Rhodri Davies on trends in philanthropy and civil society: Why Philanthropy Matters, approaches to giving, assessing charity impact and exploring tech trends. Episode 10 of the Charity Impact podcast.
THE CHARITY IMPACT PODCAST EPISODE 10: Rhodri Davies on philanthropy and civil society
Rhodri Davies on philanthropy and civil society: Why Philanthropy Matters, approaches to giving, assessing charity impact and exploring tech trends.
In this episode of the Charity Impact podcast, I speak to Rhodri Davies, a widely-respected expert and commentator on philanthropy and civil society issues. We discuss philanthropy – why it matters, how its approached, various current issues, technology trends and the challenge of measuring impact and effectiveness.
Scroll down for episode notes with links to resources.
Rhodri Davies, Director of Why Philanthropy Matters
Rhodri Davies is the founder and Director of Why Philanthropy Matters – a space for exploring philanthropy: what it is, how it works and why it affects all our lives. Rhodri draws on a deep knowledge and passion for the history of philanthropy as well as current issues and trends, to put philanthropy in its proper context and help us all understand where it has come from, what it looks like today and where it might be going in the future.
He is involved with a number of external projects and steering groups, including the World Economic Forum Technology and Social Justice Initiative, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Better Giving Studio and the Wellcome Trust-funded Border Crossings project (which is exploring the relationship between voluntary action and the NHS since 1948).
How do you think about your own giving (i.e. giving small amounts)?
Understanding the impact and effectiveness of charities and their approaches – impact measurement, learning and evaluation, trust-based philanthropy, human learning systems, delivering outcomes in complex systems and more.
The obesity systems map I mentioned can be seen in an article here.
What can smaller charities do to attract (or be attractive to) philanthropists?
Technology trends and their impact for philanthropy and civil society, including cryptocurrency, blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) e.g. Chat GPT
Frustrations in philanthropy e.g. lack of data and polarising views; hopes for the future of philanthropy
A plea for more content to make philanthropy more interesting to a broader audience, rather than technocratic reports that say similar things and don’t move things forward enough.
Rhodri’s new book, ‘What is Philanthropy for?’ is available here and some further information is below:
The book description is:
“Does charitable giving still matter but need to change?
Philanthropy, the use of private assets for public good, has been much criticised in recent years. Do elite philanthropists wield too much power? Is big-money philanthropy unaccountable and therefore anti-democratic? And what about so-called “tainted donations” and “dark money” funding pseudo-philanthropic political projects? The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified many of these criticisms, leading some to conclude that philanthropy needs to be fundamentally reshaped if it is to play a positive role in our future.
Rhodri Davies, drawing on his deep knowledge of the past and present landscape of philanthropy and civil society, explains why it’s important to ask what philanthropy is for because it has for centuries played a major role in shaping our world. Considering the alternatives, including charity, justice, taxation, the state, democracy and the market, he examines the pressing questions that philanthropy must tackle if it is to be equal to the challenges of the 21st century.”
“There could not be a more important time to be considering the role of philanthropy in society. This book brilliantly and intelligently places contemporary debates in a historic context. In doing so, Rhodri Davies avoids the extremes of being simply a cheerleader on the one hand, or undertaking a hatchet job on the other. Essential reading for anyone interested in the charity sector.” —Paul Ramsbottom OBE, Chief Executive, Wolfson Foundation
“Philanthropy has never been as controversial as it is now. Davies, one of the sector’s most nuanced and intelligent thinkers, explores the complex history of philanthropy, deftly weaving together stories and insights to provide an engaging account of this transformational moment. Whether you’re a seasoned philanthropist or interested in the history and impact of charitable giving, this book is a must-read.” —Asha Curran, Giving Tuesday
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