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Giving Thought


Looking at the evidence to better understand and grow giving.


What makes people give, how do they do it, and what are the tools available to policymakers and others to drive more and better giving?

In order to boost civil society by building stronger cultures of giving around the world, we need to understand how giving works.

Here we explore what makes giving tick by looking at the available evidence. This includes data about global trends in giving, insight from practice and findings from academic study.

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  • 7 August 2015 

    Uneven Foundations

    I attended the launch last week of the Directory of Social Change’s new UK Grant-making Trusts and Foundations report. This attempts, perhaps for the first time, to present a picture of the scale and pattern of funding by grant-making trusts and foundations in the UK.
  • 19 May 2015 

    Is our approach to encouraging charitable giving totally wrong?

    An intriguing op ed in the New York Times this week (“How to get people to pitch in”) argued that traditional approaches to encouraging cooperation and pro-social behaviour by offering monetary rewards or subsidies may be totally wrong-headed, and that harnessing the power of “social incentives” by using peer group effects would be far more effective.
  • 7 January 2015 

    Transparently Wrong: The (many) problems with the CPS report on charity funding

    Yesterday saw the publication of the Centre for Policy Studies new report "Transparency Begins at Home: Why Charities Must State Who Funds Them".
  • 28 May 2013 

    Nudging the nation

    Over recent months the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has been working with the Cabinet Office’s behaviour insights team to investigate the potential impact that the usage of ‘nudge’ theory could have on the charity sector.
  • 27 February 2014 

    Waking from the American dream

    There are significant differences in terms of attitudes to the role of government and towards private wealth between the US and the UK.
  • 27 February 2014 

    Further thoughts on US vs UK giving

    Should we celebrate the activities and achievements of wealthy philanthropists more readily in the UK than we do currently?
  • 13 September 2013 

    Zero-sum giving: Will an incentive for social investment affect charitable donations?

    In amongst a slew of other things that needed doing over the summer, I found time over the last month or so to work with the social investment experts at CAF Venturesome to craft a response to the Government’s consultation on a new social investment tax incentive.


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Place-based giving

We believe the time is now to look again at philanthropy, not only as a route to financial investment, but also as a way of reconnecting people with places and spaces.

Visit our place-based giving hub
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Bringing diverse communities together; podcast

We talk to Jim MInton of Toynbee Hall, based in London's East End, about the the role of local civil society organisations.

Listen to the podcast

CAF at Tech:UK Blockchain for Good Event May 2018

Rhodri Davies talks about the speed of technological change and how tech will benefit, and challenge, charity.



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...

Gross Domestic Philanthropy: An international analysis of GDP, tax and giving

This report looks at available data for 24 countries to examine some of the factors affecting the link between GDP and charitable giving. It finds that the assumption that a smaller state and lower tax means more giving may not be well-founded.
This report looks at available data for 24...

Why the UK should not aspire to a “US-style” culture of charitable giving

The 'Give Me a Break' report calls for a better understanding of what we can learn from America, so that we can incorporate it into a uniquely British culture of philanthropy.
The 'Give Me a Break' report calls for a...


Riding the Tiger of Technological Change

Technology is opening up new opportunities to empower marginalized and disenfranchised communities around the world.

Giving in a World Without Work?

Rhodri Davies, Policy Manager, explores automation, Universal Basic Income and the future of philanthropy,

Public Good by Private Means

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