We are delighted to see this week’s launch of a new advisory service in the US for high net worth donors (with more than $1m of philanthropic assets) – Tactical Philanthropy Advisors.

What particularly interests us is their tie up with some of the leading providers of donor-advised funds – Schwab, Fidelity and others to “provide robust, institutional quality back office, administrative services to clients.”

NPC has been examining the market for philanthropy advice in the UK, in a report to be published later this year, where we feel that rhetoric often exceeds reality in terms of the quality and quantity of philanthropy advice offered to clients by private client advisors. During this research, we were astounded to discover the size of donor-advised funds in the US (approaching $28bn of assets in 2007), with evidence that more families are switching their giving from private foundations to these more cost-effective donor-advised funds.

And yet in the UK, there is no similar model – the only types of donor-advised funds are either CAF accounts or run by community foundations, rather than those offered by financial services institutions where giving can be incorporated into the overall wealth management of a client’s assets.

It strikes us that wealth management firms in the UK might be missing a significant opportunity to offer these funds to donors as a low-cost, hassle free way of giving money away.

If potential donors in the UK were offered a cost-effective way of giving money away, combined with some strategic advice on how to make the most impact with their funds, this might go some way to closing the gap between US and UK giving levels.

As always, we welcome your comments.