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Welcome to the Giving Thought Podcast, a bi-weekly exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society from the Charities Aid Foundation’s in-house think-tank, Giving Thought.

In each episode your host Rhodri Davies (formerly with co-host Adam Pickering) explores a big issue, theme or trend and analyses what it means for philanthropy and civil society around the world.

Be sure to check the show notes for each podcast and find blogs, reports and videos from Giving Thought and do get in touch if you have questions or suggestions at

Finally, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or your podcast provider of choice.

Dec 20, 2018

In an end of year special, bumper 2-part episode 40, we look back over 2018 and ahead to 2019.

In part 1, we review some of the biggest stories and themes affecting philanthropy and civil society over the year and look at how we got on with our predictions from the start of the year.

Topics covered include:


Stories and themes:

  • Trust, power & accountability
  • The Presidents Club Dinner scandal
  • Safeguarding and international development
  • The rise of networked social movements, New Power etc.
  • All change at the Charity Commission
  • The Civil Society Futures Inquiry
  • A big year for books critiquing philanthropy:
    • Winners Take All: The elite charade of changing the world by Anand Giridharadas
    • Just Giving: How philanthropy is failing democracy and how it can do better by Rob Reich
    • Decolonizing Wealth by Edgar Villanueva


Reviewing 2018 predictions

  • US tax bill controversy re deduction & Focus on theoretical justification for tax breaks (linked to devolved Scottish powers)
  • More focus on advocacy and campaigning (Johnson Amendment)
  • More controversy re UK situation re advocacy & campaigning
  • More closing space for CS
  • Rebalance from service delivery to campaigning
  • Non-standard structures for philanthropy
  • Move away from impact
  • More focus on SDGs
  • More awareness of personal data bargain
  • GDPR and big fines?
  • Open Data and charities
  • AI- more ML for social good?
  • More bots for advice/customer services
  • Conversational AI
  • More focus on AI ethics, machine bias etc
  • VAR resurgence
  • Impact of virtual environments on behaviour
  • More crypto-philanthropy
  • More blockchain-based giving platforms and tokens
  • New digital assets, cryptokitties