senior strategy consultant to, amongst others, the London School of Economics; St Andrews University; Trinity College, Cambridge; St John’s College, Oxford; the United Nations Foundation; the University of Hull; the STARS Foundation; Institute for Cancer Research; Aquaculture Stewardship Council; the Birmingham Royal Ballet; King’s College London; Sussex University; FIP Foundation; Protimos; York St John University; UNICEF UK, and a number of other organisations around the world.

Currently, Ben advises a number of private individuals and philanthropists around the world to develop meaningful philanthropic strategies. He has been acknowledged as an expert on Asian philanthropy.

Ben is a Board Member at DanceEast www.danceeast.co.uk and a Member of Council for Goldsmiths, University of London www.gold.ac.uk. He is also a member of the Royal Automobile Club and regularly speaks on philanthropic issues and trends around the world. Ben also co-authored ‘Talking Philanthropy. Volume 1’ book which was published in 2017.

Specialist skills

Ben is a specialist in higher education and Asian philanthropy. He has served as senior strategy consultant to many organisations around the world.

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Global Philanthropic honours three leaders in philanthropy at Talking Philanthropy 2021

May 15, 2021

EMEA, North America & International

By Harriet Jones

On May 14th 2021, Global Philanthropic along with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at the University of Cambridge hosted Talking Philanthropy 2021. Talking Philanthropy convened some the world’s leading philanthropic organisations and academic institutions to discuss Asia-Pacific – Supporting a Philanthropic Ecosystem, the forum explored the macro perspectives on the key issues that need to be addressed in the Asia-Pacific region to allow philanthropy to grow and flourish. As part of the programme, Global Philanthropic announces this year’s recipients for its Philanthropy Awards.

THE PHILANTHROPY AWARDS

The Philanthropy Awards were first created in 2017, to celebrate distinguished leaders and innovators in the philanthropic community whose actions inspire others to do good, create change, and make a positive impact. In past years, Global Philanthropic awarded the Lifetime Contribution to Philanthropy Award which recognises individuals who have demonstrated a sustained commitment and contribution to philanthropy and outstanding action and leadership. Previous recipients included Geoff Holt MBD DL, Dame Stephanie Steve Shirley CH DBE and Yann Borgstedt. This year, Global Philanthropic introduced the Outstanding Young Leader in Philanthropy Award, to showcase young people under the age of 25 who demonstrate leadership, creativity, innovation, and courage to orchestrate change and shape the future of philanthropy.

Choosing the winners for the awards is not an easy task, as such Global Philanthropic developed the Philanthropy Awards Judging Committee which was chaired by Geoff Holt MBE DL (Previous award recipient, founder of the nonprofit Wetwheels and the author of ’Walking on Water’). The judging committee received many exceptional applications from nominees across the globe. The scoring by the judging committee took place in two rounds, first individual anonymous scoring of the nominations and then the top nominations were selected for discussion until a final decision was agreed upon.

Lifetime Contribution to Philanthropy Award Recipient: Fran Perrin OBE

“As a philanthropist, it's not me making the difference, it is me enabling others to change their own lives” - Fran Perrin OBE

This year, we are delighted to announce the winner for the Lifetime Contribution to Philanthropy Award is Fran Perrin OBE.

Fran has spent many years committed to philanthropy and the mobilisation of resources to help others improve their lives. In 1999, Fran established her own philanthropic foundation, Indigo Trust. The Trust has given over £16million to different causes. The Trust focuses on visual impairment, access to justice in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, and better grantmaking.

“I want philanthropy to be the best that it can… let’s modernise philanthropy, bring it into the 21st century and make it as powerful, efficient and with as much impact as we possibly can.”  – Fran Perrin OBE

Fran embodies leadership, courage, creativity, and innovation. She is the Co-Founder, funder and lead of the UK charity, 360Giving, a charity that helps organisations openly publish grant data. The 360Giving platform empowers people to use data to improve their charitable giving. Fran’s thought leadership and creative vision have helped to transform UK grantmaking. To date, over £100bn worth of grants data can be explored for free using the GrantNav platform on 360Giving.

“Philanthropy at its best is about stepping back and listening to people who already know what the answer is but just need the backing to do it.” – Fran Perrin OBE

Fran’s work has impacted others across the world, changing lives for the good and inspiring others to do the same.

Outstanding Young Leader Award Recipients: Dexter Yang and Marcus Rashford MBE

“[The Outstanding Young Leader Award] is a testament to our youth leaders today who are stepping up in times of crisis. This is an opportunity for us all to be more selfless, to extend our creativity and our talents in order to help those who are less fortunate and who are most affected by the problems that are facing our society.” – Dexter Yang

Dexter Yang

Dexter Yang, defines action and leadership, he is the founder of GoodGovPH, a youth-led movement that works to uphold good governance for a just and humane Philippine society through Civic Engagement, Education and Training, Community Building, Government and Policy. As Executive Director, Dexter leads young volunteers in engaging and empowering youth leaders across the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

As part of his advocacy, Dexter founded two more nonprofit organisations – the Youth Parliamentarians of Laguna and the Sulong San Pablo, which seek to educate, engage, and empower the youth of the Philippines. To date, these organizations have reached over a thousand youth leaders nationwide.

