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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

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Sep 26, 2017

In this episode, Rhod and Adam explore the question of "bad money" and the challenges this poses for philanthropy and charities. Topics covered include:


-Dubious donations: what should charitable organisations do when they are offered donations from sources whose ethics or morals are  run counter to their own? In cases where no law has been broken, who decides on what is "good" or not? Can saying no to donations actually bring risks beyond the obvious financial loss?


-Money laundering and Terrorism Financing: Some money is from sources that are obviously bad, so what can charities and donors do to avoid being used by those with criminal intentions? Could efforts to address these challenges be causing disproportionate problems for legitimate organisations? And could they even be making the problems they seek to address worse in some cases?


-Charities and ethical investment: We look at how charities invest their own money. Although ethical investment is now a mainstream thing, it is still not the default in the charity world- why not? Is the responsibility of charity trustees merely to maximise investment returns to spend on their own cause, or do they have wider responsibilities?


Related Giving Thought Material:


-When should charities say no to donations?

-The Wages of Sin?- Doing good with “bad” money

-Killing them with kindness: philanthropy as a weapon

-International body removes assumption of CSO terror financing risk

-What should civil society expect from the UK Anti-Corruption Summit?

-Should charities invest ethically?

-Doing well and doing good: can charities be social investors?