Giving Thought


Is giving more important than ever in today’s world?


Giving is a fundamental part of human nature, and the bedrock of a healthy, sustainable civil society. Yet in today’s world, where the state and the market cater to many needs, there is often little clarity about what part voluntary giving plays in our society

Here we explore the politics, history and philosophy of giving to understand why it plays such a vital and unique role in our society, and how we can maximise the potential of philanthropic giving to drive social progress.
  • Mayors robes 275px
    17 July 2017

    Can Mayors help to build a culture of civic philanthropy?

    There is a growing focus on the role of elected mayors as drivers of change at a local level. Can they play a key role in developing a culture of civic philanthropy that can strengthen our towns and cities? And how?
    Find out what mayors can do
  • democracy 275px
    12 July 2017

    Philanthropy: anti-democratic and proud of it?

    Philanthropy can sometimes subvert democracy by allowing a small minority to exert disproportionate influence on public policy. But could this actually be one of philanthropy's great strengths?
    See why going against the grain could be a good thing
  • ScaffoldingNEW
    March 17 2017

    Philanthropy infrastructure: a boring name for something on which civil society’s future rests

    Philanthropy and charity infrastructure has an image problem but it might just be our best shot at creating the safe and prosperous world we all want.

    Can we persuade you that infrastructure is sexy?
  • image15-oscars275px
    26 February 2016

    Lights, Camera, Altruism: Philanthropy at the movies

    The Academy Awards are once again upon us, with all their accompanying glitz, glamour and controversy. But despite all of the good stories out there, I really struggle to think of examples of philanthropy getting meaningful attention at the movies. 
    Why are there no good films about philanthropy?
  • image14-power275px
    9 September 2016

    Philanthropic Power: The awkward consequences of pluralism

    Philanthropy offers the wealthy a means of exerting power and influence outside electoral politics.
    We ask - should this power be curbed?


Brave New World 2017

Rhodri Davies talking about the challenges and opportunities facing philanthropy in 2017 and beyond

The Giving Thought Podcast

A bi-weekly exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society

Visit our podcast library

TEDx Talk: Philanthropy and the City of London

Rhodri Davies at TEDx Squaremile in Nov 2014. The theme of the event was the power of purpose.


Here are some of our publications on Why Giving Matters

Mayor's robes 128px

Chain Links- The role of mayors in building a culture of philanthropy

In this discussion paper - as part of the "Giving for the City" project- we look at the role that mayors can play in building a culture of civic philanthropy in our towns and cities.
In this discussion paper - as part of the...

Brave New World 2017

2016 was a year of major political and social change. This presents both challenges and opportunities for philanthropy. In this paper we explore how philanthropy can rise to those challenges and grasp those opportunities.
2016 was a year of major political and...

Introduction to Public Good by Private Means

This is the introduction to our book, which charts the history of philanthropy in the UK and what it can tell us about the role of philanthropy today.
This is the introduction to our book, which...


Brave New World 2017

After a year of social and political upheaval, is this philanthropy's finest hour?

Public Good by Private Means

Our book tells the story of philanthropy through the ages, and examines the relationship between philanthropists, the state and society.

Future World Giving

If governments act now the future of philanthropy could be bright, with people all over the world engaging in supporting a vibrant civil society and addressing social needs.

The think tank for doing good


Understanding and reimagining civil society.

Contact Giving Thought