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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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  • 27 August 2013 

    Giving in America

    This week has seen the release of refreshed data and once again features a number of eye-opening statistics.
  • 22 August 2011 

    Reciprocity and Altruism

    “But what about good old-fashioned altruism?” This is one of the questions that comes to mind when reading some of the policy work coming out of government on the issue of charitable giving.
  • 23 August 2012 

    The Star-Spangled Giver: charitable giving in the USA

    This week has seen the launch of a fascinating special report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, entitled “How America Gives'.  Read our review.

    Social Investment and investor appetite

    An interesting report was recently released by the social business consultancy ClearlySo, looking at “investor perspectives on social enterprise financing”. This is an important topic in social investment.

    Funding Good Outcomes: using social investment to support payment by results

    This report argues that payment-by-results (PbR) is a good idea in theory but poor implementation looks likely to lead to it failing in practice, as charities and social enterprises will not be able to play the sort of role as service providers that the Government clearly wants them to play.

    Social Impact Bonds - Is mainstream investment a realistic ambition?

    If we assume that the SIB model becomes established, we can consider whether each of these will still true and relevant in the future, which can give us some clues about the long-term prospects of the SIB.


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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.