Philanthropy, risk and innovation

30 October 2018

We look at the relationship between risk, innovation and philanthropy. The ability to take risks and innovate is often claimed to be on 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? Topics we cover include:

  • What kinds of risk can philanthropy take?
  • Why is it able to take these risks?
  • Does philanthropy find innovative new ways of achieving social outcomes?
  • What is the exit for philanthropic innovation once it has been proven to work?
  • Is philanthropy losing its control of social innovation to the public and private sector?
  • How has philanthropy itself innovated over time? From the rise of associational philanthropy in the 18th century to the development of mass-market giving in the 20th century.
  • Social investment and blended approaches
  • Micro donations and automated philanthropy
  • Innovation in causes: philanthropic campaigning and public opinion
  • When does innovation become self-indulgence? Silicon Valley philanthropy and private space travel.

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About the Giving Thought podcast

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. 

In each episode Rhodri Davies, Director of our Giving Thought Think Tank, and guests, take a contemporary issue in philanthropy and civil society and break it down into three manageable chunks, giving an overview of the extensive work they have done on the subject.  Episodes are also available free on iTunes and Libsyn.

Visit the Giving Thought podcast library

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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