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 November 2015

    Creature Discomfort

    An interesting article caught my eye this week. It was a piece in the Guardian Comment is Free section by the prominent proponent of Effective Altruism (EA), William MacAskill (author of current EA central text “Doing Good Better”) entitled “The truth about animal charities, cats and dogs”.
  • 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.
  • 7 May 2014

    Doing well and doing good: can charities be social investors?

    The Law Commission last week put out a consultation on "Social Investment by chariteis". Having now read through the document I thought it was worth a quick blog post to highlight why I think this consultation is important and what it means for charities.


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

Rhodri Davies talks about our work at a Tech:UK event in May 2017

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



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...


What do the tech trends for 2017 mean for philanthropy?

The implications of various tech developments for philanthropy are explored by Rhodri Davies, Policy Manager.

Future World Giving

If governments act now the future of philanthropy could be bright, with people all over the world engaging in supporting a vibrant civil society and addressing social needs.

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.