Giving Thought


Understanding and reimagining civil society and how we support it.


Giving Thought is our think tank. It’s where we consider the key challenges facing civil society globally, explore how and why people give 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.

Latest comment from Giving Thought

  • 29 April 2019 

    Philanthropy is at a turning point. Here are 6 ways it could go

    As the very concept of philanthropy is coming under attack, critics are questioning whether philanthropy is effective, how it should be viewed in the wider context of global inequality, and whether it can remain legitimate within a democratic society. Read Rhodri Davies' comment in the World Economic Forum blog.
  • 2 April 2019 

    Innovation, discovery and the legitimacy of philanthropy

    Innovation is often touted as one of the key strengths of philanthropy - particularly in contrast to the state. But is there an argument that innovation is not merely desirable, but essential?
  • 27 February 2019 

    Do androids dream of electric donkey sanctuaries?

    What happens when you ask an AI bot to come up with charity names? Through a light-hearted experiment, Rhodri Davies shows that even the smallest charities can play with AI bots without needing specialist knowledge or breaking the bank. This article first appeared in Charity Digital News.

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Why Civil Society Matters

Advocacy, rights, governance, independence, trust, campaigning. How do we strengthen the vital role of civil society within democracy?

Why does civil society matter?
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Creating a Future of Doing Good

Artificial Intelligence, PhilTech, Blockchain, Algorithms, Internet of Things, Social Media, Virtual Reality... New social trends and developments in technology will transform the ways in which we help others.

How can we build a future of doing good?
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How Giving Works

Data, regulation, giving trends, World Giving Index, science of giving, effective giving. 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.

Find out How Giving Works
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Why Giving Matters

Philanthropy, Politics of giving, History of giving, Philosophy of giving, Inequality, Democracy. Is giving more important than ever in today’s world?

Read more on giving matters

Latest Giving Thought podcasts

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    Tainted donations

    17 Sept 2019 - When is a gift not welcome? We explore the tangled history of 'tainted donations' from medieval barons to MIT Media Lab.
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    Talking to Julia Unwin CBE

    3 Sept 2019 - Our discussion with Julia includes the Civil Society Futures inquiry, trust in charities, social action and the challenges ahead for philanthropy.
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    Effective Altruism

    23 July 2019 - Why has this approach to philanthropy based on utilitarian philosophy gained so many admirers, and so many critics, over the last few years?

Talks from Giving Thought

Brazilian Philanthropy Forum 2018

Rhodri Davies discusses the choice for philanthropists is no longer whether to engage with technology, but how they do so.

NAVCA's 2018 Forging Community Conference

Rhodri Davies in the Revolutionaries Roundtable, speaking about the impact of emerging dispruptive technologies on charity.

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.

Giving Thought in the news

Publications by GIVING THOUGHT

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Machine-Made Goods: Charities, Philanthropy and Artificial Intelligence

This report discusses the profound implications Artificial Intelligence will for civil society and the work of charities.
This report discusses the profound...
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CAF submission to House of Lords call for evidence on AI

This is CAF's submission to a call for evidence from the House of Lords Select committe on Artifical Intelligence (AI). We outline the work we have done in this area and how we think this technology will affect charities and donors.
This is CAF's submission to a call for...
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Giving a Sense of Place: Philanthropy and the future of UK civic identity

In this report - part of the "Giving for the City" project - we look at the the role that philanthropy can play in towns and cities around the UK, and what needs to be done to build a new golden age of civic philanthropy in this country.
In this report - part of the "Giving for the...

Meet the Giving Thought team

Rhodri Davies

Head of Policy

Rhodri leads Giving Thought, our in-house think tank focusing on current and future issues affecting philanthropy and civil society. Rhodri has spent nearly a decade specialising in public policy around philanthropy and the work of charities, and has researched, written and presented on a wide range of topics. He has a first-class degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford.   Read more about Rhodri



Daniel Ferrell-Schweppenstedde

Policy Manager

Daniel's focus includes challenging the closing space for civil society, enabling positive environments for charities and the global development goals. Previously Daniel worked at the Directory of Social Change and RAND Europe. Daniel has experience of international development in Cambodia and with the Mercator Foundation. Daniel is originally from Germany and holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Hertie School of Governance and a BA/BSc in Public Administration from the University of Twente and Munster.  

T: +44 3000 123 206

The think tank for doing good


Understanding and reimagining civil society.

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