Philanthropy is not only about giving money, through the selfless commitment and contribution of his time, effort and energy, Dexter Yang is bettering the lives of others and inspiring young people to do the same.

Marcus Rashford MBE

“[Marcus] was determined to stick his neck out and do whatever he could to change the lives of young children." – Simon Thompson, Fareshare.

Through the Outstanding Young Leader Award, we wish to celebrate Marcus Rashford MBE as an exceptional example of courage and leadership. Marcus has demonstrated how those with a platform can use the power of their voice and influence to facilitate change and mobilise others to take action. Simon Thomson and James Persad (representatives of the charity, Fareshare, for which Marcus is an ambassador) accepted the award on behalf of Marcus Rashford at Talking Philanthropy.

At the start of the outbreak of the pandemic in the UK, FareShare launched an urgent Covid-19 appeal, to which Marcus responded. He partnered with Fareshare, calling on his millions of followers to donate and support alongside his own donations. Marcus founded the Child Food Poverty Task Force, bringing food retailers, FareShare and other charities together to tackle the issue of child hunger. With the widespread public support of his #MakeTheUTurn campaign, Marcus and Fareshare successfully influenced government policy, resulting in the provision of free school meals to 1.3 million vulnerable children during the summer holidays, and the following Winter Package covering up to Easter 2021.

Marcus Rashford, your work over the last year to ensure no child is left hungry in the UK will change lives and the country for decades to come.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR PHILANTHROPY AWARD WINNERS 

Each of the recipients for the Philanthropy Awards is an inspiration, daring to be innovative and having the courage to make change. We are proud to recognise each of you for your leadership and vision which has inspired and motivated others in your community and around the world to get involved in philanthropic action.

Congratulations to this years Philanthropy Award Winners.


Photo of Pam Davis

Pam Davis

Pam Davis

President, Global Philanthropic (Europe) and Senior Consultant

Dr Pamela Davis, President of Global Philanthropic Europe and senior consultant, is considered a pioneer in the field of high-value fundraising, and a champion of philanthropic collaboration.

Originally from America, with a PhD from Cambridge University, she has a particular affinity for funding programmes designed to bringing equity of opportunity for all people and protecting the environment.

Pam comes to Global Philanthropic with over 20 years experience in building powerful fundraising teams and global partnerships. Since 2017 she and the team have advised private foundations and philanthropists, universities, charities and NGOs including: CIPS Foundation, an anonymous private foundation, ActionAid, Cambridge Judge Business School, Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge, Nature Kenya, the British Council, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Saffron Hall, Millfield School, BirdLife International and Rand Europe.  Working collaboratively, we have created bespoke narratives to test the feasibility and positioning of fundraising propositions, developed cultivation and stewardship plans, gift acceptance policies and interviewed hundreds of HNWI giving clients a clear, focused and successful fundraising strategy and operation.
Her experience and passions are in building strategies and securing funding for Higher Education, Conservation, Climate Action and Music. Prior to joining Global Philanthropic, she was Director of Development for the RSPB, creating their first high-value fundraising programme; their first ethical gifts acceptance policy and procedure; and their first seven-figure gift.
As Director of Development at ARK she led the reorganisation of the Development Team, shaping new fundraising strategies and adapting event-led fundraising to one focused on donor values.
Prior to that, Pam was brought in as Head of Fundraising at the Cambridge University Development Office, to recruit and lead the fundraising team for the University’s historic 800th Anniversary Campaign. This £1 billion campaign was the first of its kind in the UK; working in close collaboration with senior leadership at the University, Pam and her Development team and the Colleges surpassed the £1 billion target two years ahead of schedule.
Pam founded and subsequently taught the MBA Fundraising course at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and is a guest lecturer on strategic fundraising for the MPhil Conservation Leadership course at the Cambridge Conservation Campus.

Specialist skills

Pam is a specialist in higher education, environment, and gender.


5 Ways To Make Your Giving Transformational

April 9, 2021

EMEA, North America & International

By Kris Putnam-Walkerly, Global philanthropy advisor and author of Delusional Altruism

5 Ways To Make Your Giving Transformational

Is your philanthropy set up for maximum impact?

If you want your philanthropy to help change the world, you might need to change how your funding is structured. In addition to disrupting longstanding power dynamics between grantor and grantee, the way you structure your funding should align with the type of impact you wish to see.

For example, if you want to achieve long-term results, provide long-term support. If you seek to strengthen the organizations that are solving problems, provide funding that builds their infrastructure, capacity, and talent. If you expect the organizations you fund to achieve specific outcomes, ensure that they have adequate resources. If you recognize your grantees must be nimble and adapt to rapidly changing conditions, offer flexible funding and get out of their way.

Below are five different approaches to funding that will help you—and your partners—increase your impact velocity.

    1. Build trusting relationships. As human beings, we depend on trust levels to guide us into new relationships and to see them through, especially when the going gets tough. To be an effective philanthropist means recognizing and changing behaviors that undermine trusting relationships. It may seem like a complex issue, but establishing trust isn’t that difficult. It involves being a patient listener, being authentic about who you are, being honest about what you do and don’t know, being willing to make mistakes, and keeping your word.
    2. Engage diverse perspectives and let go. Our society tends to equate the accumulation of wealth with superior intellect—-or at least with superior know-how. It’s a fallacy that leaves funders frustrated by the poor results of their philanthropic investments. So, instead of confusing poverty or other forms of need with an inability to innovate or a lack of motivation to improve, funders should seek answers within the communities they wish to serve. In other words, learn from and give up some of the control you have over your philanthropic funds to those who know what it will take to make change.
    3. Offer multiple years of support. The programs that nonprofits operate and the needs they address aren’t one-off occurrences. Why should their funding be? Instead of offering funding for one year, consider offering it for multiple years. There are substantial benefits to multiyear funding. When nonprofits have more stable, predictable streams of support, they can spend less time scrambling for money and more time strengthening their organization and making a difference for your community. Nonprofit leaders get freed up to lead. It also allows NGOs the ability to plan and make the best long-term decisions.
    4. Provide general operating support. Like multiyear grants, core support funding frees up the time nonprofit leaders spend on fundraising, so they can allocate their time where they’re needed most—achieving their mission. It also helps reduce the burnout many nonprofit leaders feel just keeping their organizations afloat. On top of that, it can be a lot easier on the funder. Instead of spending long hours devising complex outcomes and grant requirements, you invest in the organizations and leaders you feel will best advance your philanthropic goals.
    5. Strengthen organizational capacity and talent. Just as core operating support is vital to help nonprofits be agile, seize new opportunities, and keep the lights on, capacity-building funding helps them be strong. It means strengthening the organization’s ability to achieve its mission, as opposed to funding specific programs. What are these capabilities we’re talking about? Everything from leadership to strategy, including financial management, governance, evaluation, fund development, program quality, communications, technology, and diversity, equity, and inclusion—the knowledge and skills you need to be an effective organization.

While it’s common sense, too few philanthropists heed this advice. They nod their heads in genuine agreement. But then they continue providing funding the way they always have. Small grants, one-year grants, and project-specific grants. Grants with lots of hurdles grantees must jump over. Grants with unrealistic expectations compared to the funds provided. Grants that meet the interests of the funder while forcing the nonprofit to stray from its mission. That’s one reason I wrote the book, Delusional Altruism: Why Philanthropists Fail To Achieve Change and What They Can Do To Transform Giving, to help change these patterns.

To have a transformational impact on whatever issue you’re passionate about, you need to give in ways that create lasting and sustainable change. To do that, you also need to transform yourself and how you give. How you give matters.

Talking Philanthropt Asia Pacific Event Banner

Talking Philanthropy 2021 is a complimentary forum on supporting a philanthropic ecosystem in environment, health, and education in the Asia-Pacific region. Kris Putnam-Walkerly will be sharing her expertise as part of the forum. Please join Kris in what will be a thought-provoking programme of events.

Learn more and register at www.globalphilanthropic.com/talking-philanthropy


Children sitting down

Our authentic selves and doing diversity right.

March 1, 2021

EMEA, North America & International

By Melody Song. Published in The Provocateur.

Melody Song quote on Fundraising diversity

My Canadian-born Chinese-German son is openly resisting bringing a thermos full of Chinese food to school. Ever since his childhood, his Korean after-school teachers always commented that he brought delicious home-made Asian food from rice stir-fry to dumplings for lunch. Now he is in grade 5, the thermos is officially uncool. I didn’t think too much of it until I watched a YouTube extract from ABC’s “Fresh off the Boat” show where the boy in the show told his mom that he wanted “white people food” for lunch. Could it be, that even in such a diverse society as Canada, that my son wants “white people food” to fit in?

Born and raised under a “communist Chinese culture,” one of the main values of my cultural background is conformity. It’s a different type of “fitting in,” but nonetheless, all the stories from centuries of Chinese history have taught me that “standing out or being different from the crowd” literally gets you killed. After I started working in the field of diversity and inclusion, I soon realized that to tackle diversity-related issues, one had to get over the discomfort of not conforming and truly celebrate differences starting from oneself.

That’s why it’s illuminating to read “Insights from a Reluctant Leader” by Google’s UX Director Margaret Lee. Her observation of a “code-switching” behaviour is particularly accurate:

“Those who are underrepresented in the workplace may feel the unspoken need to adjust in order to fit into the culture of that workplace….If we’re in the majority culture, we may not be aware of the extent to which this happens. If we’re underrepresented in the workplace, we likely have an idea of code-switching in the workplace as a way to be palatable and relatable to the majority culture.” (Lee, 2019)

As a member of the “majority culture” (note that culture here doesn’t have to be ethnicity-based but based on work experience, gender, ability/disability, etc.), it is also uncomfortable to change and accommodate those who are underrepresented. To be truly committed to diversity and inclusion, it requires a lot of effort, definitely more than just learning about diversity through taking a seminar about unconscious bias or going to a lecture on inclusive languages. It requires a change of behaviours from both sides.

Why is this important for fundraisers? Just like the shadow of racism may creep up at kids’ lunchtime politics, I feel that many fundraisers are still unaware of hidden issues in our comfortable highly diverse society. If we don’t make an effort to change, they will be detrimental to our business in donor relationship building and engaging people with our causes.

