Jersey: Successful Philanthropy: Engagement & Rigour

Last Updated: 23 October 2014
Article by Richard Joynt and Ian Slack

Richard Joynt and Ian Slack explain how to make the most out of giving.

We have worked with wealthy families for many years and in this time have been heavily involved with the philanthropic efforts that various members of these families have undertaken. We therefore have first-hand experience of what makes a successful philanthropic project, and in our experience, it is not an easy task to make such efforts fulfil their original mission. We have observed that there are two main factors in creating a successful outcome in any philanthropic project, namely engagement and rigour.


In order to fulfil the aims of the gifts that the family makes available to the worthy cause, there must also be personal engagement for it to be really effective. This means that at least one member of the family, or their most trusted advisers, should undertake the following steps:


Meeting all key stakeholders when establishing the project. No philanthropic project is likely to be successful if it is planned and executed in a vacuum, with only the aims of the donors in mind. There must be true teamwork between the family and the local community who benefit from the planned gifts. In educational projects this is likely to be neighbouring educational institutions, the people in the community from which the organisation will draw its students, and the staff who work in the organisation. Asking people what they need and then working out how best to assist them is always better than starting with a pre-conceived notion.


Getting a full understanding of the local politics and what the community leaders feel really passionate about. Local politics is a fact of life – in any community there will be some with entrenched views and vested interests. A not-for-profit project stands a much higher chance of succeeding if it is supported by those locals who are in a position of power.


Understanding how "wealthy outsiders" are viewed by the local community and creating a plan to deal with this. Wealthy families are not always welcomed; some may suspect that the family are creating philanthropic projects for their own purposes. Gaining a good understanding of how the local community views the external benefactor is very important in managing the response to the efforts of the family. Open face-toface communication where community leaders can ask direct questions of the family or their advisers can often dispel such uneasiness.


Creating "champions" for the benefactors within the organisation: people who will be an honest source of information about how things really work in practice. Such a source of information is invaluable – this person will work on the benefactors' behalf within the organisation to make sure that their colleagues understand why the family have chosen to get involved in a specific worthy cause. This person will also be a critical link in informing the family and their advisers if something is not working in the donor/donee relationship. If the family are unaware that their original mission is being thwarted or that funds are not being applied to the most worthwhile causes, they cannot make the necessary changes.


Spending time in understanding how this particular industry works – even if it is a not-forprofit organisation that the family has invested in, it still has Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that one needs to understand in order to judge success. Too many entrepreneurial families and their advisers approach a not-for-profit project and assume that it is "easier" to deal with than business operations because it is configured not to make a profit. However, one must also remember that it must also not make a loss if it is to be sustainable. Therefore business planning processes must still be in place, and the family should seek to understand the key things that will make or break the project. Regular risk assessments and KPI tracking are now as common in not-for-profit organisations as commercial businesses.


The family needs to treat this philanthropic endeavour in the same way they would treat any investment. Simply because it may be not-for-profit does not mean that they should be any less rigorous when dealing with management. These efforts should include the following:


Ensuring financial staff within the business are suitably qualified. Not only should the family ensure the key finance people are well qualified, but they should ensure these senior people understand that they have a responsibility to report to all stakeholders, not only the head of the organisation. The family should cultivate a good relationship with this person to ensure the lines of communication are open and clear. A well-intentioned underspend on the organisation's finances can bring lower costs in the short-term but poor performance information for key stakeholders in the long-term.


Understand the key financial drivers of the organisation. Having engaged with the philanthropic project or organisation, one must then regularly review financial forecasts in detail to understand whether the endeavour (i) has a long-term future and (ii) is suitably financed.


Attend regular meetings of senior executive and non-executive members of the Board of Trustees or similar. If the family are providing a significant amount of the financial resources that the project or organisation requires, they should not be a silent partner. They should have representation on the body that governs the project and have significant voting rights as to how monies are spent.


Be involved in very senior appointments in the organisation. The most senior person, along with the financial staff, greatly influence the direction of the organisation and so the family should be involved in selecting the individuals who occupy these important positions.


Take the necessary tough steps. If the staffing levels are too high, or there are dysfunctional business relationships within the organisation, this will impair the organisation's ability to meet the aims of the original gift. A philanthropic organisation which is poorly managed or organised is unlikely to be a successful one. Someone needs to make the difficult decisions and carry through with the necessary (but possibly unpopular) actions that are an inevitable consequence.


In attempting to create successful philanthropic outcomes, it is not enough for wealthy families to only have the desire to "give back" to the communities to which they belong to and a worthy project in mind. In order to give the best chance of success, families and their advisers must fully engage and form in-depth understandings of the context and specifics of the projects they have chosen to support. They must then run those projects with the same rigour that they would apply as if they were a family business, and be prepared to make difficult decisions if the project starts to drift away from its original mission.

Originally published in familia magazine.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Ian Slack
In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions