How South Africa’s super-rich make their money – and give it away

A new report published by financial services company, Nedbank, shows that South Africa’s wealthy gave away R7 billion in cash, goods and services to charities in 2015.

The Giving Report interrogated the philanthropic patterns and behaviour of more than 400 high-net-worth (HNV) individuals in South Africa who earn at least R1.5 million a year or own investable assets of more than R5 million excluding their primary residence.

Men made up two thirds of the sample, while the age profile of the sample was also similar to a survey conducted in 2012.

Most respondents (60%) were between 40 and 60 years of age, 23% were younger than 40 and 17% older than 60.

Read: How South Africa’s richest people make their money

Nedbank estimated that the total population of high net worth individuals in South Africa was approximately 105,000 in 2015.

Based on the giving behaviour of the sample, it is estimated that they donated roughly R4.2 billion in cash, R2.8 billion in goods and services, and 3.6 million hours of their time last year.

Respondents mostly cited professional success as the source of their net worth, followed by family-owned businesses or startup companies. More than two thirds were business owners or self-employed.

The main source of majority of net worth:

2012 2015
Earnings from profession or career
54% 48%
Family-owned business or startup company
29% 32%
Inheritance   7%   8%
Growth in investment assets
  7%   6%
Spouse’s or partner’s earnings from profession or career
    –   4%
 other     3%    2%

The report found that giving to social causes remained a priority among South Africa’s wealthy individuals. In 2015 a total of 88% respondents gave money, goods and/or time during the year.

Value of cash given:

2012 2015
Less than R25 000
68% 68%
R25 000 – R50 000
12% 14%
R50 000 – R75 000   9%   5%
R75 000 – R100 000
  4%   5%
R100 000 – R250 000
   5%   5%
More than R250 000    2%    3%

Nearly four in five respondents gave goods, products or services in 2015.  For half of these givers, contributions totalled less than R10 000, while 7%  contributed more than R100,000.

The most common form of non-cash donation was giving essential items to a npo (56%), followed by donating similar items directly to an individual (43%). other common types of non-cash contributions included giving pro bono professional services and fundraising assistance.

The proportion of givers who reported volunteering increased to 53% (2012: 47%). nearly a quarter of those volunteering gave more than 100 hours per year, an equivalent of roughly two hours per week.

Motivation for giving

More than one third of the giving sample cited the desire to give back to the community and their religious beliefs as drivers of their giving.

Reason for giving 2012 2015
Care about the cause 60% 68%
Want to make a difference
52% 56%
Want to give something back to my community
42%  40%
Religious beliefs 37%  34%
Want to set an example for my family/children
13%  16%
Family tradition 13%  15%
Want to contribute to organisation(s) i am involved in
13%  14%
To remedy issues affecting me or someone close to me
10%  10%
Asked by a friend/family member/business associate
  5%   9%
Asked by a non-profit organisation   0%   8%
Ideological beliefs   6%   7%

Roughly two thirds of givers supported npos. This increased from 2012, accounting for more than one third of total funding in 2015. unrelated individuals surpassed religious institutions as the second most common beneficiary.

A quarter of givers made contributions to their extended families, who received an average of 7% of all funding. The proportion of givers supporting advocacy groups grew in 2015, albeit from a very small base (from less than 1% in 2012 to 3% in 2015).

They continued to receive a negligible amount of the overall high net worth funding.

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How South Africa’s super-rich make their money – and give it away