According to research carried out by Island Global Research (IGR) published in March 2021, 97% of respondents gave time or money to Jersey charities and 93% believed charities make an important contribution to the Island. IGR estimate that £29 million was donated by individuals in 2020, not bad going for an Island with just over 100,000 inhabitants.
We are also lucky to have many major donors many of whom have made their homes in Jersey and wanted to play their part in our community. This is not new. There are examples of philanthropy from the 1800s, with the generosity of those donors still evident and providing benefit to the Island today. These days donors may be more sophisticated and prefer more low profile giving but there is no doubt they are doing good in their Island home and elsewhere too.
Although Jersey is fortunate to have so many very generous people, I have a theory that the small size of the Island – and therefore the lack of long commutes – means that more people have more time to volunteer. Indeed, according to IGR almost half of the respondents volunteered time for charities in 2020. Hopefully this will be an ongoing side benefit of more people working from home in places beyond Jersey, as citizens everywhere will have more time for doing good and what they save on commuting will mean they have more money to do good with. Truly building back better.
Businesses also very much play their part in doing good work, from innovative corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes and sponsorship, to encouraging their people to act as governors for charities where appropriate. This is an area with more potential, allowing local charities to benefit from the incredible level of expertise in Jersey and, in my view, it is not just one way. I think there is much to be gained in terms of professional development by working for a charity, even if it is only in your spare time.
Charities in Jersey range from small charities like Meals on Wheels providing an important local service, to large ones (by Jersey standards) like the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, which is working globally to preserve bio diversity. We have charities to support the sick and elderly, encourage education, culture and sport, fund art and of course – more important than ever now – help protect our environment. The diversity of charities doing good in Jersey, from the large to the small, is simply inspirational and I dread to think what this Island would be like without them.
CHARITIES (JERSEY) LAW
In 2014 the Charities (Jersey) Law was approved and became effective on 1st May 2018. Within just three years, over 400 charities have been registered by John Mills CBE the appointed Jersey Charity Commissioner. At the end of 2020 the assets of the registered charities totalled around £600 million and in 2020 charities spent around £125 million, of which £90 million was spent in the Island. The Commissioner has worked hard to keep regulation proportionate and economic, (especially important given that the median charity had annual expenditure of just £37,000) without compromising on the importance of quality and reputation of both the sector and Jersey itself. A difficult balance but Commissioner Mills seems to have found it.
Jersey’s finance industry was established over 60 years ago and over this time has developed long standing and deep expertise in the establishment of structures which are suitable not just for wealth management but also for charitable, environmental and social impact purposes. It guards its reputation as a world leading and well regulated international finance centre with great care. Accordingly, Jersey is ideally placed to support philanthropists with:
- High levels of service and expertise
- A stable economic and political jurisdiction
- Proximity and connectivity to the UK and Europe
- High standards of regulation, both in financial services and
for charities specifically
- A range of suitable structures to support public or private
- Tax neutrality
ASSOCIATION OF JERSEY CHARITIES
The Association of Jersey Charities (AJC) (a registered charity itself) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year but it has members that are much older. The Jersey Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals was established in 1868 and Eyecan (formerly the Jersey Blind Society) was established in 1886. We have over 250 members and as well as distributing grants on behalf of others, we organise training, provide advocacy and assist charities in working together whenever possible. To celebrate our 50th anniversary we are very proud to be working with Jersey Finance to recognise and celebrate excellence in the charitable sector of Jersey.
To conclude, with our long tradition of charitable activity, a modern and robust charities law, real depth of experience and expertise – plus all the other benefits of a world leading financial centre – Jersey is ideally placed as a base for philanthropy, be it local or global.