Quote on societal change

Underlying Societal Change and Donor Demographics

Our society is changing at a faster pace than ever due to the innovation of technology. The rise of social media is instrumental in dismantling an authoritative narrative that’s mainly “white male-centric” and gives a voice to oppressed groups that were unheard before. The #metoo movement is one example. We also wonder if the new generations growing up with the internet and social media are less patient and more extreme. In “Welcome to Cultural War 2.0: The Great Re-alignment”, American philosopher Peter Boghossian pointed out that the rule of engagement related to how we deal with disagreement has changed post-2015 from orderly debate to the view that “Speech is violence” (Boghossian, 2019).  Instead of debating, people would demand the speaker to be fired or even arrested.

This underlying societal change does two things: one, it underlines the importance of diversifying narratives; two, it unmasks groups of diverse donors who now want to be heard and treated differently.

I have often heard non-profits say that we need to provide a business case and evidence of diversifying donor demographics for investing in diversity and inclusion. At the recent Fundraising Intelligence Conference, I learned that donor mindsets on ethnic diversity had increased 45% over the past year in the UK. In the article “Eight Myths of American Philanthropy”, researchers at the Lily Family School of Philanthropy found that donors were already diverse, we just chose to not see them as such. According to the Urban Institute, African American donors are not “new and emergent” as most literature on philanthropy labels them, they have in fact contributed the largest proportion of their wealth to charity. The article went on to argue:

“The only ‘new and emerging’ phenomenon is the recent interest of mainstream non-profit organizations in donors of color. But if non-profits are serious about cultivating diverse communities, they must commit across their organizations to diversity and inclusion as well as dedicate time, resources, and attention to identify, solicit, and steward black donors on their own terms. It is essential to relate to these donors as individuals within the broader historical and cultural contexts that have and continue to shape their giving.”

(Lily Family School of Philanthropy, 2019)

In my own experience, the same holds true for the Asian Canadian community in Canada. Asian Canadians have been giving to international charities who had made an effort in investing in fundraisers who came from or understand the cultural customs and practices of various Asian communities. Mainstream charities on the other hand still have a long way to go in engaging them in a meaningful way. While I share my experience with the Asian Canadian community, I know this issue is not solely in Canada. My work at Global Philanthropic has been helping organizations connect with Asian philanthropists especially as philanthropy in Asia grows.

White Professionalism

Aysa Gray’s article “The Bias of ‘Professionalism’ Standards” is ranked as one of the ten most popular articles in 2019 by Stanford Social Innovation Review. The author argued:

“Professionalism has become coded language for white favoritism in workplace practices that more than often than not privileged the values of white and Western employees and leave behind people of colors.”

(Gray, 2019)

In my own experience, there is often a very subtle pressure and indeed, like Margaret Lee called it, “unspoken need”, to adjust to an institutionalized way to dress, speak, communicate, and demonstrate certain work styles. Even employees with names that don’t appear to be Western would have less opportunity to advance in their careers. The article states: “In Canada, people with Indian, Pakistani, and Chinese names were 28 percent less likely to get called for an interview than their white counterparts.”(Gray, 2019)

I still remember being reminded by my Chinese Canadian friend that speaking Chinese in a party or workplace, even if I am solely addressing another Chinese speaker, is rude. The interesting thing is that many Asian Canadians are more than eager to overemphasize professionalism as a way of fitting in or code-switching. The same would go for women criticizing other women for being less domestic or dressing inappropriately.

The “fit” is another getaway for hiring people similar to each other. According to the Insight Report from the #solveathon survey and session at AFP Calgary’s Banff Compass conference, some respondents believed that the lack of diversity is a “false problem”. One respondent’s reply to the survey was:

“We only appoint the most qualified individuals to positions in our organization, whether to staff or to the board of directors. We only make decisions based on skill set and fit.”

(Women’s Work Institute & AFP Calgary Chapter, 2019)

These subtle barriers by institutionalized systemic discrimination are more dangerous than overt racism and are the main factors that drive diversity out of the workplace.

Check-box Diversity

Is your organization, out of very good intentions, putting more emphasis on checking boxes than meaningful ways to instigate change? I get that these micro-level measures are a good start that ensures certain things are done (that we talked about diversity, have a definition, learn different cultural practices, etc.). However, the biggest danger of check-box diversity is that it gives people a false sense of completion, meaning once the boxes were checked, we are done. It also promotes tokenism. Many of us working in this field have a strong feeling that our other colleagues or fellow board volunteers think diversity is our job and our job only.

Check-box diversity is a very shallow way of understanding the issues related to diversity and inclusion. Instead of making a systemic change to shift power dynamics in the workplace, it camouflages the real issues and makes things worse.

Now What?

After arriving in North America about two decades ago, I met many Canadian-born Chinese who struggled with fitting in. While I feel comfortable identifying with Chinese culture more, second-generation Chinese immigrants (those born in your country) also have the burden of dual identities and finding themselves not quite fitting in at either place.

Just recently, in one episode of the Netflix series “Ugly Delicious”, the founder of the famed restaurant Momofuku, David Chang, sat around a dining table with other Korean-Americans and Chinese-Americans and talked about bias towards Asian food in America and how he just wanted to be white growing up.

