The Giving Thought podcast is an exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society.  Since launching in May 2017, the podcast has become recognised as an insightful and influential source of philanthropic debate. Listen to our latest podcasts in the library.  Episodes are also available on iTunes and Libsyn.

Philanthropy and the welfare state

13 November 2018

In episode 37, we explore the relationship between philanthropy and the notion of a Welfare State. We look at the role philanthropy played in the origins of state welfare, what economics and other sciences can tell us about the relationship between the two, and how we should view the role of philanthropy in relation to the state today.

Philanthropy, risk and innovation

30 October 2018

In episode 36, we look at the relationship between risk, innovation and philanthropy. The ability to take risks and innovate is often claimed to be one of the key strengths of philanthropy, but is this really true? How does philanthropy innovate? Why can it take risks? And what makes it different to state or private sector approaches?

Philanthropy and religion

16 October 2018

In episode 35, we look at the relationship between religion, faith and philanthropy. Including:

  1. Faith as a factor in individual giving
  2. Organised religion and the evolution of charity
  3. Religion, philanthropy and civil society today

Connie Gallippi - Cryptophilanthropy and Blockchain

 2 October 2018

In episode 34, Rhod chats to Connie Gallippi, Founder and CEO of the BitGive Foundation (the first US nonprofit to accept cryptocurrency donations).

ZOE AMAR - Charities, Technology and Digital Transformation

18 September 2018

In episode 33, we chat to digital expert Zoe Amar about digital transformation in the charity and non-profit world, and how organisations can get to grips with the opportunities and challenges presented by new technology.

Chris Willis Pickup - Charity law, regulation and technology

4 September 2018

In episode 32 we chat to Chris Willis Pickup, Partner at Taylor Vinters law firm and former Head of Litigation for the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

Civil Society Strategy Special

13 August 2018

In episode 31, we take a look through the recently published UK Government's Civil Society Strategy. We explore what it means for charities, businesses and communities in the UK, and how it fits in with wider global trends affecting civil society.

Fran Perrin: Philanthropy and transparency

17 July 2018

In episode 30, Rhod chats to Fran Perrin - founder and Director of the Indigo Trust, founder of 360 Giving, former government policy advisor and member of the famously philanthropic Sainsbury family - about promoting transparency in philanthropy.

Philanthropy, International Aid and blockchain technology

An interview with Ben Joakim and Paul Currion from Disberse

3 July 2018

In this episode (number 29), Rhodir chats to Ben Joakim and Paul Currion from Disberse - a fintech startup applying blockchain technology to the international development and aid sector. We had a wide-ranging chat about the challenges they have found in getting beyond the hype surrounding blockchain, and the genuine opportunities they believe the technology has to offer.

Ben Soskis - Learning from the history of philanthropy

26 June 2018

In episode 28, Rhod is joined by Ben Soskis, a Fellow at the Urban Institute and editor of, for a wide-ranging (and quite long!) chat about the history of philanthropy and what it can teach us about the big challenges facing charities and donors today.

An interview with Rachel Rank: Open Data, grantmaking and philanthropy

12 June 2018

In episode 27 of the podcast Rhod chats to Rachel Rank, CEO of 360 Giving - an initiative promoting and supporting an Open Data approach among UK grantmakers.


Philanthropy, civil society and artificial intelligence

22 May 2018

In episode 26, Rhod looks at the impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to have on philanthropy and civil society. Topics covered include:

  • 3 broad ways AI will affect civil society
  • AI for Good
  • The wider operating environment
  • Negative consequences of AI

Fundraising: an interview with Dan Fluskey

8 May 2018

In this episode Rhod chats to Dan Fluskey, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the UK's Institute of Fundraising about the asking side of the philanthropy equation. Topics covered include:

  • Is there actually a crisis of public trust in charities?
  • Is fundraising supposed to make us feel uncomfortable?
  • How are fundraisers using new technology like virtual reality (VR)?

Jeremy Heimans on Philanthropy, Civil Society & "New Power"

25 April 2018

Episode 24 of the Giving Thought podcast is our first ever interview! And it is a cracker. Rhod speaks to Jeremy Heimans, co-author of bestselling book "New Power". We discussed Jeremy and his co-author Henry Timms' thesis on why the nature of power has changed in the 21st Century and what this might mean for philanthropy and civil society. 

Involuntary Philanthropy

10 April 2018
In this episode, Rhod looks at whether philanthropic giving is always a choice on the part of the donor, or whether it can sometimes be compelled. Topics covered include: compelled by your peers, compelled by a higher authority and compelled by your own mind.

Is Philanthropy Progressive?

27 March 2018

In episode 22, we explore whether philanthropy is progressive: i.e. is it a means for moving society forwards or a tool for defending the status quo? Including the case for, the case against and remedies.

New Money Vs. Old Money

13 March 2018

In episode 21, we look at "New Money vs. Old Money", and what the difference between inherited and created wealth means for philanthropy. Topics covered include: Attitudes to Wealth, Future Money and Pre-commitment and Cryptophilanthropy.

Philanthropy, death and taxes - part 2

27 February 2018

In this week's episode (no. 20) - the second of our "Death and Taxes" two-parter, we look at the link between tax and philanthropy. Topics covered include: importance and controversy, justifying philanthropic tax breaks and do philanthropic tax breaks work?

Philanthropy, death and taxes - part 1

13 February 2018

In episode 19, the first of a two-parter on "Philanthropy, Death and Taxes", Rhod looks at the influence of mortality on giving. Topics covered include: the history of death and philanthropy, giving while living vs. waiting til you are gone and the future of death: life extension, digital emulation & wills on the Blockchain.

Philanthropy and technology

30 January 2018

In episode 18 of the podcast, Rhod takes a look at the relationship between philanthropy and technology including: supporting technology, harnessing technology and challenging technology.

Is philanthropy rational?

16 January 2018

In episode 17, Rhod will be asking whether philanthropy is rational,and what lessons we should take from our answer to this question. Topics covered include: the micro/macro philanthropy paradox, rationalising philanthropy and social impact prediction markets.

2018 predictions

3 January 2018

In episode 16, Rhod gives some thoughts on the challenges and opportunities facing charities, donors and civil society organisations around the globe over the coming year.  Predictions include: a renewed focus on tax relief for donations, an increasingly difficult environment for advocacy, more focus on data, more interest in addressing the ethical challenges of AI and other technologies, more donations of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and new digital assets being created and donated.

giving thought lead

Rhodri Davies

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



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We work to build a stronger charitable sector in the UK and across the world by running campaigns, influencing government and encouraging people to give to good causes.

Giving Thought think-tank

Giving Thought is where we consider the key challenges facing civil society globally, explore how and why people give, and test radical new ideas that could shape the future of charity.

Giving Thought Podcast

Hear the latest insight and debate from our think-tank, with guests from the world of philanthropy.


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