Giving Thought


Understanding and reimagining civil society and how we support it.


Giving Thought is CAF’s think tank. It’s where we consider the key challenges facing civil society globally, explore how and why people and companies give, and test radical new ideas that could shape the future of charity.

We provide insight and stimulate debate that leads to changes in policy and practice which foster healthier civil society around the world. We explore trends in giving and how developments in society and technology will open up new opportunities for doing good. Our work is divided into four key themes:

Giving Matters

Philanthropy, Politics of giving, History of giving, Philosophy of giving, Inequality, Democracy

Read more on giving matters

Civil Society Matters

Independence, Trust, Campaigning, Advocacy, Rights, Governance,

Why does civil society matter?

The Future Of Doing Good

PhilTech, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, Internet of Things, Social Media, Virtual Reality, Social Investment

What is the future of doing good?

How Giving Works

Public policy, Legislation, Regulation, Tax, Giving trends, Data, World Giving Index, Philanthropy infrastructure, Science of giving, Effective giving

Find out How Giving Works


  • Digital thumprint 275px
    21 July 2017

    Knowing Me, Knowing You: Self-sovereign digital identity and the future of charity

    A fundamental shift in the way that online identity works may be coming. What impact could this have for the work of charities and their relationships with their supporters?
    Find out how identity is changing
  • Mayors robes 275px
    17 July 2017

    Can Mayors help to build a culture of civic philanthropy?

    There is a growing focus on the role of elected mayors as drivers of change at a local level. Can they play a key role in developing a culture of civic philanthropy that can strengthen our towns and cities? And how?
    Find out what mayors can do
  • democracy 275px
    12 July 2017

    Philanthropy: anti-democratic and proud of it?

    Philanthropy can sometimes subvert democracy by allowing a small minority to exert disproportionate influence on public policy. But could this actually be one of philanthropy's great strengths?
    See why going against the grain could be a good thing
  • Artifical intelligence (275)
    02 June 2017

    Robotic Alms: Is Artificial Intelligence the future of philanthropy advice?

    Could recent developments in AI technology transform the nature of philanthropy advice and make it far more widely accessible at the same time?
    Find out what future philanthropy might look like
  • cyborg (275 px)
    02 June 2017

    5 ways AI is already having an impact on charity

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a potentially transformative technology. It is yet to reach its potential in the charity world, but is alreay starting to have an impact in a number of ways.
    Find out how AI is having an impact


Public Good by Private Means Book Launch

CAF’s CEO, Dr John Low CBE, introduces Rhodri Davies at the launch of his book, Public Good by Private Means

The Giving Thought Podcast

A bi-weekly exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society

Visit our podcast library

Brave New World 2017

Rhodri Davies talking about the challenges and opportunities facing philanthropy in 2017 and beyond


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Chain Links- The role of mayors in building a culture of philanthropy

In this discussion paper - as part of the "Giving for the City" project- we look at the role that mayors can play in building a culture of civic philanthropy in our towns and cities.
In this discussion paper - as part of the...
Decentralised (128)

Losing the Middle, Keeping the Heart: Blockchain, DAOs & the decentralised future of charity

In this discussion paper we explore the ways in which the decentralising effects of blockchain technology could transform philanthropy and the structure of charitable organisations.
In this discussion paper we explore the ways...

Do As I Say, Not As I Do: UK policy and the global closing space for civil society

In this report we explore recent policy developments affecting advocacy by civil society organisations in the UK, and the effect these may have on the UK's soft power.
In this report we explore recent policy...

Block & Tackle: using blockchain technology to create and regulate civil society organisations

In this paper we ask whether blockchain technology could be used to create charities and other civil society organisations. This could transform how charities operate and the ways in which they are regulated
In this paper we ask whether blockchain...

Donation States: An international comparison of the tax treatment of donations

This report compares the tax treatment of charitable donations in 26 countries around the world. It identifies examples of best practice as well to see how governments can best use tax policy to encourage giving.
This report compares the tax treatment of...


Rhodri Davies

Programme Leader, Giving Thought

Rhodri is Head of our Giving Thought programme. He joined in 2010 and is responsible for formulating and communicating our policy positions on a wide range of topics including philanthropy, tax reliefs for giving, social investment and CSR/CCI.

T: +44 3000 123 221

Adam Pickering

International Policy Manager, Giving Thought

Adam Pickering is responsible for developing our global policy positions and and writes and speaks widely on global trends in philanthropy and non-profit law. Adam is currently leading the Future World Giving project, which seeks to create a policy framework that will help governments seize the potential for rapidly growing middle class populations to engage in philanthropy.

T: +44 3000 123 229


Podcast and Video

Hear the lastest insight and debate from the Giving Thought think-tank

Public Good by Private Means

Our book tells the story of philanthropy through the ages, and examines the relationship between philanthropists, the state and society.

Publications by Giving Thought

Read about Giving Matters, Civil Society Matters, How Giving Works and the Future of Doing Good.