I really don’t want my son to experience and feel this same way. I want him to know that no matter who he is, he will have equal opportunity in a society that embraces everyone for their own authentic self. I want to teach him to be brave to be different and stop “fitting in”.

Margaret Lee quote on acceptance

It’s exciting to see that, stemmed from the democratization of media by technological innovation, globalization, and other societal factors, the diversity and inclusion movement is becoming a major disruptive force in dismantling a system that’s based on the world views and values of white males. This momentum allows “reluctant” leaders like Margaret Lee to speak up. One of her pieces of advice that I found very practical and doable is to look for “cultural add” — someone who can complement existing culture, when hiring, instead of “cultural fit”.

It is also important to be aware that to be truly committed to diversity and inclusion, it is not going to be comfortable. Professionalism and check-box diversity are comfortable places to justify behaviours of discrimination even though sometimes we don’t mean to. What we are essentially doing is not to identify and learn traits of various diverse communities as they are superficial. What we are essentially doing is overthrowing a system that privileges white males. It takes courage to challenge the establishment starting by changing our own behaviour and calling ourselves out to embrace differences. Donors are already changing. For fundraisers, investing in diversity and inclusion means to change the established fundraising system that caters largely to white male donors and apply more adaptive and empathy-based practices to engage ever diversifying donor communities.

As we look ahead, “we can start with the awareness that inclusion means acceptance of people’s authentic selves. Who we are as a result of our culture, upbringing, and personal choices should be acceptable, even if unrelatable, to others.” (Lee, 2019)


This blog was originally produced and published by ViTreo Group Inc. as part of the Provocateur Blog Series edited by Andrea McManus.

Some updates have been added for a more global audience.

You can find the original post here – https://www.vitreogroup.ca/the-provocateur-blog/diversity-inclusion-doing-it-right


To read more on those referenced in this blog:


Will The Ongoing Global Pandemic Usher In A New Era Of Corporate Philanthropy?

January 13, 2021

EMEA, North America & International

By Iain Rawlinson, Chair of Global Philanthropic and Ben Morton Wright, Founder & Group CEO of Global Philanthropic

Corporate Philanthropy quote

A corporate philanthropic approach goes far beyond mere ESG compliance, and neither is it a reworked version of old-style CSR. It is a new approach, intended to address the deep social inequalities which were present before, but have been widened by, the pandemic.”

A Period Of Extraordinary Change And Response

We are in a period of extraordinary change, accelerated by COVID-19. The pandemic is resetting much of our global society, including the way businesses operate across the world. We have also witnessed a recalibration of our awareness of environmental and human interdependence, and of our own vulnerability. Recognition of these trends at both a logical and an emotional level is driving much of the transformative response from individuals, trusts and corporates to the challenges thrown up by COVID-19.

Is The Pandemic Changing The Relationship Between The Corporate World And Society?

There is a general recognition that the pandemic has strengthened the argument for corporates to engage with issues of concern to society, whether they be social or environmental concerns. Seven in ten US corporate funders surveyed by the Charities Aid Foundation of America had increased their charitable contributions in 2020. We have also seen revolutionary approaches to giving from major foundations who are issuing social bonds for the first time to fast-track their response to the crisis. As reported in the Financial Times, the US$13bn Ford Foundation, founded by carmakers Edsel and Henry Ford in 1936, has appointed Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo to raise US$1bn in 30 and 50-year social bonds. A McKinsey report notes that it is “not only the scale of capital being committed by major philanthropists (at least US$10.3 billion globally in May 2020, according to Candid, which is tracking major grants) but also how it is being given: at record speed, with fewer conditions, and in greater collaboration with others.”

The immediate response to COVID-19 has seen some businesses more active in the charitable space – in the UK for example, we have witnessed the hospitality industry responding to Marcus Rashford’s campaign with free meals for school children during the autumn half term period. Even this week a new initiative has been launched in the UK by HRH Prince Charles to sign corporates up to support his “Terra Carta” – a charter to promote sustainability which has been launched to a receptive audience whose positive response has been sharpened by the deepening sense of obligation brought on by the pandemic. There are similar responses elsewhere around the world.

Many companies already engaging their businesses through Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) programmes have in recent years extended these activities through making their impact measurable through Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (“ESG”) strategies, which further integrates socially responsible and sustainable practices into the fabric of the organisation.

However, it is easier for corporates to engage in environmentally responsible activity as this is directly under their control, and the methodology to define targets and measure performance is already well developed, with a large measure of global consensus. However, the systemic problems of society, many of which revolve around the different currencies of inequality – money, health, voice and security – are more complex and difficult to solve, and have few broadly accepted targets and performance measurements.

So we believe that approaching social problems through a philanthropic lens can be a useful way for corporates to ensure their intentions and resources are well directed, allowing them to explore how they might do things in a new way, and at a scale they haven’t before, and in a way that responds directly to the increased pressures on society brought about by the pandemic.

