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Giving Thought


CAF’s in-house think tank focussing on current and future issues affecting philanthropy and civil society.


Many believe AI is a technology that will shape our future

The application of algorithmic processes and machine learning to the vast amount of data being generated every day is already having a profound impact on our lives and society. And this is only likely to increase in coming years.

AI will affect civil society and charities in a wide range of ways - both good and bad - including:

  1. New ways of achieving social missions: AI can enable automation and allow the analysis of data at an unprecedented scale and speed, which could lead to completely new ideas for solving social and environmental problems.
  2. Changing the way organisations operate: AI could transform things like financial reporting and regulation, it could alter the ways in which people are able to support charities, and it could event replace traditional models of governance entirely.
  3. Creating new problems to address: AI, like any technology, may have unintended negative consequences. Civil society needs to play a key role in ensuring that these are minimised, and a role in addressing them if they cannot be avoided.

latest AI insight and comment

We regularly publish insight and comment on the latest challenges for charity and philanthropy from artificial intelligence. If you have any questions about issues discussed in our articles, please get in touch.

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  • electric donkey shutterstock_87314470 150

    What happens when you ask an AI to come up with charity names?

    27 February 2019 - Through a light-hearted experiment, CAF’S Rhodri Davies shows that even the smallest charities can play with AI bots without needing specialist knowledge or breaking the bank. This article was first published in Charity Digital News.
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    Why the battle for our attention matters for charities

    Attention economics is an approach to the management of information that treats human attention as a scarce commodity and applies economic theory to solve various information management problems.
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    When Nobody Knows You’re a Dog

    4 April 2019 - The challenge of proving identity online applies to individuals and organizations alike. But is civil society prepared for what comes next? Rhodri Davies for Stanford’s Digital Impact magazine.

Our publications on AI and the future of charity   

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Immersive and addictive technologies 2019

CAF's response to The Department for Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry into the potential impact this technology could have in the worlds of sport, entertainment and news.
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Machine made goods: charities, philanthropy and artificial intelligence

This report discusses the profound implications Artificial Intelligence will for civil society and the work of charities.
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CAF submission to House of Lords call for evidence on AI

This is CAF's submission to a call for evidence from the House of Lords Select committe on Artifical Intelligence (AI). We outline the work we have done in this area and how we think this technology will affect charities and donors.
This is CAF's submission to a call for...


The Landscape for Grantmaking in 2043

Rhodri Davies looks at some of the key technological, social and political trends that might shape the next 25 years for foundations and grantmakers. This presentation was first shared at the Yorkshire Grantmakers Forum 25th Anniversary event in May 2018.

Disruptive Technology, Philanthropy & Civil Society

Rhodri Davies discusses why funders and CSOs should care about disruptive technology. This presentation was first shared at the Tech, Philanthropy and Civil Society webinar from WINGS (Worldwide initiatives for Grantmaker Support) and CAF in April 2018.

Robotic Alms: AI and the future of charitable giving

In this presentation, Head of Policy Rhodri Davies asks: could AI lead to the development of effective, low-cost philanthropy advice, and thus drive better and more effective giving?

Brazilian Philanthropy Forum 2018

Rhodri Davies, Head of Policy at CAF, outlines technological developments that will have the biggest impact on future philanthropy, and discusses how it is no longer whether philanthropists choose to engage with technology, but by what means they do so.


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Philanthropy, civil society and artificial intelligence

In this podcast Rhod discusses the impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to have on philanthropy and civil society.

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Algorithm is gonna get you

Algorithms & effective altruism

In this episode, we look at the role that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could play in accelerating new, data-driven approaches to philanthropy.

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Technology and wiring CAF

Philanthropy and technology

This podcasts takes a look how philanthropy has supported and harnessed technology and the challenges ahead.

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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.

Find out more about Rhodri



Machine-made goods

Could artificial intelligence help charities achieve their mission in a new way?

Giving Thought blog

Our blog includes details about key issues affecting civil society, philanthropy, social investment and using new technologies for social good.

Five ways AI is having an impact on charity

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has yet to reach its potential in the charity world, but it’s already starting to make a difference.