Giving Thought


What makes us give and how do we do it?


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".
  • 15 September 2014 

    Are charities in danger of being left behind by social investment?

    Today has seen the launch of the first report of the G8’s Social Impact Investment Taskforce. CAF also has a report out on social investment today – Returns Policy: what the nest decade holds for social investment.
  • 12 August 2014 

    Ice, Ice baby: is the ice bucket challenge bad for charity?

    A lot of words have already been written about the ice-bucket challenge. Which is unsurprising: it’s about social media and charity and wet celebrities, so it’s basically at the nexus of what makes a good tabloid news story.


Block & Tackle | Could blockchain technology transform charity regulation?

Rhodri Davies talks about out report Block & Tackle, in which we consider the possibility of using blockchain technology to create civil society organisations.

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.

Public Good by Private Means Book Launch

CAF CEO, Sir John Low, introduces Rhodri Davies at the launch of his book, Public Good by Private Means



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.

Future World Giving

This project created a policy framework to help governments seize the potential for rapidly growing middle class populations to engage in philanthropy.

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.