Thinking Philanthropically About Corporate Social Engagement

“Corporates are increasingly seeing that they need to act in solidarity with society as a single ecosystem,” explains Iain Rawlinson. “In the same way that protecting the environment has become better understood as a cause with which corporates have an indissoluble relationship addressed through sustainability commitments, many corporates are also now seeing their own future as indissoluble from the social ecosystems in which they operate. The interdependence that the pandemic has shown to be a core part of the human condition, needs now to form a core part of organisational purpose, and it is in businesses’ interests to invest long-term in things which are part of this integral connectivity. Businesses can only thrive in a healthy environment, in a connected and resilient society, and with governance functioning well – which are the foundations of the movement towards ESG.”

With ongoing restrictions on businesses and people, and with many corporates facing a bleak outlook for the next year, it may seem an unlikely moment for corporates to turn their energy towards philanthropy. Indeed, with many corporates needing simply to focus on survival, there is not universal scope to take action, as in some cases businesses’ own sustainability needs to be prioritised – and in some cases urgently.

But for those corporates which have the capacity, as Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock observes, to prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.” So this is the moment for corporates to consider their purpose – and we believe it is constructive for corporates to re-examine and deepen their engagement with the health of the society on which they depend with a philanthropic mindset.

Corporate Philanthropy Is Wider Than ESG Compliance, But Provides Answers To It

A corporate philanthropic approach goes far beyond mere ESG compliance, and neither is it a reworked version of old-style CSR. It is a new approach, intended to address the deep social inequalities which were present before, but have been widened by, the pandemic.

Thinking in a “philanthropic” way has a number of advantages:

  1. The philanthropic sector has an established track record of innovative and effective interventions in the systemic problems of society, which can provide useful parallels for the corporate sector when decisions are being made about social engagement strategy and what resources may be provided by the corporate – money, time, information, skills and people – and how the activity should be planned, governed, measured and reported.
  2. Thinking “philanthropically” enables a more strategic and long-term engagement with underlying societal problems than thinking “charitably” (which tends to be the act of giving for immediate relief) – and so enables businesses to play a more strategic role in contributing to the welfare of society.
  3. It allows the corporate, through its Board, the freedom to express itself according to its conscience and its values, and takes the discussion beyond a focus merely on “compliance”, and for example, ESG, where a business could be tempted towards acting only with a view to achieving high scores.

At a time when Boards and Senior Leadership Teams have difficulty carving out additional space in what are recognised as already crowded agendas, corporate philanthropy provides a possible approach to guide their approach to engagement with society – and this can be balanced by a deepening awareness that there are tangible advantages of taking action.

Corporate Philanthropy Has Business And Competitive Value

Iain Rawlinson explains, “A well-defined engagement by companies with corporate philanthropy as a route to engaging with society is an exciting opportunity for organisations to add to how they define themselves, including their purpose, values and emotional engagement with people. By engaging philanthropically with stakeholders and communities, corporates also support their own business interests which then extend beyond commercial results to include social outcomes. This then becomes a valuable component of a business’s strategic and competitive position – strengthening its investment case, and also helping to attract the next generation of talent which has a heightened and critical interest.”

“The potential for philanthropy to become part of the DNA of the business is significant – where the applicable currencies are much wider than financial contribution – it’s about shaping a strategic approach to the deployment of money, time, information, skills and people to achieve outcomes – which are the core competencies of the corporate world. Why should these not be applied to building capacity, shaping the context and building solutions around social issues? In this way building economic value truly serves society, rather than the other way round, which tends to be the present outcome.”

Understood in these terms, corporate philanthropy broadens the scope for active participation in, and creates diverse opportunities for, meaningful engagement with society.

A Key Moment In Promoting A Sustainable Society

“This is the moment for Boards to develop corporate philanthropy into a core element of business strategy,” adds Ben Morton Wright. “Why now? With the pandemic dramatically widening existing inequalities, the huge funding gap to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – 17 interlinked goals to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030 – has just got even bigger, whilst the overall resource available has decreased. A transformative approach to philanthropy across corporates, individuals and governments is needed to deliver the SDGs.”

“We have all been deeply affected by this pandemic – individuals, organisations, charities and governments – and our recovery from this crisis depends on us acting together in solidarity. Corporate philanthropy offers the opportunity for a broader and more meaningful value for a wider group of stakeholders, whilst still meeting the needs of shareholders. The pandemic has catalysed a paradigm shift for corporate engagement with society – and corporates now need to commit even further and more deeply to engage with stakeholders and communities across a wide range of societal issues.”

We believe there is a bond to be made between the corporate’s ability to organise and deliver on target outcomes, and the historic expertise and track record of the philanthropic sector in engaging with systemic social problems. Corporate philanthropy in this sense is not a contradiction that might be supposed. The pandemic has become a catalyst to break open a deeper examination of this potential alliance, for the benefit of society as a whole.


If you would like to learn more about Corporate Philanthropy and how the team at Global Philanthropic can help you build a corporate philanthropy strategy which aligns with your business goals, contact us at [email protected].

We will be discussing Corporate Philanthropy at Talking Philanthropy: Asia-Pacific – Supporting a Philanthropic Ecosystem, on May 14th 2021. Learn more at globalphilanthropic.com/talking-philanthropy and join the discussion.


Iain Rawlinson

Global Welcomes Iain Rawlinson as Director and new Chair

December 15, 2020

EMEA, North America & International

Iain Rawlinson quote

Global Philanthropic warmly welcomes Iain Rawlinson as Director of the Board and the new Chair of the Global Philanthropic Group, starting in January 2021. Iain is an experienced Board Member & Chair, charity trustee and strategy adviser. He brings a wealth of expertise to help Global Philanthropic meet our 2021 goals and help us serve our clients better.

As we enter 2021, and against the background of the challenging global environment, we are excited about this appointment as Iain will bring longstanding experience in the philanthropic sector to the work of the Group, including the launch of our first in person and virtual Talking Philanthropy to be held in Singapore, and the development of our corporate philanthropy strategy as part of our giving service offerings. 2021 will no doubt be a busy year for Global Philanthropic and our clients.

Iain Rawlinson said, “I have believed in Global Philanthropic’s work since it was founded, and have followed its development closely. In the world of today it has an important role to play in promoting and supporting philanthropic activity around the world – including bringing people together and promoting change – and it has built a talented team of practitioners in the sector as well as many longstanding relationships. With the expected increase in importance of philanthropy in the post pandemic environment, the Talking Philanthropy forum in 2021 will take place at a pivotal time, connecting philanthropists and fundraisers in a global conversation aimed at facilitating effectiveness and innovation, and bringing about positive change. I am delighted to be re-joining the Board at this critical time, and wish to acknowledge the significant contribution made by my predecessors in this role.”

Iain brings experience from both the corporate and non-profit sectors, with a banking and business background and being a Founder Partner in Vico Partners, a senior level advisory firm focused on strategy and communications working closely with Boards and business leaders. His philanthropic activities started in 1991 as a founding member of the London International Piano competition. Since then he has held charitable board appointments, including as Chair of Tusk, the African conservation charity from 2004 to 2013, as Deputy Chairman of Global Philanthropic from 2007 to 2014, and currently as Chair of Governors at Walhampton School. From 2016 to 2019 he volunteered with the Centre for Social Innovation at the Cambridge Judge Business School and from 2017 to 2020 he was a NED at the Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Trust.

“I am thrilled that Iain has agreed to join the Board again and take up the Chair. Iain has been a long-time believer and supporter of Global from day one and was the first person to advise me on how to set up the Group some 18 years ago. He served on the Board for many years; it is therefore wonderful to welcome him back in the leadership role as our new Chair.

We have some really big developments in the year ahead; our clients are embracing many challenging situations due to the pandemic, we are delivering the Talking Philanthropy event in May and also developing and launching a new offer for firms on corporate philanthropy. Iain will be a leading voice in many of these new developments so it will be a very exciting time for the Global Philanthropic Group.” said Ben Morton Wright, President & Group CEO.

Learn more about Iain Rawlinson


Hong Kong skyline

A New Chapter For Asian Philanthropy

December 11, 2020

EMEA, North America & International

Talking Philanthropy 2021 Asia-Pacific banner

The roles governments, NGOs, philanthropists and the charity sector play in nurturing a philanthropy ecosystem across the Asia-Pacific region will drive the conversation at the fourth annual Talking Philanthropy forum hosted by the international fundraising advisory firm Global Philanthropic.

Global Philanthropic has convened some the world’s leading philanthropic organisations and academic institutions for “Asia-Pacific: Supporting a Philanthropy Ecosystem” which will be live-streamed from Singapore and Cambridge, UK on 14th May 2021.

Among the co-hosts and partners are the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at Cambridge Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge together with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United Nations Foundation, and the conservation charity, BirdLife International.  BILLIONAIRE Magazine is the media partner.

Philanthropy, business and NGO leaders and experts from Asia-Pacific and around the world will discuss wealth distribution across health, education and environment, and the dramatic growth of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI).

Ben speaking at an event

Ben Morton Wright, Group CEO and Founder of Global Philanthropic, said:

“Philanthropy in Asia is at a critical tipping point. Governments of emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific are crucial to unlocking the philanthropic potential in the region, making them the target focus for world leaders in philanthropy.

“The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the remarkable response by philanthropists in Asia and across the world has placed philanthropy on the global stage.

Talking Philanthropy 2021 will be a game-changer to help us all address the – world’s greatest inequalities during these challenging times.”

Danny Quah, Dean and Li Ka Shing Professor in Economic, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said:

“In Asia the time is now ripe for studying and putting in place the promising, productive mix of philanthropy and public policy. The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy is, therefore, co-hosting Talking Philanthropy at an event that we hope begins many discussions on the appropriate engagement between public policy and philanthropy as Asia moves forwards on its journey of growth and development.”

Danny Quah profile photo
Claire Woodcraft

Clare Woodcraft, Executive Director for the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, Cambridge Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, a research centre focused on philanthropy in emerging markets, said:

“Philanthropic capital from Asian markets is growing rapidly and can potentially play a hugely important role in delivering on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in these markets and beyond. And yet too often, we fail to share which philanthropic practices best create maximum impact and how ecosystem actors can work together for system change. Talking Philanthropy provides an ideal opportunity to address this gap and unite all those interested in tackling some of the world’s most entrenched socio-economic problems a chance to drive collaboration, learn from the mistakes of the past and improve the outcomes of philanthropic investments.”

