This paper does not aim to advocate for or against spending out but instead attempts to shed light on it as an option, gleaning lessons from those that have undertaken it whose experiences may prove helpful to donors and trusts considering or implementing a plan to spend out. Because most charitable trusts close without leaving a public record, up until now it has been very difficult to know what specific circumstances lead some trusts and foundations to opt for spending out in this country.
This paper seeks to broaden our wider understanding of spending out in the UK by examining trusts and foundations that are currently in the process of depleting their endowment and examining those factors leading to their decision to terminate. We believe that finding the right model for grantmaking is an essential choice in philanthropy, with important implications for the impact and effectiveness of the work charitable trusts and foundations do. Spending out is not right for everyone, but we do believe that a conversation about spend out and the pros and cons of differing philanthropic models is a helpful one for every trust or foundation seeking to do its work as strategically and effectively as possible.