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From philanthropy to fundraising: How high-net-worth individuals are giving back in 2021 – and how you can, too

By LLM Reporters  |  August 16, 2021
Image Credit: Haritonoff/

When you have a healthy bank balance, an impressive investment portfolio and a sizable fortune to your name, it stands to reason that your mind might begin to turn to thoughts of philanthropy – and ways to give something back to the world around you and the people within it. For many, the ability to be able to support meaningful causes is the driving force behind their financial success in the first place, and an increasing number of high-net-worth individuals have been dishing out their wealth, reaching a new peak over the past 18 months in the wake of the ongoing global pandemic.

According to research released this year by the Centre for Disaster Philanthropy, the ultra-wealthy collectively donated an eye-watering $5.8 billion globally as a direct response to the onset of Covid-19 in March 2020, accounting for more than 27 percent of all pandemic-related philanthropy. Ultra-high-net-worth individuals – those with a net worth of over $30 million – are estimated to have given around $2 million each on average, both towards funding of the global response and vaccine development, and to social justice-related causes.

But perhaps the most generous of them all were Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos, American billionaire Mackenzie Scott, and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, each of whom made philanthropic donations of over $1 billion, with Scott’s funding going towards Covid-related causes affecting BIPOC communities specifically. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – founded by Microsoft bigwig Bill Gates – also gave over $1 billion.

If all of this generosity is inspiring you to give something back this year, too – whether to pandemic-related causes, or otherwise – then there are plenty of amazing ways to do your bit, and it doesn’t always have to mean parting with your entire fortune. Here, we take a look at three of the easiest ways to make a positive impact on people and the planet this year, and you can get started with any one of them today.


online donation

Funding the causes that are dear to you doesn’t have to come entirely from your own bank balance, and with many high-net and ultra-high-net-worth individuals more than happy to open their wallets to help, fundraising within your inner circle could increase the total donation multiple times over.

Over the past decades, virtual fundraising has come into its own, and gone are the days when the only way to collect donations was going from door to door or pestering friends and family at social events. These days, it couldn’t be easier to set up an online donations page with the likes of Just Giving or Crowdfunder and share it digitally with your connections around the world, making for a quick and efficient way to amass more funding than ever before for the causes that matter to you the most.

Text-to-give and email fundraising campaigns can also work well if you have the know-how. And if you’re feeling extra flush, then you could even work with a professional app developer to create a mobile fundraising app.



Volunteering your time to a cause is often just as appreciated as a financial donation would be. Many charities and community organisations simply don’t have the man-power to get the jobs they need done, so the more people offering an extra pair of hands, the better. And, if you have particular expertise in an area related to their mission, then you could prove to be instrumental in an initiative’s success.

Of course, you don’t have to spend your time working with an existing organisation to make a difference – there are plenty of small things you can do yourself, too. Just an hour or two a week delivering food to the homeless or visiting the elderly in your area can make all the difference, and in the latter case, tends to be far more valuable than a financial donation ever could be.



Your financial and professional success in life is an inspiration for many, and places you in a good position to provide mentorship and guidance to those who are looking to make their way in the world and are interested in following a similar path.

Secondary school pupils and university students, as well as new graduates, may be looking for guidance in their careers, business and investment endeavours, and receiving advice from someone who has walked the very same path to glory could provide invaluable to them, so take the time to think about what you might be able to offer a young person in terms of knowledge, expertise, and perhaps some financial support to boot.