Under the Popham treatise, British giving remains "a peculiarly compulsive activity", undertaken in a "completely disinterested way, to whatever at any particular moment wrings our heartstrings the hardest". Indeed, giving is "one of the last unconscious hangovers from the glorious days of our empire".
But latest figures detailing income to the top 500 charities reveal that 33 per cent of total income comes from that most compulsive, immediate and disinterested of sources - the charitable bequest or legacy.
Who, or what, were the great fundraisers of the British Empire? Not Oxfam, Save the Children, nor the vast majority of public fundraising charities, all of which are a more modern phenomenon.
It is the advent of modern technology, and events like Comic Relief which harness that technology to the fundraising process, that have allowed a broader public the opportunity to support the causes they wish to.
Institute of Charity
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