Rhodri Davies, Programme Leader, Giving Thought

Rhodri Davies

Head of Policy

Charities Aid Foundation

The role of giving

Philanthropy and Civil Society after Covid-19

Key questions for the future

29 April 2020

The covid-19 pandemic is having an enormous short-term impact on all of our lives. Yet the long-term implications are still far from clear. Will this period of disruption lead to fundamental changes in how our society and economy operates? Or will we revert to how things were before as soon as it is over?

The focus of many people working in civil society right now is understandably on doing whatever is necessary to ensure the survival of their organisation in the face of unprecedented challenges. But it is also important that we find time to look up and ahead if we can. Whilst none of us can know what the future will bring, we can start to identify key questions and possible scenarios. That way we can work backwards to what needs to be done now to ensure we maximise the chances of ending up with the future we want, or conversely that measures put in place to address short-term challenges do not lead us down the wrong path.

To that end, here are some of the key questions that have been most on my mind as I have been speaking to people about the current crisis, looking back at the effect previous crises have had on philanthropy and civil society throughout history and trying to think ahead about the longer-term. This is just a long list at this point, but we will be picking up on many of them in work at CAF and developing our ideas further over the coming weeks and months (and probably adding many more questions!).