Jennifer Alcorn, Deputy Director of Philanthropic Partnerships, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said:
“With so much still to be done across the world to solve issues of inequality in health, environment and education, philanthropy in Asia has a central role to play. We are excited to be supporting the fourth Talking Philanthropy, convened by Global Philanthropic and hosted in Singapore by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, discussing the development of Asian Philanthropy.

There is a long history of giving and philanthropy in Asia-Pacific which has become re-energised as the economy has grown. Today, philanthropy within the region is at a tipping point. We believe Talking Philanthropy will have a significant, constructive impact on how philanthropy in Asia-Pacific continues to grow and develop.”

Jennifer Alcorn
Elizabeth Cousens

Elizabeth Cousens, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Nations Foundation, said:

“The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund organised by the United Nations Foundation was a demonstration of phenomenal spontaneous support across the world to meet the challenges of the pandemic. At Talking Philanthropy, we want to share what we have learned and discuss how we can build more international partnerships in the future.

“The UN Foundation was founded over 20 years ago by Ted Turner from with his remarkable $1 billion gift and commitment to fulfilling the United Nations mandate. Talking Philanthropy is an opportunity to hear from Asian philanthropists and explore the role of philanthropy in Asia in solving these challenges and achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Patricia Zurita, CEO, BirdLife International, said:

“The devastating outbreak of the coronavirus, directly linked to our increasingly serious encroachment on nature’s last remaining wild spaces, shows us as well the profound economic and social costs of ignoring the planet’s twin crises of biodiversity and climate change. Saving earth is an urgent all-hands-on-deck project for governments, citizens and the private sector. Conservation NGO’s like BirdLife are often the tip of the spear in effective and immediate responses and the vision of philanthropists in funding that work is critical., At Talking Philanthropy we will be questioning and considering how our environmental challenges can be more rapidly solved through targeted and strategic giving.”

Patricia Zurita

At Talking Philanthropy 2021 Global Philanthropic will be announcing the winners of next year’s Philanthropy Awards. We will be accepting nominations in two categories, Lifetime Contribution to Philanthropy Award and the Outstanding Young Leader in Philanthropy Award. Nominations will open on the 10th January 2021.

To learn more and to register your interest, please visit www.globalphilanthropic.com/talking-philanthropy/


Man stacking cubs with symbols on them

The benefits of benchmarking

When you and your organisation are setting goals for your new fundraising endeavours—be it for your start-up fundraising operation, your augmented major or principal giving programme, or launching in a new country or region—you will have many questions, one of which will be, ‘What are our peers doing?’ 

Independent consultants can often answer these answers anecdotally (on a confidential basis), by sharing their experience of working with similar organisations. But there are opportunities to go much deeper, with the gathering of targeted evidence through a benchmarking study.

This might include both quantitative and qualitative information, such as the amount of philanthropic revenue raised annually, number of staff, the history of how resourcing evolved over time, challenges and successes, etc. And it can be applied by the sector and region most relevant to your organisation but also internationally.

Here are five powerful reasons your organisation might benefit from one:

   1. A chance to think even bigger

Developing a list of organisations to benchmark against is a great way to identify not only the obvious peers but also aspirational ones. To whom does the organisation want to be compared in five or 10 years? Commissioning a benchmarking study invigorates this sort of visionary thinking and will also lead to identifying some of the elements it will take to fulfil this vision.

   2. Getting an extra edge

In thinking about your peer organisations, you might have assumed you were on par. A study conducted by an independent party may reveal areas where you are not, and how you may be losing out when competing with other organisations for the same donors. Again, benchmarking will provide an opportunity to more precisely identify where you can strengthen your practice and stand out.

   3. Myth busting and managing expectations

Many perceptions of fundraising success are based on myths or elusive ‘magic bullets’. As professional fundraisers, we know that it is in fact critical elements like practical discipline, enough qualified staff, and the participation of organisational leadership that enhance major giving and long-term fundraising success, but sometimes it’s hard to communicate this to those who manage our budgets. You can use evidence gathered from a benchmarking study for your board or executive leadership to set realistic expectations and get their buy-in to build more robust philanthropic relationships for your organisation.

   4. Profiting from lessons already learned

Why stumble over the same hurdles? One educational organisation in Austria shared that making the case for support around filling a funding gap left by government funding cuts was not compelling. Donors didn’t want to hear more. But when the case became more about the value of supporting education in general or specific projects, they were able to have more conversations with prospects that led to their highest gifts. Our client gained valuable insights and saved precious time by not making the same mistakes.

   5. More than just fundraising

Benchmarking can be used to better understand many different facets of your fundraising operation, for continuous improvement and enhancement that ultimately leads to revenue growth—for example, your stewardship programme. Following their own such studies, several of our North American clients were better able to calibrate their donors’ expectations, and built a stronger, more loyal donor base.

Benchmarking can easily be scaled to budget, by focusing on the most immediately useful parameters, the most important information to be gathered, and the number of organisations to be included. The end result: valuable, objective information that supports your organisation to make informed decisions, set qualified goals, and create realistic milestones in your strategic planning.

Read more about the results achieved from a benchmarking study for the Canberra Hospital Foundation (Australia).

Jane Joo Park is a doctoral researcher at the WHU–Otto Beisheim School of Management and formerly a Senior Consultant and Vice-President (Europe) for Global Philanthropic.