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Creating a world where new technologies and social trends have a positive impact on the future of civil society


Our world is evolving rapidly. Changes to our society and developments in technology are transforming the nature of many of the challenges we face, whilst at the same time offering new ways of addressing them.

The Future:Good project highlights how key social and technological trends will shape the world in the coming years, and outlines the ways in which civil society can play a positive role in shaping and responding to what the future might hold.

Our work focuses on four key aims: Future Civil Society, Charities Leading the Way, Good AI and Blockchain for Good.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this project with us, please get in touch.
Cassie Robinson of National Lottery Community Fund interviews Rhodri Davies, CAF's Head of Policy, with fellow experts as part of a series about civil society, technology, and a new social contract.  Read the full article here.


From Government

  • Recognise that civil society organisations (CSOs)have a vital role to play in ensuring that new technologies are developed and implemented ethically, and need to be brought into the debate about the future of technology
  • Support CSOs to develop the required skills and knowledge to embrace technological innovation, and to speak up on behalf of individuals and communities who may be adversely affected by technological change
  • Make technology a key part of the Government's Civil Society Strategy, and support the idea that CSOs are fundamental to the conversation around responsible and sustainable tech

From Civil Society

  • CSOs working across different sectors, borders and issues should embrace the role of technology in their organisations, and seek out passionate employees and leaders to help us demonstrate the potential for CSOs and those developing new technologies to work together
  • Join us in calling on the Government to demonstrate more support for CSOs engaging with tech and to support them with increased resources

From Tech Companies

  • Share learning and prioritise responsible and sustainable tech developments
  • Reach out to experts in civil society to help inform the development, design, use and evaluation of new technologies so that they benefit society and do not cause harm


Blockchain for Good

Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize many areas of business and society, including philanthropy and the work of charities. How do we make this happen?

The future of civil society

New technologies and social trends will transform the nature of work within civil society, and create new challenges to address.

Good AI

It is critical that civil society works with government, industry and academia to evaluate the opportunities presented by AI, ensuring that the technology benefits all of humanity.

Charities leading the way

Charities must harness and adapt to new technology and social trends now, to ensure the future of civil society.


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Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology that will bring huge opportunities as well as challenges for charities and their supporters.

Explore our work on AI and the future of charity
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Bitcoin and blockchain technology

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology could have a huge impact on charities and charitable giving. But what are they? Visit our resource centre to find out.

Discover Bitcoin and Blockchain


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    Is philanthropy rational?

    16 January 2018 - Rhodri asks whether philanthropy is rational, and what lessons we should take from our answer to this question.
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    2018 predictions

    3 January 2018 - Rhod considers the challenges and opportunities facing charities, donors and civil society organisations around the globe in the coming year.
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    Can we trust AI if we don't know how it works?

    Rhodri Davis on asks "If these systems are being used for things like voting or access to public services, which we're starting to see, then that's usually problematic."

report in the spotlight

Machine made goods: Charities, Philanthropy and Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic right now. There is a huge amount of excitement and hype about the ways in which AI could reshape our lives and society in coming years.

We are already seeing the early stages of many potentially transformative developments, from the introduction of autonomous vehicles on our roads and the use of AI-powered “robo-advisors” in financial services, to the application of machine learning in medical research to model complex molecules in unprecedented ways. Not to mention the use of algorithms that help deliver more effective and targeted public services.

At the same time, there is also growing awareness of the potential dangers of developing and implementing a technology of this power without proper care and oversight.

In this report we investigate the profound implications Artificial Intelligence may have for civil society and the work of charities.

Read the paper


  • 22 May 2018 

    What does Theresa May’s speech on artificial intelligence in the NHS mean for charities?

    It’s clear from the Prime Minister’s speech that she expects charities to play a crucial role in achieving the Government’s target of reducing cancer deaths by 10%. Fortunately, medical charities have already built up a head of steam, acting as early adopters of exciting technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  • 27 April 2018 

    Where are Charities in the Great AI Debate?

    In this blog for the World Economic Forum, CAF's Head of Policy Rhodri Davies argues that civil society organisation need to engage with the debate over the future development of AI, and that governments and the tech industry need to make eforts to engage civil society to ensure that a broad range of views are heard.
  • 26 April 2018 

    A quick take on the Civil Society Futures first year report

    The independent inquiry into Civil Society Futures has just released a report detailing the findings from their first year of research and engagement. What does this tell us about the challenges facing civil society, and the actions we need to take?


Brazilian Philanthropy Forum 2018

Rhodri Davies, Head of Policy at CAF, discusses the choice for philanthropists is no longer whether to engage with technology, but how they do so.

Future Club: An introduction to Blockchain

Rhodri Davies, on the in-and-outs of blockchain technology and what it means for charity in the future.

CAF at Tech:UK Blockchain for Good Event May 2018

Rhodri Davies talks about the speed of technological change and how tech will benefit, and challenge, charity.

NAVCA's 2018 Forging Community Conference

Rhodri Davies in the Revolutionaries Roundtable, speaking about the impact of emerging dispruptive technologies on charity.

"Perhaps we should all stop for a moment and focus our thinking not only on making AI better and more capable and successful, but on maximising its societal benefit. Our AI systems must do what we want them to do, for the benefit of humanity"

Professor Stephen Hawking, speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon, November 2017


Want to know more?


The Future:Good project is working for positive change. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this project with us, please get in touch.

Contact us


Algorithm Is Gonna Get You

What the rise of algorithms means for philanthropy

House of Lords report on AI suggests key role for civil society

CAF has been calling for civil society to be involved in the ethical development of AI for some time.

Giving Thought think-tank

Giving Thought is where we consider the key challenges facing civil society globally, explore how and why people give, and test radical new ideas that could shape the future of charity.