19 May 2020

In episode 76 we talk to global philanthropy expert Kris Putnam-Walkerly about her new book Delusional Altruism, and about how philanthropists and funders are being affected by - and responding to - the Covid-19 pandemic. Including:
  • What is 'delusional altruism'?
  • Why does a scarcity mind-set affect so many donors and funders? Is this particular to philanthropy?
  • Why is the “overhead myth” so prevalent, and why is it so problematic?
  • Are there signs that funders are changing their behaviour during the current crisis? (Moving to unrestricted funding, trust-based grantmaking etc.) Is this likely to lead to longer-term changes?

Kris putnam walkerly

Kris Putnam-Walkerly

  • How many donors are willing to give away power as well as money? (And will the current crisis put even more focus on approaches such as participatory grantmaking?)
  • Do we need to redefine what is perceived as 'failure' in philanthropy?
  • How many donors see funding advocacy as a course of action, rather than direct services? If it is less common, why is that?
  • How can we balance the imperative to respond to short-term needs in a crisis with ensuring that philanthropy makes the most of its strengths in taking a longer-term view? What does this mean for current debates on spending down endowments?
  • How should we rate philanthropy’s response to the current crisis?
  • Will anything fundamentally change as a result of what we are going through? If so, what?

Related Links

book cover delusional altruism
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



About the Giving Thought podcast

The Giving Thought podcast is an exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society. Launched in 2017 it is recognised as an insightful and influential source of philanthropic debate.  Rhodri Davies director of our Giving Thought Think Tank hosts the podcast, discussing contemporary issues and interviewing sector experts. Episodes are also available free on iTunes and Libsyn.

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